Tooting has become one of London's property hotspots, and now stands on the front line in the city’s ongoing gentrification process. After a fiercely contested local by-election, Labour candidate Rosena Allin-Khan emerged victorious—but what can we expect from the area's new representative?
Backwards and forwards
Dr. Rosena Allin-Khan is as Tooting as it gets. The daughter of Polish and Pakistani immigrants, she was raised in the area and worked in the A&E department of local hospital St. George's. She's also experienced first hand the problems that rising rent and property prices are causing locals. Consequently she's campaigned on a combined platform of ensuring Tooting retains its rich cultural diversity, while trying to prevent house prices from rocketing beyond the reach of residents.
As well as championing diversity, Rosena has already campaigned to keep her local boxing club open, and is a vocal opponent of government cuts. With the infamous local lido and a number of large parks in her new ward, buyers and sellers alike can expect the area to keep its reputation as a place for sports fans.
Allin-Khan also participated in junior doctors' protests against new contracts, and is scathing of cuts at St. George's. Don't be surprised to see her focus further on local healthcare in the near future.
Looking at the trend across London, it seems unlikely that property prices in the area will decline. So how will Rosena address the gentrification conundrum?
The good news for sellers hoping for further price increases is that there is little to suggest she'll do anything drastic. Her focus seems to be on addressing supply shortages, and she plans to work closely with her predecessor to obtain council land (potentially from Transport for London) and produce much needed new housing developments to satisfy growing demand.
One issue on which Allin-Khan has been notably quiet is Crossrail 2. With Tooting currently vying with nearby Balham for a stop on the planned high-speed rail link, the new project could send property prices stratospheric.
There has been tension between Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and London Mayor Sadiq Khan over whether Crossrail 2 should go ahead before HS3, leading some to question whether it will happen at all. However, it remains something both Allin-Khan and estate agents will keep an eye on.
Whatever the result for Tooting, it’s highly likely house prices will continue to rise, presenting good opportunity for sellers. What this means for the diversity of the area remains to be seen.