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Industry warms to Johnson’s mayoral win

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London Boris Johnson’s re-election has received a muted welcome by the profession, in particular the stability it will give to developers and the London Plan

His defeat of Labour’s Ken Livingstone stood out in the otherwise Labour-dominated set of local election results for.

Johnson will now serve a further four-year term and, among other things, has promised to deliver 55,000 affordable homes by 2015.

Brian Waters of BWCP said: ‘Both Livingstone and Johnson have been pro-development. Continuity is especially valuable now given the weak economy, but the more so with the evolving new planning system.

‘London has the protective policy umbrella of the London Plan and any uncertainty there would be very damaging’.

Alex Ely of mae Architects agreed: ‘We are just starting to see the London Plan and its commitment to quality being implemented.

‘Change only ever seems to result in uncertainty and delays, so continuity at least allows us to deliver the housing and regeneration we desperately need.

Yasmin Shariff of Dennis Sharp Architects saw the fall of votes for the Conservative party as an opportunity for the party to review their policies
and potentially encourage greater funding for the mayor of London. She said: ‘Boris’ re-election gives Conservatives a second chance. There are ambitious plans for housing and regeneration in London, which could provide opportunities for architects if the party can get out of its framework straightjacket’.

Keith Williams of Keith Williams Architects thought that rival Livingstone’s blanket target of 50 per cent for affordable homes in all housing projects ‘ran the risk of forestalling development which the capital can ill afford’.

He said: ‘Boris’ push for growth is vital, as the UK cannot get out of recession unless London succeeds.

‘The key test for Boris is whether he can carry the international focus beyond this summer’s Olympics into a broader transformation of the capital’s many deprived areas and balance private sector investment with the creation of a civilised urban and societal infrastructure.’

Other comments:

David Morley of David Morley Architects ‘Just after Boris was elected last time Peter Murray persuaded him to make a surprise visit to the London Architecture Festival in the courtyard at Somerset House and he gave an impressive impromptu speech – he appeared well informed about architecture, passionate about the quality of our environment and someone who was going to get things done. I like the emphasis he has put on quality and space standards for housing and a focus on reducing the energy needs of existing buildings. I love the bikes, they might have been Ken’s idea but Boris delivered them. I hope he will maintain momentum and help keep London at the forefront!’

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