Conservative Mayoral candidate Boris Johnson will unveil his housing and planning manifesto at the Royal Institute of British Architects later today.
Mr Johnson is expected to say: “If we are to improve the quality of life for all Londoners then we must do something about the impact housing has on the rising cost of living. Affordable housing must be more than ‘decent’; it must be desirable.”
Key housing pledges include releasing GLA-owned land and £130 million from the Regional Housing Pot to launch a new ‘FirstSteps Housing Scheme’, money to renovate the capital’s 84,205 empty properties to help low-income Londoners off of waiting lists,
There are also promises to work with London’s councils to deliver more family-sized homes and to increase shared ownership schemes for low-income families by a third.
In a statement issued ahead of the launch Mr Johnson says he “will adopt a fresh approach to housing in London to build varied and vibrant communities, not just tick boxes. If elected as Mayor I will be committed to working in partnership with the boroughs to build a better London – and to leave a lasting legacy for future generations of Londoners.”
On planning Johnson says he will “reinstate planning rules that protect the views of St Paul’s Cathedral and the Palace of Westminster and reinforce protection around new viewing corridors” and “protect London’s green belt”.
He also pledges to protect the high street by ensuring the availability of affordable retail units for smaller retailers.
The manifesto has already been attacked by Mayor Ken Livingstone who says most of Johnson’s pledges “are simply pinched from policies I have already announced in my housing strategy or at meetings with London Councils.”
Mr Livingstone claimed “stopping development on the Green Belt has been one of my priorities in the London Plan since it first came out and the proposals on small shops and back gardens I announced last year.”
“But there should be no misunderstanding – the core of Boris Johnson’s policy is the repeated proposal over several months to abolish the policy that 50% of all new housing should be affordable housing and this will have a devastating effect on Londoners.”