With the Mayoral election now only a week away, the final race is on between Conservative Candidate, Zac Goldsmith and Labour’s candidate, Sadiq Khan.

Elections are an exciting time for us here at Snapdragon, and as such we have compiled a short policy matrix on both candidates, giving you all you need to know about their stances on planning, housing and property policies.

As a bonus (or booby) prize, we have also put together a short series of insights from members of our team on what their personal view is on the campaign to date, and the potential outcome next week.

Planning and property

Our downloadable policy matrix indicates where both candidates stand on the industry’s core policy concerns.

Sadiq and Zac, while miles apart politically, have both invested in restoring power to communities (as opposed to developers). Zac is calling for ‘proper’ public consultation, warning that developers will face certain penalties if they do not adhere to community led planning. Meanwhile, Khan has shown a keen focus on delivering affordable housing. Both want developers to be held to account when it comes to viability.

The full policy matrix can be downloaded here.

Sadiq v Zac policy planning policy grid

And if that isn’t enough, here are our insights hot off the Snapdragon press;

Rebekah Paczek, Managing Director:

“If this was a contest for the middle of the road candidate, both front-runners would excel. Neither was the top choice of their party and neither has covered himself in glory at any point through the campaign.

“Both campaigns have beautifully exemplified what happens when you combine political mismanagement with general apathy. A significant reason for the highly personalised campaign can only be because there is so little to differentiate between the two candidates on policy terms. When it comes to development and planning, there is a stunning lack of originality (any one remember land-banking, third party rights of appeal, a glorious landscape whereby all communities agree with development and planning consents are speeded up, and how successful they have been in the past?). There is always a difference between election promises and real promises but the finances just do not stack up for either candidates manifesto which means difficulties from day one. That said, I would love to be surprised by whoever (probably Sadiq) becomes Mayor and watch as they sweep away bureaucracy and obstacles and deliver those 50,000 homes.

“It is a shame that Caroline Pidgeon has had so little publicity, she has some clear policies and has been in local London politics for decades. This is a two horse race, but a showdown between Denman and Kauto Start it most certainly is not.”

Alex Green, Senior Account Manager:

“The election is Sadiq Khan’s to lose. The Tooting MP and former Communities, and Transport Minister, has been leading the polls for what now seems an eternity. London is a diverse city and given that neither of the two front runners are big enough personalities to engender mass support based purely on their quips and swift wit, it is crucial to be able to appeal to a broad selection of the capital’s electorate.

“Mr Khan has managed to, without much fuss, appeal to the majority of Londoners that are fast becoming squeezed out of Zones 1- 3 by foreign investment and high property prices. This is however, owing in large part to a rather sedate and uninspiring campaign from his only real rival, Zac Goldsmith. One gets the impression that Mr Goldsmith has never really believed he can win this one, and with some highly principled manifesto announcements that seem to indicate a desire to speed up the planning process whilst giving every constituent a chance to hold up the planning process, his voice has not been heard as clearly. The great irony of this however, is that a low turnout in May’s election could hand Mr Goldsmith, arguably the most significant seat of power outside downing street, with little effort on his part. As allegories go, its rather fitting.”

Oliver Deed, Associate Director

“This is the first Mayoral election not featuring either Boris Johnson or Ken Livingstone, and it shows. The race is lacking in big, credible characters and it has failed to capture public imagination. This has not been helped by political focus shifting to the vexed issue of the EU referendum due in late June.

“On the face of it, Sadiq Khan is in the lead. He consistently outpolls Zac Goldsmith and despite a horrendous result for Labour across the country in 2015, London remained resolutely red. That seems to be the view of the Goldsmith campaign as well. It has tried to put Khan’s alleged ‘links’ to extremists front and centre of the campaign and shift the focus onto personality rather than party. This is not too dissimilar to the highly personalised and, heavily criticised campaign run by Boris Johnson’s team in 2012.

“In respect of planning and property, both of the leading candidates will be totally different propositions to Boris Johnson. Boris has been an activist Mayor in terms of overturning applications that have been refused by local authorities.  Khan and Goldsmith will be less activist in their approach, with the former looking unfavourably on schemes with low levels of affordable housing provision and the latter more concerned with design and height issues.

“Whatever happens next Thursday, it is fair to say, City Hall will be a very different proposition for the development industry for the next four years.”

Julian Seymour, Director

“The 2016 Mayoral contest has been a bit flat. The race has been overshadowed by the Brexit debate, terror attacks and the Panama papers. The Tories don’t really seem to care and Jeremy Corbyn has been anonymous. At the same time neither of the two front running candidates has the big personality of Boris or Ken and their policies have a lot more similarities than differences. The only real point of friction has been some of the attacks around race. While we may expect a low turnout after all this, which we think would favour Zac, if the polls are even close to right Sadiq should still romp it.”

Liz Carey, Account Executive

“I stopped believing any sort of polling in May last year. Sitting in the pub watching the exit poll results for the general election with my dear colleagues was not an uplifting moment.

“Personally, while Sadiq is allegedly out in front, I cannot see it. I have been saying since the start of the year Goldsmith is in for the win, and I am sticking to it. The Labour Party is not the same Labour Party that went in to the general election last year, and even though the Mayoral race is more about personality than political parties, this race certainly has no personality.”


If you require further information please contact Elizabeth Carey on 0203 176 4555 or email elizabeth@www.snapdragonconsulting.co.uk

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