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Lambeth strikes back in row with mayor over housebuilding

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Lambeth council has reacted with fury after it was on the receiving end of a tongue-lashing from Ken Livingstone at the Labour Party Conference yesterday.

Speaking to the AJ this morning, the borough's executive member for planning accused the mayor of bullying councils who did not agree with his vision for housebuilding.

His comments follow a speech yesterday in which Livingstone singled out Lambeth, telling delegates that the council was purposefully blocking badly needed housing schemes in the capital.

Livingstone said the council - which is run by a Liberal Democrat and Conservative coalition - was responsible for keeping housebuilding rates dangerously low in the inner-city borough.

But Andrew Sawdon, the councillor who heads up planning and regeneration, said Livingstone was too close to developers.

'His speech yesterday was completely over the top - he is just hectoring and bullying the councils that he does not like,' Sawdon said.

'He has a really close relationship with the developer St George and has attacked us in the past for turning down four of their schemes.

'The fact is we have a very large number of projects that will improve housing conditions on the borough, but they are all a little unglamorous,' he said. 'We are less keen on schemes such as [Broadway Malyan's] Vauxhall Tower, which at 50 storeys does not include any element of social housing at all.

'We are now stuck in a row with Livingstone until the next election, and I really can't see peace breaking out,' he added.

by Ed Dorrell

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