About Michael Edwards

staff in the Bartlett School of Planning and cooperating with others in UCL and with the Just Space Network to support London citizens' inpu

A ‘long-term economic plan’ for London

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)

Alarm at loss of London industrial space

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.)

City Fringe consultation

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.

city fringe OA

Inspector’s report issued #falp14

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.

new Grand Union Alliance forming at Old Oak Common

Saturday 15 November 2014 1030-1630h Tavistock Halls, Harlesden Methodist Church, NW10 4NE Conference of the Grand Union Alliance covering Old Oak Common, Park Royal, White City and Kensal Canalside — a new network of community groups seeking to defend their area as it becomes a transport hub, an “Opportunity Area” and a Mayoral Development Corporation. Contact: grandunionalliance@gmail.com Details: http://harlesdentown.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/sat-15-nov-harlesden-grand-union.html and there is a flyer to download. Organised with JustSpace and the London Tenants Federation, supported by the Trust for London. Later:  a first report is very supportive, by Christian Wolmar, one of the speakers, on his blog:

http://www.wolmarforlondon.co.uk/mayor_and_local_community_need_to_get_involved_in_old_oak_common He stresses the need for local community groups to be strongly engaged in the planning of the area – much more so than the Mayor seems to have facilitated so far.

Just Space critical of Infrastructure Plan 2050

Just Space has told the GLA that a good infrastructure plan for London and its wider region would be a great innovation — but this is not it.

In a document of 6 November 2014, to which many Just Space organisations contributed, and which draws together our thinking and evidence over recent years, Just Space said:

    a. long-term planning for infrastructure is a good thing;
    b. this is not a good example of planning, however, because…
    c. it appears to be based in investor demands rather than Londoners’ needs;
    d. the Board proposed to oversee implementation has no community representation and important questions concerning London’s governance are not addressed;
    e. removing Infrastructure issues into a relatively private sphere means there is much less public scrutiny than we have for the London Plan with its EiP system;
    f. there are methodological failings in the forecasting which prevent this plan from being an exploration of alternative futures;
    g. equalities dimensions are comprehensively missing;
    h. reducing the need to travel has insufficient emphasis, indeed the anticipated concentration of jobs in the centre alongside the sacrifice of employment space in the suburbs would take London in the opposite direction.
    i. We do not consider that the proposals in the Infrastructure Plan (IP) amount to a strategy for sustainable development for a variety of reasons elaborated below.

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