New London mayor urged to help re-generate planning and housing

Boris Johnson's election as the new mayor of London is an unknown quantity as far as the property industry is concerned but his promise to drive down crime could help prices, the industry believes.

Conservative MP Johnson beat incumbent mayor Ken Livingstone in a stunning coup for the Tory party which trounced Labour at the polls in most constituencies.

London, like many capital cities, has areas of huge profitability and also very slow moving property markets. Those in the industry are urging the new mayor to look at a variety of measures which could make the city a more attractive place to build, invest and live in.

Some clues may be taken from the appointment of Sir Simon Milton, leader of Westminster City Council, as Johnsons's senior advisor on planning. Milton is an outspoken critic of the planning powers granted to previous Mayor Ken Livingstone. He is also in favour of more restraint when it comes to skyscrapers and is concerned about their impact on historic London views.

Johnson is believed to be in favour of measures to free up London's over worked planning system. In the run up to his elections he commented that he liked the idea of mediation for low level planning issues.

He also spoke of his desire to stop development on green belt land and gardens and to re-generate the suburbs.

'We hope that the new mayor will free up London in terms of infrastructure and vehicular movement in particular,' said Mike Slade, chief executive at property development and investment company Helical Bar.

He commented that Ken Livingstone was 'very rigid' when it came to the affordable housing elements of mixed-use developments. He hopes that Boris Johnson and his administration will be more flexible and look at plans on a case by case basis.

Stuart Fraser, chairman of policy and resources at the City of London Corporation, said infrastructure improvements are much needed, especially public transport.