Boris Johnson's housing advisor today said that he had reduced the target for social housing in London, in order to prevent 'polarised' developments where the rich live beside the poor.
Speaking to the London Assembly today, Richard Blakeway said:
"I often think that if we look very crudely at the (previous) 50 per cent (affordable housing) target in a sense that produced polarised communities because what you have potentially is that you have some very rich people living in expensive units which then subsidise on the same development very poor, obviously poor people, because they live in social housing. That isn't a mixed community. That's very much a polarised community."
Blakeway's comments follow those of Boris himself, who last month stated that he wanted to avoid creating a 'ghetto' of social housing in the new Olympic village.
Speaking in response to a question by Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Dee Doocey, Boris said:
"I think we have got to bear in mind, Dee, that we want this to be an attractive place for people to come and live and work from across the UK, from across London. This is going to be a really fantastic location. It would be a mistake, I think, to create a ghetto feeling there by creating a proportion of affordable housing that made people feel that it was not going to be a mixed community or an attractive place for affluent families to come and live and work."
However, Boris's supposedly anti-ghetto policy came under fire today, when it was pointed out that the vast majority of new affordable housing will be delivered within non-Tory boroughs.
In recent weeks Boris has been accused of 'gerrymandering' the London vote, by restricting the majority of affordable housing to Labour boroughs.
The process famously exploited by Shirley Porter in the 1980s, encourages Labour voters to live in areas which are already Labour strongholds, thereby reducing their voting impact in more marginal wards.
Blakeway today insisted that this was not Boris's intention and that the targets set for individual boroughs were based entirely on individual needs.
However, although Boris insists that 60 per cent of all new affordable housing will in fact be 'social' Blakeway today admitted that this target had not been a condition of any negotiations so far.
He also refused, much to the frustration of Conservative Assembly Members, to be drawn on what would happen to those boroughs that failed to meet these (non-binding) targets.
Of course these targets, although lower than those set by Ken Livingstone, will if achieved, actually go beyond those managed by the previous mayor.
However, with no indication of just how they will be met, and with every indication that boroughs will be given an easier ride by the new Mayor, even these reduced ambitions now look unrealistically high.