Londoners demand a social compact…

Londoners demand a Social Compact with the next Mayor at launch of ideas for a Community-led London Plan

On 4 February a conference of London community groups and resident/business campaigns launched their demands for a genuinely sustainable London at City Hall, publishing a tabloid which is both a manifesto and an agenda for a more open, more democratic, debate on London’s future. Download here.

The conference organized by Just Space was attended by 200 people who called for the new Mayor to sign up to a method of genuine involvement in London’s policy-making from an early stage: London’s community groups and organisations working in partnership with City Hall.

Many different perspectives were heard from people involved with estate demolition, private renters, food growing, alternative energy and the loss of employment land – but the common thread was a fundamental lack of trust in the systems that currently govern planning and development and which are not delivering for Londoners.

The Just Space network’s demands and ideas for debate are set out in a tabloid paper Towards a community-led Plan for London which will be used to lobby Mayoral candidates.

The paper calls for a city in which Londoners on normal wages can afford to live and where existing communities (who are also the voters) can sustain themselves, not be priced out or bulldozed. Participants  are all for treasuring and expanding the stock of non-profit housing, improving security and controlling rents for private tenants.

They want an economy which is much more diverse, able to sustain the intricate economies which make London unique and serve all its diverse communities – not just corporate giants and big brands – and stop property speculation from destroying industries, workshops and affordable offices.

They want a plan which pays real attention to the environment – making a big contribution to cutting global warming, addressing London’s illegal air pollution as a health emergency and greening the whole economy.

They want citizens and enterprises to be in from the start in forming the strategy of the next London Plan and demanding that candidates for Mayor and the Assembly commit themselves to this new process.

Just Space is a network of community, voluntary sector and activist groups, some local and some London-wide, influencing plan making and planning policy to ensure public debate on crucial issues of social justice and economic and environmental sustainability. About 50 groups, many themselves federations, have taken part n preparing for today’s debates and will be continuing the work, to produce a Community-led London Plan for the new Mayor in May.



Communities, business and academics join forces to tackle London’s Workspace Crisis

By George Turner.

Just Space, a coalition of community groups, academics and campaigners have launched a new handbook aimed at helping communities fighting the loss of work space in London.

“London For All” contains contributions from small business groups and campaigners who have successfully fought regeneration projects and sought to build inclusive mixed communities that provide spaces for people to live and work. Continue reading

Traditional Markets under threat: why it’s happening and what traders and customers can do

Traditional markets in the UK find themselves at a crossroads; on one hand pushed out by changing retail trends and urban redevelopment, on the other championed as desirable, vibrant spaces which are the key to reviving town centres. Regeneration plans threaten what many traders and customers see as a unique and necessary public space in the heart of our towns and cities. Continue reading

Vision for the next London Plan

Press release for 12 October 2015

The Just Space network of community groups and London-wide organisations working to influence London’s strategic planning document, The London Plan, today issues a set of ‘key demands’ which will form the basis of more detailed Community Visions for the next London Plan

The key demands cover a range of issues:
· Fundamentals and Process issues: challenges some assumptions; calls for a proper programme of community engagement in developing the next London Plan.

· Sustainable Development: highlights the need to better integrate environmental, social and economic goals as London has not been developing sustainably – climate change and air pollution targets are not being met, issues of equity and inequality need addressing, and a diverse range of economic activity is needed.

· Environment, Social inclusion and Economy: green space, habitat, water and food issues; helping marginalised communities; developing a more egalitarian and more sustainable economy.

· Transport and Housing that are genuinely affordable: more is needed on reducing the need for people to have to travel unnecessarily, fostering walking and cycling and avoiding new road-building; delivering adequate social rented housing to reverse the “affordable housing con” and deal well with demolition versus refurbishment issues.

Download the Community Visions statement as PDF JSVisions2015

Just Space Co-ordinator, Richard Lee said:

“People from across London have come together to produce these key demands as part of Just Space network’s work to develop a Community Vision for the next London Plan.”

“Groups will be working on these ideas, elaborating them and proposing policies, in the remainder of 2015.”

“While the Mayor’s staff are preparing their new version of London’s strategic planning document that will affect the lives of all Londoners, Just Space groups have seized the initiative and are putting forward ideas of what local people want to see included.”

“For too long London’s planning system has failed to deliver for Londoners on issues such as air pollution and inequalities, has not developed a rounded economy, and has failed to tackle the affordable housing crisis – local people are demanding a better future for London and all Londoners.”

“One bit of good news, however, is that —this time— Londoners can contribute before the Plan hardens into a formal draft, and City Hall says it is listening. In the past citizens could only comment or object to the Mayor’s draft”

Development of the Community Visions: The Just Space network held a community conference in July 2015 to start the Community Visions work:
The final Community Visions document will be completed for a conference on 4th February 2016 where Mayoral candidates, current Assembly Members and candidates, as well as GLA staff will be invited to respond.

Work in progress on the Next London Plan is here.

Relaxation of housing & parking standards a mistake

Just Space has now submitted responses to the questions posed by the planning Inspector for debate on 21st and 22 October. Both on parking and on the weakening of housing standards —especially scrapping “Lifetime homes” and weakening disability access— Just Space organisations will be submitting very critical evidence

The Inspector’s “List of Matters” (=questions) and the Just Space responses are here.

The hearings are public though, for some reason, they are being held in Committee Room 5 of City Hall, much smaller than the usual debating Chamber. Expect a queue of wheelchairs.