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Southwark – Labour sets out its stall


By Vanisha Solanki

Cllr Kieron Williams became leader of the council in September 2020, taking over from Cllr Peter John, who had been the leader for 10 years. The elections in May will be the first real test for Cllr Kieron Williams and it will be interesting to see what changes will follow the election.

Southwark Labour launched their manifesto earlier this month ahead of the local elections on May 5th. Some of the key takeaways from the manifesto are to make Southwark fairer, greener and safer. With more good jobs, safer streets and estates, more homes local people can afford, a greener future and real support for Southwark residents who are struggling.

You can find the manifesto here. The manifesto pledges that the Labour administration would build 1000 new council homes and 500 homes for key workers, 1500 in total. Also pledged are homes for older people, use of planning powers to robustly require new social rent homes in private developments alongside other types of genuinely affordable homes.

In February, the Council approved the planning blueprint that sets out how new development will benefit local communities and tackle the housing crisis. The Southwark Plan 2019-2036 is a blueprint that brings together the council’s planning policies and targets in the borough. This includes placing strong requirements on developers to deliver social housing.

The plan will require that a minimum of 35% of any new housing is affordable across all schemes, now including student accommodation and sites where smaller numbers of houses are being built, designates 22 new sites of importance for nature conservation and the equivalent of over 16 full-sized football pitches of newly protected open space, require that all new developments must leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than it was beforehand and many more.

This blueprint sets out the expectation of the council and it will be interesting to see the importance this document places on development in the borough going forward.

The 2022 elections in Southwark will see 63 members elected. In 2018 while the Labour Party maintained control of the council, the Liberal Democrats formed the council opposition with 14 seats. Labour will be hoping to close in on that number and make gains across the borough.

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Southwark - Labour sets out its stall