Mayor expected to gain more control over Housing Corporation and borough councils
London mayor Ken Livingstone looks likely receive strengthened housing and planning powers from the government.
Building has learned that the Department for Communities and Local Government is due to publish its long-awaited review of London governance next month, and it is expected to give the mayor increased control over investment in social housing.
It is understood that the mayor will be made responsible for shaping the capital's housing strategy, which sets the priorities for the Housing Corporation's grant programme.
Livingstone will take over the chairmanship of the London Housing Board, which draws up the strategy. This had been in the remit of Liz Meek, the director of the Government Office for London.
Livingstone may also have his planning powers extended. All council local development frameworks in the capital may have to conform with the policies set out in Livingstone's London plan, such as the requirement that affordable homes make up half of all large housing schemes. Before, councils had some discretion.
He wanted a lot, but he hasn’t got all that he wanted
Roger Madelin, argent
But Livingstone is understood to be disappointed that he has not been given more planning powers and a bigger say over how the Housing Corporation distributes money to individual developers.
Livingstone can block schemes that he does not like by calling them in for a public inquiry, but boroughs have resisted pressure to give the GLA the right to permit applications.
Roger Madelin, chief executive of developer Argent, said: "He wanted a lot, so it's not surprising that he hasn't got all that he wanted."
Irving Yass, policy director of inward investment body London First, welcomed the steps to bring co-ordinate planning policies across the capital.
The announcement of the review of London governance was delayed by last month's Cabinet reshuffle.
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