Last month The Cass in Whitechapel hosted a meeting of JSEP network members which addressed the loss of industrial land in London. Professor Mark Brearley (The Cass), formerly of the GLA, kicked off the evening with a presentation setting out ‘23 thoughts about industrial land in London’. The visually engaging presentation took the form of a series of vignettes, each sketch providing an insight into often overlooked aspects of industry in London. Dr Jessica Ferm and Edward Jones (UCL) presented highlights of their working paper on London’s industrial land, arguing that loss of industrial land is running above strategic guidelines, with real estate speculation and rampant residential land values driving redevelopment of industrial premises for ’mixed use’. They showed evidence that manufacturing is changing, but not dead; industry continues to be important for London and industrial land provides low-cost business premises to a wide variety of businesses aside from manufacturing and industry. Together, these activities provide vital support to London’s economy and residents, and contribute to London’s diversity, vibrancy and status as a World City (a copy of Jess and Ed’s working paper can be accessed here).
Roy Tindle reflected on the broad range of activities happening in industrial premises in south east London, pointing to examples of firms whose activities are often strategically important and of great value. He highlighted the self-defeating nature of London’s present development trajectory – how will high end flats, restaurants and bars get built and operate without aggregate yards, warehouses and breweries? Christian Spencer-Davies then provided a valuable insight into creative production in King’s Cross, reflecting on the progress of Camley Street Neighbourhood Forum which has brought together businesses and residents. The diversity of uses in Camley Street and their importance to London was clear from the presentation.
Members then discussed the recently released London First and McKinsey ‘Economic Development Plan’ and reflected on the inspector’s report on the Further Alterations to the London Plan. Myfanwy facilitated a productive discussion, resulting in a number of important action points – convening an ‘open’ Cass seminar on industrial land, preparing briefing documents to set out major issues around industrial land in London (both for the public and technical audiences), producing media focussed short videos and securing resources for further research. All these actions are currently being pursued by network members.
On Monday 2nd March Jess and Ed will be presenting their research on London’s industrial land at the LSE (4.45pm – 6.15pm at St Clements Building, Room STC.S75). All are welcome to attend.
Today the Mayor, with the Chancellor of the (UK) Exchequer, held a press conference at Tate Modern and announced this plan. The full text is on a government web site here.
This ‘plan’ closely resembles the London 2035 document produced last month, prepared by McKinsey and Co for London First and presented by them to the London LEP (London Enterprise Partnership) with the addition of a long list of projects.
Neither document was based on consultation with Londoners or their organisations, but both appear to reflect the interests of big business.
Just Space will be working over the coming months to help citizens and community organisations to develop their own ideas about what should be in a London plan which would serve Londoners. Recent work by Just Space and its member groups suggests that priorities would include:
- Raising GDP through raising wages and productivity in what are currently low-paid jobs and sectors (which would contribute to greater equality, compared with the Mayor’s emphasis on high pay sectors).
- Diversifying the economy of London, nurturing the public and private enterprises we DO have in all sectors, not just focusing on new inward investment in a few services.
- Maintaining and growing services and jobs in manufacturing, making and re-making of all kinds, retrofitting and greening the city’s activities – which would mean protecting land and buildings where people work in suburban London from the threat posed by the switch of land to over-priced housing.
- Focusing housing policy on stopping the shrinkage of the social housing stock, turning that round and growing the social-rent sector; improving conditions and lowering rents in private housing.
(blog post in progress)
Jenny Jones who chairs the Economy Committee of the London Assembly has issued a strong critique of the Mayor’s policies (or failure to stick to policies) on protecting industrial buildings and land from the developers who would convert almost anything to housing. In her report she draws on Just Space work, on published academic work from UCL and Cass Cities. Her report can be downloaded at https://www.london.gov.uk/media/assembly-member-press-releases/green-party/2015/02/mayor-plans-for-london-manufacturing-to-disappear-within-fifty
Meanwhile the GLA has allocated £100,000 for a study of industrial land, with this brief, to report in May/June. URS consultants and Peter Brett & partners (formerly Roger Tym) (and perhaps others) have been shortlisted and a decision will be made soon (note added feb 19.)
London First and the London Enterprise Panel have published London 2036: an agenda for jobs and growth. This is a report on the future of the London Economy, substantially prepared by McKinsey and Co. There is a free download at https://lep.london/publication/london2036 We understand that the status of the report is that it is a submission by London First to the LEP.
The GLA has published for consultation a draft City Fringe Opportunity Area Planning Framework. This will become Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) when approved. Consultations close on Friday 13 February. Download documents at https://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/planning/consultations/city-fringe-opportunity-area-planning-framework The area now covered by this “city fringe” term is much larger than in earlier usage and surprises many people.
The report by the Inspector on the Further Alterations to the London Plan 2014 has been published on the GLA website
It starts with: Non-Technical Summary
“This report concludes that the London Plan as changed by the Further Alterations provides an appropriate basis for the strategic planning of Greater London provided the suggested and further suggested changes are made and my recommendations are accepted.
The recommendations can be summarised as follows:
- Committing to an immediate full review of the London Plan
- Removing references to London Boroughs being required carry out their own assessments of objectively assessed housing need
- Allowing London Boroughs to set their own income criteria with regard to intermediate housing
Just Space will add comments when they are ready.