Yesterday, the Government gave Ken further powers over London that effectively make his office a dictatorship over the notional state of Greater London. He now has executive control over planning, skills, public health, environment and housing. As a result power is being dragged up from borough into an all powerful single figurehead office.
Sir Simon Milton, the leader of Westminister city council, quite rightly condemned the moves and said that this extension of "his remit is going against the trend of local government, where decisions and accountability are moving to the neighbourhood level, not to a remote regional centre. If the mayor is to have more powers, it is essential that the assembly should be given greater powers to hold him to account and to force him to moderate his plans."
This now a nightmare scenario in planning terms as Ken Livingstone, a politician, is a one man planning auhtority. He has been given ddirect power to conest and refuse planning applications arbitrarily on the very vague grounds of his "strategic" requirements. Soon we'll have pictures of Ken on the side of buildings as well.