Sadiq Khan accused of ‘trying to chuck up any old c**p’ to meet London housing targets
Sadiq Khan has been accused of “trying to chuck up any old c**p” in the form of tower blocks to meet his housing targets.
The Mayor defended his record when it came to delivering affordable homes and said the Conservatives were “in no fit state to lecture” him on tall buildings, because of the Grenfell Tower fire.
The accusation was made by Andrew Boff, a Conservative member of the London Assembly, at a ‘People’s Question Time’ event in Ealing on Thursday.
Mr Boff said: “His administration is now so panic-stricken [about reaching affordable housing targets], they’re trying to chuck up any old c**p in order to get the numbers going.
“So we’ve got tower blocks being built where people don’t want them and the very kind of home that Londoners need, family-sized homes with a door at the front and a small garden at the back - that’s exactly what he’s not building.”
His comments came in response to a question from an audience member, who told the Mayor: “It’s great that you’re building what you call homes and houses, but they’re not. They’re not the everyday homes and houses that everybody should have, with a little bit of garden and a little bit of space.
“They’re all these huge flats, 14 storeys, 20 storeys, 26 storeys, which you want to build here, in places that don’t need those flats. We need homes, we need houses, we need to be able to meld the area to be the same and not have this odd [block of] flat[s] here and there.”
Replying to the question, Mr Khan said: “We now have as a requirement in relation to the London Plan [a mayoral policy document], that when it comes to homes being built, they need to build in amenity space.
“We also require councils to carry out an assessment of the amount of family homes that are needed - that’s not just the one-bedroom and the two-bedroom, which you often see in the big [blocks of] flats, but also three bedrooms and four bedrooms as well.”
He added that City Hall was supporting developers to build family-sized homes with decent outdoor space, but the government’s grant system did not provide sufficient incentives for developers to build homes rather than flats.
“That’s why we need to work on the government to make sure the grant system works better,” he said, adding that his administration was building “record numbers of all-size homes”.
Addressing the audience shortly afterwards, Mr Boff said: “The Mayor’s record on housing is uniquely poor. He’s been given a record amount of money to spend on housing in London. The government’s been enormously generous, over £9 billion in order to get that affordable housing done, and he still has 18,000 homes to start by the end of this month.”
He went on to claim that Mr Khan’s administration was “trying to chuck up any old crap in order to get the numbers going”, which he said consisted of unwanted tower blocks.
The Mayor hit back at the claim, saying: “The party responsible for running the council that led to the Grenfell Tower tragedy are in no fit state to lecture me about the quality of housing and the concerns around tall buildings.
“Let’s look at their record. In Boris Johnson’s last year as Mayor, three social rent homes [were] begun in London. Last year, 9,698. That’s the difference between a Tory and a Labour [mayor].
“Last year, we began building more council homes than any year since the 1970s. That’s the difference between the Tories and Labour - and by the way, last year we completed more homes in London than at any time since the 1930s.”
The event at Ealing Town Hall was frequently interrupted by members of the audience, with the topic of the Mayor’s planned Ulez expansion dominating the evening.