Planning changes critics say will restrict the ability of councils to limit rents will go-ahead after London Assembly members failed to secure a blocking majority.
On Tueday the Assembly voted on whether to block changes to the London Plan, the Mayor’s planning and development framework for the capital.
Among the changes is a proposal to set ‘affordable’ rents across London at up to 80 per cent of the market rate.
Critics claim this will make many areas unaffordable to those on low and modest incomes, and remove the freedom of local councils to set their own affordable rent levels.
During the meeting, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Sir Eddie Lister told AMs there was scope for councils to subside rents if they wished to, but that the Mayor believed developers would be put off by having to deal with separate rent policies in each borough.
Sir Eddie said the Mayor views London as a single housing market within which there would be variations in rent levels to take account of differing needs and incomes.
Yesterdays’s vote was the first time the Assembly had the opportunity to reject a Mayoral strategy using new powers granted to it under the Localism Act.
For the strategy to be blocked two-thirds of Assembly Members needed vote against it, a majority which would have required Conservative AMs to vote with other parties on the Assembly.
Although a number of Conservative AMs expressed concern at aspects of the proposals, and group leader Andrew Boff criticised the way the changes had been briefed to local councils, the Tory group ultimately voted to support the Mayor’s plans.
Speaking after the meeting Mr Boff accused the Mayor’s opponents of wanting to “impose rent caps” which he said “would have stifled new housing investment.”
A number of Tory AMs also serve as councillors in boroughs which have opposed the Mayor’s plans.
Labour’s leader Nicky Gavron said they had “chosen to please the Mayor ahead of listening to the wishes of their local councils and against the best interests of their constituents.”