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Are Ministers serious about bypassing City Hall and dealing directly with the boroughs on housing?

It is becoming clearer by the day that Ministers are gunning for Sadiq and his Deputy James Murray on the politically contentious issue of new housing starts.

 

Yesterday's ES contained the fascinating idea of Ministers dealing directly with individual London boroughs or clusters of London boroughs on the delivery of new housing. Southwark Council was singled out as an example of a London council which delivers on housing and has little if any need of assistance from City Hall.

 

The ES article wasn't really a surprise to City Hall watchers. James Brokenshire recently sent (out of the blue) an extraordinary letter to Sadiq over his Draft London Plan in which he threatened to intervene directly. Understandably, it wasn't very well received at City Hall!

 

There are many council leaders of all political persuasions who look back fondly at the days when Boris Johnson & Sir Edward Lister ran the show at City Hall. They had a direct line to Eddie who was more than adept at sorting things out. There is no such figure under Sadiq and this is proving more than frustrating when issues arise at the local borough level which need sorting at City Hall.

 

Perhaps, however, those 'halcyon' days are about to return. If the government is serious about bypassing City Hall on housing and dealing directly with individual boroughs, the person taking charge will be none other than Sir Edward Lister in his role as Chair of Homes England. This is why the idea has legs and is likely to prove popular with many London leaders who simply want to be allowed to get on with the business of delivering new homes. The trust Eddie and like working with him.

 

Watch this space! Things are going to get very interesting indeed ...