Just Space Network launches Community-led Plan for London and calls for Sadiq Khan to encourage fair involvement in planning.
Just Space, an informal network of voluntary and community groups, has published a draft Community-led Plan for London to establish the need for public participation and new initiatives in planning the city.
Frustrated by the few gains resulting from community participation in successive Examinations in Public (EiPs) of the London Plan, and at too late a stage in the process, Just Space decided to use its combined knowledge and evidence built up over many years and write a set of London Plan policies from a community perspective. Eighty-five different organizations have contributed to the draft, from local community campaigns to pan-London interest groups.
Just Space calls for the new Mayor to analyse the current planning model and its detrimental impact on the majority of Londoners. They say there is an urgent need to re-balance a system in which developer-led planning dominates large areas of the city, for example across the ‘Opportunity Areas’. Just Space challenged Boris Johnson’s London Plan, saying it would increase the polarisation of London’s communities, continue to encourage inequality and not solve the housing crisis. They were also critical of the narrowness of his ‘World City’ focus.
Richard Lee, Just Space co-ordinator, said:
“Londoners need to be involved in strategic thinking about what kind of a city we want to live in and how policy can reflect that, rather than being just ‘end users’ of the planning system. We have a wealth of knowledge to bring to the table and are looking to Mayor Khan and his team to open the door at this formative stage.
“Our view is that people are alarmed at the social and economic impact of recent development and that as a result different planning priorities need to be established. Our policies focus on London’s well-being, for example through a more localized, fair and green economy; the refurbishment of existing homes; functional blue and green spaces; the importance of social infrastructure and community assets. The proposals come about through ground-level knowledge and the principle that London should be a city for all.”
- Download Towards a Community-led Plan for London – policies and proposals Sent to GLA Assembly Members, Mayoral advisers and planning team on 10 August 2016.
- The Just Space Network was founded to bring a large number of community voices together to participate in the Examinations in Public of the London Plan, a formal process usually dominated by town planners and developers and where participation is rare from those most affected by the policy on the ground. The Network brings together an impressively wide range of groups, some with a London-wide remit such as the London Forum of Civic and Amenity Societies and Friends of the Earth, others locally-based community groups such as the Earl’s Court Tenants Association and special interest local campaigns like Friends of Queen’s Market.
- The Network also has close links with London Universities (e.g. UCL and King’s College) whose staff and students provide research that the network can use to support grass roots evidence, while students gain from working in direct contact with communities.
- The Mayor of London normally produces an outline of his draft ideas for the new London Plan early in his term. The last Mayor’s document was called “Planning for a better London”. https://www.brent.gov.uk/media/323950/SD67%20plan-better-london.pdf Sadiq Khan’s is expected in September or October 2016.
Long version of Chapter 3, Economy, with notes and sources: Download: Just Space Community led Plan – Economy long June
#ReclaimOurSpaces was a collaborative event held on Saturday 25th of June at Conway Hall. The Ubele Initiative, Just Space and Spark were the main organisers who offered participants an opportunity for community organisations to come together and discuss how they can influence government policy and secure community spaces. There is a write-up of the event by Ubele interns Emily and Aysha here. A detailed report on the event by Santa Pedone, with many pictures, is a PDF download: Report_ROS2
Just Space has written to the Mayor and the GLA planners, responding to a call for suggestions for potential large housing sites:
To: London SHLAA <LondonSHLAA@london.gov.uk>
Cc: Mayor of London <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: London SHLAA – Call for Sites
Dear Sir or Madam
I am making these comments on behalf of Just Space, a network of groups aiming to get more of the community involved in matters relating to planning.
We are concerned that the call for submission of large sites will lead to the submission of housing estates and industrial estates. These are often described as brownfield land. However, they are not, because they are already in use, either as homes or as work places.
Published on 6 June, The Case for London’s Latin Quarter: Retention, Growth and Sustainability (Authors: Patria Roman-Velazquez and Nicola Hill) sets out a strategic vision for the development of the existing Latin American business cluster at Elephant and Castle (EC) in the Borough of Southwark, London.
The new Mayor of London’s staff risk offering him advice on London’s economy which is biased in favour of big corporate business, disregarding the potential —even the existence— of the ordinary economy of London’s high streets and industrial estates, its ethnic economies, street markets and small firms. The draft “Economic Evidence Base” emphasises the finance, business services and technology sectors which generate such high profits, rents and salaries in London while paying little attention to the low-pay fields in which half of London’s people work: catering and hotels, caring, driving, cleaning and retailing. As for manufacturing, despite its innovation and its high average productivity, the economists treat it as a declining sector and seem content to leave it to the property markets to determine what survives the competition from an inflated housing market. [Hardly surprising it’s a declining sector when its land is being ‘released’ for housebuilding at 3 times the planned rate.]
The GLA is to be congratulated for having consulted Just Space last year as it drafted its report, and then again after its draft was published in February. At each stage, and in three meetings, the Just Space Economy and Planning Group made clear what it considered to be necessary improvements, though without much detectable impact so far. Now the group has submitted a detailed 20-page commentary which is intended to re-balance the “Evidence Base” before it lands on the new Mayor’s desk. The Just Space commentary is here: 160523b JSEP comments on EEB-final
Just Space Economy & Planning – London’s future has industry
at Makerversity, Somerset House
On Wednesday 11 May Just Space Economy and Planning held a meeting to follow up on the Making the City Ideas Workshop which took place in March 2016. The meeting was attended by 20 participants from a range of backgrounds, including long-standing members of Just Space and JSEP as well as some participants from the Making the City event.
Overview of the Making the City Ideas Workshop
Following the seminar on industrial land held by JSEP and CASS Cities in January 2015, a working group was set up to focus on industrial capacity issues and develop solutions to put forward to the Mayor of London. Continue reading
Just Space wrote to the 4 main candidates for Mayor, asking for their commitment to work collaboratively and at an early stage with community groups and residents in the co-production of the next London Plan. We have received replies from 2 candidates as below by 3 May.
Statement from Sian Berry, Green Party candidate for Mayor
“The drafting of a new London Plan presents us with a fantastic opportunity. For far too long, documents like these have been produced by the Mayor, debated by the London Assembly and then sent out for consultation in the community, which is neither a creative nor a particularly efficient way of operating, because it just kicks off a lot of antagonistic to-ing and fro-ing. I agree with Just Space that the early and effective involvement of community organisations of every shape and size in the co-production of the Plan would deliver a better outcome, based on consensus not diktat. If I’m elected Mayor that’s precisely how I’ll set about creating this new chapter of London’s history.”
Statement from Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor
‘I can confirm that I am very happy to make a commitment to work collaboratively and at an early stage with community groups and residents in the co-production of the next London Plan. I believe that genuine and early consultation is essential in planning. Local residents know the issues and needs of their community and are well placed to give guidance and advice. The Liberal Democrats believe strongly in localism and this commitment is very much in line with our values.’
Sian Berry and Caroline Pidgeon are also standing as London Assembly Members.