Macro-economic changes have hampered plans for public sector developer, says deputy mayor Tom Copley 

London’s deputy mayor for housing has indicated that the Greater London Authority (GLA) could establish a new joint venture for development “in the coming months”. 

Appearing on a panel at the UKREIIF conference in Leeds, Tom Copley was asked when Sadiq Khan would deliver on his promise to establish a City Hall developer, which he first pledged in the run-up to the 2021 mayoral election. 

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Tom Copley, deputy mayor for housing, speaking at an event at UKREIIF

The deputy mayor responded that this was a “very major commitment” and that it was “very important that we get this right”. 

Progress on realising the promise, which was re-iterated in Khan’s latest successful run for the mayoralty, has so far been slow. 

In March 2022, a report by Lord Kerslake, which was commissioned by the mayor, recommended a two-phase approach to setting up a city hall developer.  

Under Lord Kerslake’s plan, which was accepted by the mayor, the GLA would first step up its land acquisition and assembly using compulsory purchase rather than solely relying on its own land becoming available for development.  

Copley attributed the slow progress to economic headwinds, saying: “In terms of the obstacles […] the general macro economic position is very, very different from when the manifesto pledge was made and indeed when Lord Kerslake was commissioned by the mayor to do a review into GLA group housing delivery”. 

He indicated that the development vehicle could take the form of a partnership with the private sector, revealing that the GLA had been engaging in “very fruitful discussions around joint ventures”. 

“There is a lot of appetite in the sector for joint ventures with the public sector and the GLA,” he said. 

“I’m very hopeful that in the coming months, sooner rather than later, we will have something more to say about that.”