City Hall housing boss lives two hours from London with commute that ‘costs a fortune’
The person in charge of leading a “step change” in housebuilding in the capital lives outside of London and commutes in, it has emerged. In April, Lyn Garner – the chief executive of the City Hall-owned London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) – was appointed by Sadiq Khan to provide “strategic oversight” over the delivery of housing on land owned by the Greater London Authority group, which includes Transport for London and the London Fire Brigade.
It follows a major review into London housing by Lord Kerslake, who was commissioned to find out how the GLA could build more homes, more quickly in the capital. Ms Garner will offer “leadership” over GLA Group housing delivery, including “managing an overall pipeline of land and housing opportunities,” City Hall said in a statement last month. But today she told a London First think tank conference she lives in the shires and commutes into the capital.
She told the conference: “If we require people to be in the office two to three days a week, as LLDC does, are they really going to move out of London, and relocate to the shires? It’s terribly expensive to commute from there – I do it. It takes two hours and costs a fortune.”
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(Image: Transport for London)
She predicted the pandemic was “not going to fundamentally change the housing market.” And she revealed that she will be pushing the GLA to acquire more land, rather than selling it to developers for an immediate return. “We could be doing a huge amount more in land acquisition…It could sit very effectively with the public sector. That will involve conversations with government.” She will be meeting Sadiq Khan in the summer to discuss plans, she said.
Ms Garner also hit out at planning reforms revealed this week by the government, which will give more of a say to local communities on planning applications: “I heard on Radio 4 this morning that we’re going to be able to vote on our neighbour’s extensions…What kind of measure is that? It’s a nothingness. It’s not going to change the world or help us with a housing led recovery.”
She branded the London Legacy Development Corporation – set up after the 2012 Olympics to boost growth in East London “hugely successful”: “We’ve got the planning powers and own the land, with the 560 acre urban park in Stratford. Our venues could still be used for an Olympics, we have two new Business Improvement Districts, an innovation hub at Here East, and major works on the East Bank coming.”
Josiah joined MyLondon as the outlet’s first City Hall Editor in October 2021, reporting on the Mayor, the London Assembly, the Met police, Transport for London, and wider London politics.
He moved to South London from Brussels in 2015, working in communications for the Electoral Reform Society, and covering Westminster politics as a freelance journalist. Originally from Cornwall, he is now also a proud Londoner. Josiah has appeared on BBC Radio 4, Times Radio, LBC and other outlets to discuss current affairs and general political chaos.
If you have an untold story – whether it’s a housing nightmare, an unfair decision or a local scandal, get in touch at [email protected] or contact Josiah on Twitter.