Councillor Aiken spoke about the fundamental change needed to build a Westminster of aspiration for future generations. She indicated that she wants to partner with developers to ensure more affordable and intermediate housing – with a target of 60% intermediate built in future years. In a stark warning to property developers who have previously relied on contributions and viability assessments,
Councillor Aiken said: 'Being friendly to business does not mean engaging in some cosy cabal and we will not allow our residents to be short-changed' adding ‘there’s no time for on-going pleasant and cosy chats, glossy plans or brochures that don’t reflect people’s lives. My view is that too many times we have not always pushed back enough'.
Working with her Cabinet Member for Planning and Public Realm, Councillor Daniel Astaire, Councillor Aiken announced that the City Plan is to be fully redrawn to reflect this new priority and, citing the immediate need for action, revealed that an interim statement on planning policies to support housing delivery will be released shortly.
She also cited a number of achievements under her Conservative administration, including: 197 affordable homes in the new Dudley House development, 86 affordable homes as part of the regeneration of the Tollgate Gardens estate, a new, state-of-the-art 84 bed care home at Beechcroft and a brand new 840 pupil school in Marylebone.
Councillor Aiken said: “If you are a developer who wants to invest in, and be invested in, the future of our city, you are welcome. However, if you are just a speculator who wants to make a fast buck by building properties that only oligarchs and absent overseas investors can afford, you are in the wrong borough! We will never be a borough whose stock in trade is simply to sell its golden post codes to the highest bidder".