London mayor Sadiq Khan has appointed Jules Pipe CBE as his deputy mayor for planning, regeneration and skills.
Pipe has been the mayor of Hackney since 2002, and has since 2010 been the leader of the London Councils group. He will step down from both posts, to concentrate full time on his new position.
The role gives Pipe ultimate responsibility for planning applications, and for the London Plan. And, says the mayor’s office, he will work closely with James Murray, the recently appointed deputy mayor for housing. “James will lead on housing-related planning policies, alongside engagement with developers and providing advice to the Mayor on the housing aspects of applications and pre-application discussions.”
Said Khan: “Jules Pipe brings to City Hall extensive knowledge of the capital, and the key challenges it faces.
“He and I share a determination to ensure London’s prosperity is shared by all Londoners, and that we plan ahead to equip the city for its future economic, infrastructure, skills and housing needs. Jules will be a fantastic addition to my top team at a time when London needs a stronger voice more than ever before in championing its unique interests, following the fallout from the EU referendum result.”
While Pipe declared: “I am passionate about London, and I am delighted to be working with Sadiq on his ambitious plans to build prosperity, whilst ensuring our city is affordable for all Londoners.
“It is vital we use all the levers of City Hall to pursue a vision for the capital that delivers all its key needs, including a much needed increase in housing, and that development is planned to provide the widest benefit. Young Londoners must be given the skills needed to access all the opportunities available to them in our great city.
“I will be keen to ensure that the London Plan in particular reflects these core priorities.”
Pipe is reckoned to be a “big catch” for Khan, and the two have both worked together and crossed swords in the past. His experience of how other boroughs tick, gained through his leadership of London Councils, could prove invaluable.
Pipe has been a vocal critic of the Bishopsgate Goodsyard redevelopment, which in his new role will fall under his remit. He said recently: “The developers should be sent back to work with the boroughs to devise a new scheme that will enhance the area, rather than blight it and provide the mix of homes and workspace that Shoreditch so desperately needs.”
“The two boroughs and local residents are deeply concerned about the sheer scale of this development; the height and massing would completely dominate and overshadow Shoreditch. Even the workspace they offered is ill-conceived and would do nothing to support Tech City or the creative industries that have made Shoreditch the success it is today.”
LPA Perspective: Pipe was a surprise catch for Khan, and looks to be a big hitter with extensive experience of the way London works. His impact as mayor in Hackney is largely judged to be positive; he will now need to make the same positive impact on a larger scale.
However, for the developers of the Bishopsgate Goodsyard, the development does not look to be helpful.