Last night Labour overturned the Conservative majority in three flagship Conservative London Boroughs.   We outline what the Labour manifestos in these boroughs say relation to development.  To find out what this means for you please contact Karen.Alcock@kandaconsulting.co.uk

Wandsworth Labour

Wandsworth Labour pledges to provide genuinely affordable homes and safer, greener neighbourhoods. They will focus on driving up the standards for rental living for residents’ benefit and focus on making the rental market fairer for renters as well as increase transparency and engagement for leaseholders. They plan to tackle the Cost of Living Crisis by having a rent freeze.

Wandsworth Labour’s development policies will target to increase the influence of local residents in development rather than investors’. Additionally, planning data will be made public or more accessible by making every property deal public and all planning meetings broadcast live. They prioritise treasuring green spaces and tackling litter and pollution. They plan to create more pocket parks and community gardens. “Parks are for people, not corporate events.”

There will be some focus on transport planning; increasing active travel and making it safer by investing in infrastructure needed for safe cycling and walking as a part of the effort to decarbonise transport. There is a plan to deliver more zero-emission buses across the borough. Safety is also considered in delivering no-car School Streets and safer junctions and zebra crossings in school areas. There will be a focus on creating better youth facilities and community spaces.

They will build 1,000 new council homes guaranteed for existing residents, with a target of 50% affordable housing on all new developments. They state that they will “make developers build homes which meet the needs of our residents, not overseas investors.”

“You will decide what housing is built in your neighbourhood, not property developers.”

“We will ballot residents on all regeneration plans: your voice will be central to how your estate is developed.”

Westminster Labour

In its manifesto “Labour’s Plan for a Fairer Westminster”, the Labour group committed to freezing council tax until 2024 and establishing a ‘Future Westminster Commission’ to put residents first as well as establishing ‘Citizens Assemblies’ to give residents a greater say in the future of the borough.  Further commitments include securing more jobs for Westminster residents through economic activity in the borough. 

There is also a commitment to work closely with the Mayor of London to manage the unique role Westminster plays in the London and national economy, “helping its economic powerhouse rebuild after the pandemic whilst making it work better for Westminster residents”.

In terms of the property sector, commitments include using planning policies to deliver more social and truly affordable homes with the adoption of an Affordable Housing SPD in advance of a new City Plan, encouraging zero-carbon developments, commitments to revive the West End whilst protecting it from over-commercialisation, establishing a Design Review Panel and also giving greater autonomy to design and conservation officers in the council to make independent recommendations to committees.

Barnet Labour

Barnet Labour visions to deliver their 5 key pledges which are to freeze council tax in 2022; focus on waste collection services; invest in community safety, better lighting and CCTV; protect green spaces; and stand up to developers against tower block blight.

One of the focuses is green spaces and biodiversity. Barnet Labour pledges to protect their green spaces and parks and work towards all neighbourhoods having green spaces. They also pledge to not build on their green and open spaces, including the surrounding Green Belt. They plan to do this by woodland and rewilding opportunities, planting trees and tiny forests were residents support it and by ensuring new development is zero carbon.

Barnet Labour states that development in Barnet has gone badly wrong due to over-development and unaffordable blocks of flats, including loss of community benefit and green space. They state that they will “stand up to developers with tougher policies on height and density” and that “we need more genuinely affordable family homes not tower-block blight”. Priority will be low and medium-rise housing developments, and a new target of 50% affordable homes on all new development will be adopted.

They pledge to raise awareness on tenants’ rights, deliver 1,000 new council homes at the London Affordable Rent level of 50% of market rates, “ensuring regeneration benefits existing residents first and foremost”, and prioritising low and medium-rise housing developments.

There’s a focus on town centres, local economy, and high streets, while supporting local businesses and the arts and culture sector as well as the creation of community hubs and affordable workspaces. They want to “learn the lessons from bad regeneration that has taken place” and ensure town centre regeneration is supported by the local community of residents and businesses.

“We will bring the planning service back in-house and work with residents on new council developments.”

“We will develop a low and medium rise streetscape design-led housing model using Create Streets best practice examples to stop the proliferation of tower blocks.”

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