London Mayor Sadiq Khan has appointed the Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe, to head up City Hall’s planning team.
An experienced and respected councillor, Pipe was elected as Mayor for the Borough in October 2002 and re-elected another four times into the role.
He will be working closely with James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development. Both men have a reputation in their respective previous boroughs for firm negotiations with developers and a passion for delivering ‘truly affordable’ housing. They’ve also both come out against foreign investment and the pressure this has put on current housing stock.
Whilst Pipe has more experience than Murray on this larger platform, their appointment by Sadiq Khan shows the Mayor’s commitment to delivering the highest proportion of affordable homes for the capital that he can. Whether the trio achieve Khan’s ‘long-term strategic target’ of 50% remains to be seen.
The appointment of Jules Pipe has come at an interesting time, given his recent confrontation with Sadiq Khan on the fate of the Bishopsgate Goodsyard. He and Hackney Council have campaigned jointly with Tower Hamlets Council against the scheme since its inception, and he told Mayor Khan at the end of June that the final decision should be made by the local authorities. John Biggs, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, was pleased by the appointment, claiming it was “excellent news, not least because I’m sure that one of his first acts will be to kill off the oversized and unwanted development”.
Jules Pipe has a long track record of delivery in Hackney and working with developers to achieve his development aims. Overall, bar his current stance towards Hammerson and Ballymore, he seems a sensible choice by Khan and one that will be cautiously welcomed by the industry.