Planning matters

Our award winning blog gives a fresh perspective on the latest trends in planning and development.

Sadiq Khan has appointed his Mayoral advisors, including housing, transport and Crossrail 2

Sadiq Khan has appointed his Mayoral advisors, including housing, transport and Crossrail 2

Jennie Baker 25 May 2016
On 24 May, the new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, officially appointed five of his special advisors to support the implementation of his manifesto policies; James Murray will advise the Mayor on housing policy, Val Shawcross has been appointed Deputy Mayor for Transport (and Deputy Chair of Transport for London), while Lord Andrew Adonis has been proposed as Chair of the Crossrail 2 Board.

James Murray is currently Executive Member for Housing and Development at Islington Council, a role that he has held since 2010 (he announced his intention to stand down from his role as Islington councillor). During his time as lead member on housing at Islington, he launched a major building programme of homes for social rent; this delivered 1,800 new affordable homes in 2010-2014 (projected to reach ‘at least’ 2,000 homes by 2015), while the Borough’s Housing Strategy 2014-2019 sets the target for 2,000 additional affordable homes in the Borough (including 500 new council homes) to be built in four years. The strategic planning policy objective that Islington Council set for at least 50% of all new homes delivered in the Borough to be affordable has been reflected by Sadiq Khan’s manifesto pledge on affordable housing requirement.

During James Murray’s office, Islington was also the first council to publish an Article 4 direction (July 2013) to remove permitted development rights for office to residential conversions. In January 2016, the Borough adopted a supplementary planning guidance (SPD) on Development Viability, requiring that information submitted as a part of a viability assessment ‘should be treated transparently and be available for wider scrutiny’.
Val Shawcross has a long-standing experience at London Assembly, having served as a member for Lambeth and Southwark during the last sixteen years, before standing down at this year’s mayoral elections. Her extensive Assembly experience led her to be appointed Chair of the London Fire & Emergency Planning Authority (2000-2008), and alternate Chair and Deputy Chair of the Transport Committee (2008-2014).

The Mayor has also announced his intention to propose the appointment of Lord Andrew Adonis, as Chair of the Crossrail 2 Board. Lord Adonis, who has been long-rumoured as potential Deputy Mayor for Transport, is the current chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), a position that he has held since October 2015. Before being appointed at the NIC, Lord Adonis has been Transport Secretary (2009-10), Minister of State for Transport (2008-09) and Minister for Schools (2005-08). He was also Head of the No10 Policy Unit from 2001 to 2005. His extensive infrastructure and transport experience has granted him a wide cross-party credibility and respect, which led to his nomination as chairman of the NIC by the Conservative Government.

His appointment as Chair of the Crossrail 2 Board is of no surprise, given the work he undertook as chairman of the NIC; Transport for a World City, the second report published by the NIC on 10 March 2016, has called the Government to prioritise Crossrail 2 by granting the needed funds to Transport for London (TfL) and the Department for Transport (DfT) to draw up a business case for it; in the Budget 2016, the Government granted £80 million to help fund development of Crossrail 2. It’s worth noting that the appointment’s statement clarifies that he ‘will continue his role as chair of the National Infrastructure Commission’.

The other two appointments announced on 24 May are Sophie Linden, as Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, and Fiona Twycross as Chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority.