THE BLOG

London Mayor Flip-Flops on Green Belt and Housing Policies

06/06/2016 11:52

One of THE biggest challenges facing London's new Mayor is protection of the green belt against the need to build vast numbers of new homes. This issue requires a clear and defined approach with robust, detailed and principled policies.

Throughout his election campaign, Mr Khan promised to protect the green belt from development. Just three weeks in to his term of office he said he could not deliver. Now he's promised once again that he will deliver...

Alongside this flimsy green belt pledge, Mr Khan promised to build 80,000 new affordable homes during each of his four years in office if he became Mayor. Two weeks ago he revealed his manifesto 'has got no commitment in numbers of units a year'.

So where are we left on these key issues which affect real Londoners and which of his manifesto commitments are we to believe?

London has a serious housing shortage - one that will only get worse as the capital's population grows. At the same time as meeting London's housing demands, our precious green belt must be protected. There is ample space in our city to accommodate the homes needed without building on green belt land. We have brownfield sites equivalent to the size of the London borough of Camden and an innovative approach could see vast areas of land used more efficiently.

To harmoniously achieve these ambitions requires principled, conviction politics - stringent and definitive guidelines around which sensible housing and planning policies can sit alongside a coherent environmental strategy.

What we have in Sadiq Khan is a Mayor who has shown willingness to flip-flop on these issues within days of taking office.

Alarm bells are ringing in many people's minds over his apparent indifference to working up the tough details to support crucial policies.

At his first Mayor's Question Time, when quizzed over his green belt stance, Mr Khan simply declared he would be taking a 'horses for courses' approach to planning applications.

Does this sound like a man displaying conviction and a determination to abolish unwanted developments on our city's green borders?

Mr Khan has a history of flip-flopping on important issues and his approach to the green belt appears no different. Londoners need transparency and concrete guarantees over the fate of our city's green belt. So far he has been unable to provide either of these.

London is a ticking time bomb when it comes to its housing shortage. Simply abandoning his targets as soon as he set foot through the door at City Hall was disingenuous to those who voted for Mr Khan and fails to inspire confidence in those of us who did not.

We have already seen the Mayor's lack of ambition in sticking to the principles he touted during his election campaign - now we need some decisive action.

I will be pushing the Mayor to set out some clear aims around how he hopes to protect our green spaces as well as building the homes this city needs.

I hope he can show some greater determination in these areas to ensure a positive future for Londoners.

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