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|Mayor Defends New Powers to Build New Homes|
- Streamlined planning process decried by rivals
KEN LIVINGSTONE has hit back at critics of the new planning powers he is to receive from the government.
"Those who oppose this tidying up of the planning process will block more affordable homes for Londoners," said Livingstone. "My priority will be to use these powers to stop Councils obstructing plans for new affordable homes for Londoners."
Opposition politicians feel the new powers being handed to the Mayor will mean a decline in local control and accountability, though Livingstone estimates 99 per cent of planning decisions will still take place at local, borough level.
"The [Greater London] Assembly is unhappy, the boroughs are unhappy, the residents associations and the amenities associations are unhappy. Most London council taxpayers are unhappy," stormed Jaqui Lait, Tory MP for Beckenham.
Lait's intervention might ring some distant alarm bells for the Mayor, since it was Bromley council, which includes Beckenham, that was his bugbear back in 1981 when it won a legal case forcing Livingstone to end a low fares policy for public transport.
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