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Mayoral contender Goldsmith launches his housing manifesto

Words: Laura Edgar
Georgian terrace

Conservative mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith has pledged to appoint a chief architect for London as he launches his housing manifesto as part of his campaign to become the Mayor of London.

Goldsmith also vows to build 50,000 homes a year by 2020 and to protect the green belt.

A chief architect would “drive high-quality design in every development on public sector land and to hold developers to account”, according to his manifesto.

Additionally, Goldsmith plans to create a team of “flying planners” to provide “expert planning support” for local councils to interrogate major planning applications. The team, which would include, planners, architects and surveyors, would focus on stalled sites – “the major sites in London which deliver the bulk of our housing but are complex to clean up and make accessible to Londoners”.

The manifesto states that as the capital's population is expected to reach 10 million people by 2033, a city the size of Birmingham is required to be built over the next decade – “More than 50,000 homes a year”.

Goldsmith says he aims to achieve this by securing more undeveloped public sector land, securing transport links to open up the city’s land and “amend national planning policy to ensure it works for London”.

Other measures in his housing manifesto include:

  • Requiring developers to deliver more homes for Londoners on average salaries by amending the London Plan to ensure that developers build a much wider range of homes to support mixed communities.

  • “London’s complex planning system has created ugly blocks designed by committee rather than the Victorian terraced houses and red-brick Edwardian apartment blocks which Londoners like”, therefore Goldsmith says he will consult with residents about the kind of homes they want to see.

  • Securing a better deal for London’s two million renters by tackling rogue landlords and “change planning rules so that more homes are purpose-built for rent”.

  • Guaranteeing that homes built on Transport for London land are ring-fenced for Londoners.

Goldsmith said housing is the “most important issue facing London”.

“I am clear that the only way to fix London’s housing crisis is to build more homes and we can only do that with a mayor that will protect transport investment to open up new land, keep our economy strong and work with the government to release public land for development.

“As mayor, I will not just build more homes but build better homes too, working with my new chief architect and local communities to design a London we will all be proud to call our home.”

Goldsmith's housing manifesto can be found here.

A round-up of Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan's manifesto can be found here.

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