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Pidgeon commits to ‘Olympic’ effort to build London homes

Words: Laura Edgar
Caroline Pidgeon

Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Mayor of London election, has launched her manifesto outlining plans to increase house building and reduce transport fares in the capital.


The manifesto, Making London work for everyone, outlines Pidgeon’s commitment to tackling London’s housing “crisis” with an “Olympic effort” to build new homes.

The shortage of housing, and “truly” affordable housing, is not, according to Pidgeon, just a crisis for individual Londoners, but has become a “huge constraint on London’s economic growth”.

“A Liberal Democrat Mayor and Assembly will lead a massive home building revolution – what we call an ‘Olympic effort’ – to meet Londoner’s housing needs,” the manifesto states. The construction phase would also have an “immediate impact on skills and opportunities for young people”.

The Liberal Democrat plan is to build 200,000 new homes of “all types” over the four-year term, including a “big” increase in a “well-regulated private renting sector”.

According to the manifesto, Pidgeon and the party are “putting [their] money where [their] mouth is” and plan to recommit to the “Olympic Games precept to housing investment for 50,000 more council homes” and 150,000 homes for sale for private rent.

Additionally, the goal is that Londoners “should pay no more than one-third of their take-home pay on rent costs”.

The manifesto also promises that a benchmark guideline for developers will be set calling for half of housing to be affordable; create a London Housing Company to match public land with private investment; support boroughs in negotiating on planning gain with developers and establish a skills academy to train construction workers.


Pidgeon is offering half price tube, DLR and Transport for London (TfL) Overground fares before 7.30am and a one-hour bus ticket. She promises to cut wasteful projects by TfL and “sack” train companies that fail.

The manifesto outlines the intention to extend the Bakerloo line south to Southwark and then into Lewisham and Bromely and the tram into Merton and Sutton. The manifesto also lays out plans to re-zone tube and rail stations to reduce “excessive” fares, maintain investment in the extension of the tube network and secure Crossrail 2 funding. Pidgeon wants to cut congestion on roads and encourage cycling and improve safety.

On the subject of rezoning, Pidgeon says that despite his promises, “the current Mayor has singularly failed to ensure the rezoning of stations such as Surbiton, Kingston and Bermondsey”.

To reduce road congestion, Pidgeon plans to establish a congestion zone charge around Heathrow Airport, annually increase congestion charges in line with the rise in fares for public transport and introduce a work-place parking levy in central London.

A green city

Making London work for everyone includes proposals to improve air quality.

Pidgeon plans to switch London’s buses and taxis to fully electric, as well as helping to switch commercial vans. In addition, she wants to set up a Greater London Authority Parks Agency to work with park organisations to enhance London’s “green lungs” – protecting and improving spaces such as Hampstead Heath and Crystal Palace.

Making London work for everyone can be found here (pdf). 

Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith published his housing manifesto at the end of March, pledging to appoint a chief architect for London and create a team of “flying planners” to provide support for local councils when interrogating major planning applications. More can be read here.

Sadiq Khan, candidate for Labour, is targeting 50 per cent of new homes being affordable and says he will set up ‘Homes for Londoners’ to “break the building logjam”. Read more here.

Details of Goldmsith’s and Khan’s transport pledges can be found here.

Image credit | Liberal Democrats