Sadiq Khan has ended weeks of speculation, appointing Cllr James Murray as his Deputy Mayor for Housing – one of the most important roles in City Hall.
Speculation had focussed on two likely candidates – Murray, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Housing and the Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock. Two very contrasting politicians, the former a young but innovative champion of social housing and the latter an experienced operator with a track record of providing thousands of new homes in his borough.
What can we expect from James Murray?
Murray has made quite a name for himself since being appointed as Islington’s housing lead in 2010, pursuing the following issues:
- 50% affordable housing targets – He is a firm advocate of 50% affordable housing being the absolute minimum for any new development, a target Khan also included in his manifesto.
- Public viability studies – He brought in new planning rules forcing developers to publish viability reports with planning applications.
- New social housing – He oversaw the development of a major £1.5bn programme to build 2,900 new social housing units over 30 years, one which places a heavy emphasis on building consensus and resident support.
He‘s someone who will take a tough line with developers who want to manipulate the planning system to cut down on affordable homes.
However, we’ve worked directly with him in Islington, on his side of the table, meeting with residents to help build support for new social housing, and from the other side, lobbying on behalf of developers to bring forward private rental units. We know that, with the right approach, he’s pragmatic enough to open doors for those who share his vision of tackling the housing crisis.
And If you want to know more about how the new Mayoral Administration and how it might affect your work give us a call on 020 7357 6606 or reply to this email.
PS: While the media might be obsessing about the EU referendum on 23 June, there’s an earlier vote of real importance to London. The Tooting by-election, on 9 June will be a tightly fought contest, where Labour is defending a majority of just under 3,000. Campaigners, MPs and Councillors from all over London (and beyond) will be descending on the Wandsworth Constituency, so don’t be surprised if some of your key consultees are preoccupied over the next couple of weeks.