London City Council strategic priorities and Political Committee briefings

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Investigated anti-vacancy strategy

A motion to tackle vacant buildings and land in central London sparked debate on Wednesday, including from politicians who said there had been too much focus on the core at the expense of other parts of London. District 5 Coun. Maureen Cassidy filed a motion asking employees to report on potential job loss strategies. In a letter to politicians, she suggested rededicating buildings and building them on vacant lots could be part of the “bold thinking” required to build 3,000 new affordable homes over the next five years. Councilors Shawn Lewis and Phil Squire said London’s core should not be consistently preferred to other areas of the city such as its boroughs in east and north London. But Mayor Ed Holder said the downtown improvement work was having an impact on the whole city. “If the heart is not healthy, then you know what, our city is not healthy,” says Mayor Holder. Deputy Mayor Josh Morgan added to Cassidy’s request, urging staff to incorporate existing plans, including incentive programs, a parking strategy and the core area action plan, into the broader anti-vacancy strategy. The council, which acted as the strategic priorities and policy committee, voted 13-0 in favor of asking city officials to weigh up a plan to tackle vacancy.

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Social housing doesn’t have to go away

56 percent of public housing units in London and Middlesex are in “bad shape”, a major infrastructure repair gap that will require more investment from City Hall, politicians heard on Wednesday. A recent injection of $ 40 million from the federal government – along with nearly $ 30 million estimated by the council – will help upgrade a number of units, “but we still have quite a long way to go” said Paul Yeoman, London and Middlesex Community Housing Board chair. “We have a long legacy that we must address in the future. I imagine we’d be looking at some funding requests in the next multiannual budget. ”At an annual city council update meeting, Yeoman described the organization’s progress over the past year and through 2021, including finding COVID-19 mobile vaccine clinics a new CEO and the creation of a tenant council to represent those involved in public housing. The organization has weathered serious turmoil since the council ousted its entire board in 2019 after a devastating audit revealed a high vacancy rate despite rising demand for social housing and long turnaround times for filling empty units. Politicians advocated a new board of directors for the organization on Wednesday night, including two tenants, two parishioners, two city workers serving on the interim board, two councilors – Phil Squire and Michael van Holst – and a representative from Middlesex County.

LEDC reports 820 jobs in 2020

London saw nearly $ 80 million in new business or expansion last year, said London Economic Development Corp. (LEDC) in an annual report to the city council. The business development agency worked with 611 companies in 2020, creating around 820 jobs. LEDC has also taken the lead in London’s film strategy to attract film productions to the city, with several companies having already chosen to shoot or produce their projects here.

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