Lobbying City Hall

Just Space, after publishing the ground-breaking document Towards a community-led plan for London: policy directions and proposals, is following up by working with various parts of City Hall.

We met with Nicky Gavron, Vice-Chair of the London Assembly Planning Committee and have written in June and October to the Chair, Tony Devenish and to her – most recently sending our critique of the London Infrastructure Plan 2050 which their Committee is discussing.  Just Space plans to contribute to future meetings of the committee, especially on the formative ideas for the next London Plan.

Just Space takes part in the Strategic Housing Market Partnership [a re-naming of the former Strategic Housing Land Availability (SHLA) Methodology Panel ] whose October meeting heard a summary by Elliot Kemp of some of the 6 research projects on housing density which the Mayor’s office had commissioned.  These 6 reports are expected to be published later in October.  Meanwhile the slideshow from the meeting is here.

As the London Enterprise Panel is currently going through a review of its purpose and membership, Just Space has asked to meet with the Mayor of London to discuss the opportunity to be represented on the LEP, to give voice to a wider range of interests and concerns and bring in the diverse expertise of the network’s members.

Just Space Economy and Planning has also recently written to the Mayor of London and the London Enterprise Panel regarding the bid to the Government’s Local Growth Fund, expressing concerns that the proposed funding allocations would not meet the real priorities of London’s diverse enterprises.

The LEP bid would direct £173m at supporting housing development in the Royal Docks, Housing Zones and on small sites. JSEP emphasised that one of the key pressures facing London’s economy is the severe lack of low-cost accommodation for a wide range of activities, caused by the loss of essential workspace on industrial land and high streets to housing development. JSEP suggested that this funding, together with the £110m proposed for high-street regeneration should be used for retaining and increasing workspace capacity to support London’s diverse economic sectors. This would strengthen manufacturing, repair, reuse, recycling, servicing, storage and distribution activities, all of which contribute to local employment and local supply chains, reducing emissions caused by travel to work and deliveries. JSEP argued that supporting these sectors should be one of the key priorities in spending the £30m proposed budget for improving air quality.

On 5 October the LEP replied as follows: Thank you for your letter. I have been asked to respond on behalf of the Mayor. 

We would like to clarify that Round 3 of the Local Growth Fund will be used for infrastructure to support housing delivery rather than direct housing delivery. One of the Mayor’s main priorities is to tackle the housing crisis by building thousands more homes for Londoners each year. The Mayor has set a target of 50 per cent of new homes to be genuinely affordable and this funding would help support this priority. 

We absolutely agree that the fund should be directed at retaining and building low cost workspaces and are already working towards this through the ‘supporting local economies’ strand of our bid which would build on the current London Regeneration Fund. Thank you for also highlighting the report by Latin Elephant which we will definitely review. 

Regarding the £30 million earmarked in this bid for air quality, this would help provide investment in a new CNG distribution network and refuse vehicles for local authorities. It will support the local circular economy, including a new ReFood Biomethane plant in Dagenham and a £21 million organic waste facility at the London Sustainable Industries Park (LSIP). A new commercial boiler scrappage scheme would help to save around £15m per year off business’ fuel bills. This would be complimented by a new fund for local businesses wanting to do innovative projects that reduce their air pollution footprint. 

We are currently recruiting new Members to the London Enterprise Panel (see https://lep.london/apply) and we hope to attract a diverse range of members, as outlined in the application pack, so we would welcome any applications from Just Space network, and would greatly appreciate you sharing this opportunity among the network. 

Kind regards,  Jamie Izzard,  Senior Manager- London Enterprise Panel

JSEP has also written separately to the Deputy Mayor for Business urging him to engage not only with the financial, business services and property sectors but also with micro and small businesses, independent retailers and ethnic and migrant traders to ensure their needs, priorities and suggestions are taken into account in shaping the GLA’s strategies and investment programmes.

The letters are linked above. We will post updates as soon as we receive  more responses.