With local elections in all London Boroughs in a few weeks’ time, politicians are being urged to remember that housing is not built, nor are homes improved, without London’s builders’, plumbers’ and timber merchants. This was the message from Lords, West London’s independent builders’ merchant, to John McDonnell MP when he visited the 33-year old business in Hayes.
The Shadow Chancellor was welcomed by Shanker Patel, Lords’ Chief Executive, to see for himself how merchants deliver for communities. Solving the capital’s housing crisis was discussed in the context of the Mayor of London’s draft London Plan. If London is to see the 66,000 new homes a year they need, stronger emphasis on small sites for SME builders to complete, is essential.
Lords, through the BMF, are supporting the Mayor’s aim to increase housing and deliver more affordable homes. But Shanker warned, London Boroughs will struggle to deliver this number on the brownfield land which is available. The worry is that railway depots and other sites used for merchants’ yards and minerals’ handling will be lost. London’s industrial sites should be safeguarded, Shanker noted. If not, land used for freight is pushed further out of London – meaning more deliveries by road, not rail, increasing congestion and emissions.
John McDonnell MP commented: “I was delighted to visit Lords here in the constituency and see for myself their contribution to Hayes and the wider London economy. I pay tribute to Branch Manager, Stuart Macdonald, and his team in helping customers with their building projects”.
Shanker added: “I was grateful to John McDonnell for taking time to visit and gain further insight into our supply chain. We wanted to show him that builders’ merchants like Lords offer good jobs and rewarding careers, to people of all ages, and serve local communities in helping to improve their homes”.
“Lords is pleased that housing remains at the top of the political agenda and that the Shadow Chancellor supports moves to build many more new homes. Merchants want to see unstinting efforts by national government in Whitehall, and local authorities in London, to close the gap between housing demand and supply”.