Mayor gains call-in power

London mayor Ken Livingstone gained powers to call in major planning applications after the Greater London Authority Act got Royal Assent this week.

The mayor can now determine applications of 150 homes or more where a borough fails to follow London Plan policies or there is a delay in making decisions.

Boroughs still take planning decisions but the mayor can now insist that local development frameworks are in line with the London Plan.

DTZ planning and development team director Austin Mackie predicted that the mayor will use incentives to secure speedier decisions on key schemes and "a more rapid and compliant response" for affordable housing and renewable energy.

But London Councils chairman Merrick Cockell warned: "It is vital that the mayor does not abuse the powers or seek to micro-manage those boroughs with which he disagrees on planning issues."

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