2 January 2019

2019: The Year Ahead for Housing in London

By Mark Walker

First and foremost, Happy New Year and welcome to 2019, a year that promises to be just as turbulent as the last! 

You may have missed some interesting political sackings in Haringey Council (or the Corbyn Council if you will), which provide some telling insight into the Labour Party approach to housing and development in London. Next year’s (2020) London mayoral election cycle* has also got out of first gear, with Sadiq Khan choosing to play to the capital’s ‘Remain’ tendency through the medium of fireworks. 

The lack of a coordinated response by the Conservatives in London, or indeed this morning’s seasonal outrage over train fare rises, may only lengthen the odds of any surprise in the Mayoral elections in May 2020.  Nevertheless, you can be sure that Sadiq Khan and the Labour Party will campaign hard for Mayor of London 2020, despite the contest being 16 months away. They will seek to keep an ideologically driven membership focused on attacking the Conservatives, in order to prevent it turning to internal matters, involving themselves in the running of local councils and making the delivery of local development projects more difficult. 

The hope for many in the planning and development industry is that administrations across London boroughs, especially in the north-east of the capital where strong Labour boroughs are earmarked for massive regeneration, will now be more settled and confident in delivering new housing. Sadiq Khan will need a lot of photos of himself in a hard hat on active construction sites, because photos of him pointing to a pile of planning permissions won’t work on a campaign leaflet.

However, as we saw with the sackings of Councillors Zena Brabazon and Peray Ahmet on Haringey Council, for leaking internal emails, it goes to show there remains a strong nervousness about how to do business. It’s worth noting that Councillor Ahmet and Council leader Joseph Ejiofor are both close to Jeremy Corbyn, suggesting that the tone of conversation that the planning and development industry must have with politicians will need to be just as nuanced in the next twelve months as it was in the last six. 

Besides all this, there is also a debate starting shortly in the House of Commons about our future relationship with the European Union, but more about that when the tin of Roses is finally empty...

*Talking of 2020 elections, the announcement on New Year’s Eve that Elizabeth Warren will run for the Democrat US Presidential Nomination is one to watch! 

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