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Payback for Boris boroughs

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London Conservative council leaders have presented new mayor Boris Johnson with a suburban-focused ‘shopping list’ after the outer-London boroughs played a pivotal role in ousting Ken Livingstone.

The Tory leaders have handed the wish list to Mr Johnson’s transitional team in the hope he would reward those who helped him win power.

Issues on the list include developing the city’s orbital transport routes; devoting more London Development Agency resources to the outer boroughs; and a more collaborative approach to lobbying the government.

London Councils chairman Merrick Cockell (Con) described it as “a shopping list of things that need to be sorted”, but said it was not an agreed manifesto.

The Conservative-run outer boroughs had long complained that Mr Livingstone was a ‘Zone 1 mayor’ only interested in the inner-city, and are now ready to seize the limelight.

Merton LBC leader David Williams (Con) said: “There are high levels of expectations that Mr Johnson will realise where his constituency is and will be open to suggestions that come to him.”

Barnet LBC leader Mike Freer (Con) added: “I am delighted that we now have a mayor who will serve all London not just Zone 1.

“We are looking forward to working with the mayor on protecting gardens from development, improving transport safety and reducing the cost burden of city hall. We are also hopeful that relations with bodies like Transport for London will improve and that the issues facing the suburbs will be addressed.”

Other concerns the list raises include population figures. Boroughs claim the Office of National Statistics underestimates the number of people living in the capital, which has strained local services. They also want clarity on how far the mayor will push new planning powers that allow him to overrule local planning authorities.

However, the capital’s Tories were keen to emphasise that addressing outer-London issues did not equate to neglecting inner London, where the party has significant pockets of support.

Barry Macleod-Cullinane, spokesman for London Councils’ Conservative group, said: “The party now has significant support in inner-London too.

London has a blueberry jam centre rather than raspberry.

“We expect Mr Johnson to work much more closely with the boroughs than Mr Livingstone and this will benefit both inner and outer-London boroughs of all political persuasions.”

Plans are also going ahead for the proposed charter between the boroughs and the mayor (LGC, 8 May). London Councils is drafting the document, which it aims to bring together the two layers of local democracy and make public services more accountable.

Mr Cockell said: “It will be a modus operandi for the future relationship between the mayor and the boroughs. We hope to launch it in June.”

Boroughs’ demands

  • Clarity on what ‘strategic’ planning means

  • Improvements to orbital transport routes

  • London Development Agency to switch focus to outer London

  • Boroughs to be involved in all mayoral lobbying of central government

Johnson’s pledges

  • Not mentioned specifically in manifesto. Sir Simon Milton appointed chief planning adviser

  • Pledge to improve orbital bus routes. Deal with Thames Water to reduce road works

  • LDA business support services to be restructured, but no mention of geographical focus

  • Bexley LBC leader Ian Clement appointed borough liaison adviser

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