City Hall has confirmed yesterday’s report that Boris Johnson is to support attempts by London Councils, the group representing the capital’s boroughs, to have TfL’s powers to set their contribution for the Freedom Pass scheme transferred to an independent arbiter.
As we reported yesterday, details of a deal between London Councils and Transport for London were contained in an editor’s note at the foot of a London Councils press release. To date there has been no announcement of the Mayor’s decision on any Greater London Authority website or publication.
This morning a spokesperson for Mayor Johnson told MayorWatch: “The Mayor has long championed a closer relationship with London’s Boroughs as he believes putting an end to the conflict that characterised their relationship with his predecessor will be the best way of improving the quality of life for Londoners.”
“The Boroughs agreement to guarantee the Freedom Pass for another five years and TfL’s support for an amendment of the Reserve scheme is clear evidence of the productiveness of that approach”.
Since winning power in last May’s elections Mayor Johnson has been criticised for adopting a “whatever the boroughs want” approach.
One of his first actions was to scrap mandatory targets for 50% of all new residential housing to be affordable in favour of negotiating individual targets with boroughs and has been accused of “waving through” planning decisions which were subsequently called in by Ministers.
Last month Communities Secretary Hazel Blears called in an application to build 180 homes on Crystal Palace park as part of a major redevelopment of the site.
Johnson had previously indicated the scheme “is acceptable in principle” but issued warnings on the need to draw up “robust” agreements to ensure the scheme delivers the promised improvements for park users.
This week it was reported Blears has also called in a project in west London which is opposed by English Heritage after it was given the go-ahead by both the local authority and the Mayor.