Mayoral elections promise wave of construction

A tidal barrage, a hospital and tens of thousands of homes have moved closer to construction with the results of 10 mayoral elections held across the UK last week.

Labour politicians made a near-clean sweep on the back of manifestos including a raft of major building projects.

In London, Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan secured his third term at City Hall, having pledged to build 40,000 council homes over the next five years.

His manifesto outlined a plan to create Land Assembly Zones and set up more Mayoral Development Corporations to “boost overall housing supply and drive regeneration”.

Looking ahead to the general election, Khan added: “I’ll work with a Labour government to strengthen planning so that the London Plan can go even further in supporting the delivery of the affordable housing our city needs.”

His main opponent in London, Conservative candidate Susan Hall, had promised to focus on “high-density, low-rise homes” and only allow high-rise residential construction “where appropriate”.

Hall also pledged to boost investment in build-to-rent schemes and “increase the supply of homes for ownership”.

Another mayor to win backing for a third term in office was Liverpool’s Steve Rotheram.

The Labour politician, a former MP, has been a strong supporter of plans for the Mersey Tidal Power project, and earlier this year set out plans for a barrage between the city and the Wirral.

Rotheram said in his manifesto that he would create a Liverpool City Region Renewable Energy Company and aim to fund the tidal power scheme through “an ambitious public-private partnership”.

He also pledged to support expansion of the Port of Liverpool and ensure the city was “an integral part of the UK’s high-speed rail infrastructure”.

Rotheram’s Tory opponent Jade Marsden had pledged to help councils get more houses built and speed up development on brownfield land.

In Manchester, Andy Burnham won a third term after pledging to expand the city’s Metrolink tram system, build a new rail station in Wigan and back the construction of 10,000 homes by 2028.

The Labour incumbent also said he would establish a Liverpool-Manchester Railway Board to oversee the creation of a publicly operated line between the two cities.

His Tory opponent Laura Evans had offered to extend Metrolink to all boroughs and develop “thousands of new affordable homes on derelict and disused sites”. She also pledged to “halt the bulldozing of green spaces”.

A fourth major city region is now in Labour hands after Richard Parker narrowly defeated incumbent Andy Street in the West Midlands.

The new chief of Birmingham and its surrounds promised to increase targets to build 20,000 extra homes by 2031 and guarantee apprenticeships to all young people who sought them.

Accusing Street of having “rolled over under pressure” on High Speed 2 (HS2), Parker said he would “not rest until our transport plans are funded in full”.

The outgoing Tory mayor had promised to build over 16,000 homes per year, drive a “social housing revolution” and bolster council planning departments.

He also committed to expanding the West Midlands Metro tram network.

Labour’s Tracy Brabin secured a second term in charge of West Yorkshire, having promised to get “spades in the ground” on the region’s long-awaited tram system.

She said public consultation would take place this summer on the first routes to take shape under the mass transit system promised by central government after the Leeds leg of HS2 was scrapped.

Investment in pothole-repair and construction of 5,000 homes over the next four years were also touted in Brabin’s manifesto as was support for electrification of the Calder Valley Line.

She beat Arnold Craven in the polls, a Tory candidate who works in the energy sector and claimed to “know how to deliver big infrastructure”.

He had also promised to focus minds at the combined authority on delivering brownfield housing.

Meanwhile, as reported by Construction News on Friday, Conservative incumbent Ben Houchen secured another term as mayor of Tees Valley.

Houchen made the construction of a new hospital in the region central to his re-election campaign, while he also committed to growing its airport.

He held off competition from Labour’s Chris McEwan, who had pledged to “join up our transport system, fix our broken roads and continue to support the airport”.

Incumbent Oliver Coppard won a second term as South Yorkshire mayor.

The Labour and Co-operative Party representative promised to take “personal responsibility” for working towards net-zero carbon emissions in the region by 2040.

He set out plans for a Clean Energy Strategy for South Yorkshire and pledged to “fight for… full delivery of Northern Powerhouse Rail and… full electrification of the Midland Main Line”.

Coppard was elected ahead of Tory candidate Nick Allen, who described himself as “the only candidate in this election with a credible plan to support reopening Doncaster Sheffield Airport”.

Three regions appointed mayors for the first time.

Labour’s Kim McGuinness secured the mayoralty in the North East having pledged to expand the Tyne and Wear Metro light transport system, reopen the Leamside Line railway in Durham and open delayed stations on the Northumberland Line.

She beat her former colleague Jamie Driscoll who quit the party to stand as an independent candidate. The current North of Tyne mayor had promised new rail routes for Durham, Wearside, Tyneside and Northumberland and hailed his Green New Deal for boosting the renewables industry in the region.

Labour’s David Skaith swept to office in York and North Yorkshire, promising a Mayor’s Pothole Fund to tackle poor road surfaces as well as more construction of affordable homes.

He beat off the challenge of Conservative Keane Duncan, who had pledged to “commit a multimillion pound investment towards finally dualling the A64”.

He also said he would discount homes by up to 50 per cent to help people get on the housing ladder, and “unlock 900 new homes in the first two years” of election.

Finally, Claire Ward became the first mayor of the East Midlands.

The Labour candidate pledged to build more affordable homes, boost pothole repair and roll out more charge points for electric vehicles.

She was elected ahead of Conservative Ben Bradley, who said he would restore railways and deliver road improvements and bypasses.

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