The process for selecting a Conservative candidate to run for London Mayor in 2020 is now underway. A shortlist of three is scheduled to be drawn up next Saturday, from which Tory members will eventually select their challenger to the incumbent, Sadiq Khan. London Assembly Member Andrew Boff, who has been shortlisted before, has been compiling policy ideas he would seek to implement should he become the boss of City Hall in two years’ time. Although a work-in-progress, he has been kind enough to share it with On London readers.
Candidates from every party seeking to become London Mayor in 2020 can be expected to say, in one way or another, that our beloved city has become divided, expensive and increasingly violent. Here are some – though not all – the solutions to those problems that will be put in place #WhenBoffIsMayor:
The are 350,000 young people being brought up in overcrowded conditions in London. This creates enormous obstacles to their educational and social development, as well as leading to poorer health outcomes. Despite knowing this, Mayor Khan has abandoned targets for larger family-sized homes. It is nothing short of a disgrace. I will restore and enhance those targets.
Current housing targets count front doors. This creates incentives to build smaller homeswhen London, overwhelmingly, needs large ones. Housing targets will be expressed as numbers of bedrooms, not front doors.
The social divisions in London are not helped by new developments that avoid mixing tenures by having separate entrance doors for the wealthy and the poor. Under a Boff mayoralty, the London Plan will reject mixed tenure developments that segregate social classes.
Every new tower block is a symbol of how our city has contempt for the needs of its citizens. More traditional and popular development typologies, such as suggest by Create Streets and others, will be favoured and the word “beauty” will be brought into the London Plan. Apart from in five established high-rise areas, no new residential development will exceed six storeys.
The UK has one of the smallest self-build rates in Europe. Some people may be able to get hold of enough money for the build, but not for the cost of the plot. If first-time self-builders can find a plot of unallocated land owned by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and secure planning permission to build on it, they will given the plot with the value of the land paid back only after any subsequent sale.
We need to pick up the pace of housing developments. I will appoint a commission to radically accelerate the use of attractive, energy efficient modular housing in London.
The political boundary of London is nowhere near the size of its economic footprint. National government will be lobbied for the GLA boundary to include its travel to work area.
The prohibition law on cannabis means that gangsters control its supply, resulting in turf wars that have resulted in increasing violence. Young people are suffering permanent psychological damage as a result of the unregulated distribution of high potency cannabis. Under a Boff mayoralty, the GLA will prepare the case for regulating cannabis in order to help win the war against criminal gangsters.
The GLA is 18 years old. It is about time our democracy became an adult and recognised that the world’s most sophisticated electorate can be trusted. Therefore, upon presenting a petition numbering 10% of Londoners – 20% if online – on any policy or issue within the Mayor’s area of competence, a binding referendum will be held.
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