Mayor’s plans need toughening up

12 December 2016 London Community groups today welcome the new Mayor’s ambitions to make this a city “for all” but his proposals need a lot of sharpening if they are to turn the tide of developer-domination of London’s growth.

Responses to the Mayor’s first document, A city for all Londoners, closed last night and the Just Space network response is here just-space-response-to-a-city-for-all-londoners The Mayor’s report, together with reports and slide shows from the various consultation events held in November 2016 are all here https://www.london.gov.uk/get-involved/have-your-say/all-consultations/city-all-londoners

The launch process has been much more open than under Ken Livingstone or Boris Johnson and that is very welcome. Large numbers of community group representatives have been able to take part in one or more of the 8 topic workshops organised by City Hall. What’s more the discussions which took place at each one, at a dozen or so round tables, have been written up quickly and published – all on that same web page. The stage is thus set for a well-informed debate over the coming months as the various City Hall teams draft the Mayor’s strategies for Economy, Housing, Transport, Health Inequalities, Culture, Environment and Policing and the London Plan itself which is meant to bind all these together. Just Space has welcomed this approach and looks forward to playing an active role.

Ten key points are  made in the Just Space response: The Mayor should…

1.  …put in place a programme of effective, meaningful and continuous engagement – underpinned by the principles of inclusion and fairness – that enables all Londoners to work with the Mayor and officers in a spirit of co-operation and in co-production of the new London Plan and all the Mayor’s Strategies. Deep changes are needed in the governance of the city and this is a starting point.

2. …develop a London Housing Bill to give the Mayor devolved powers to bring housing reform in London, especially city wide rent control for private renters, regulation of landlords through mandatory landlord licensing across London and meeting the challenge of providing not-for-profit, social rented housing.   The term “affordable housing” should be removed in any documents produced by the Mayor.

3.  …care for existing homes, neighbourhoods and communities and respond to high levels of fuel poverty by scaling up refurbishment and retrofit programmes and protecting existing council housing and housing association estates.

4.  …foster a more localised, fair and green economy that acknowledges the diversity found in high streets and industrial estates such as low cost workspace, light industrial units, warehouses, studios and sheds, as a strength and a driver of the city’s future well being.

5. …promote affordable and accessible public transport, supported by revenue from road user charging to tackle congestion and pollution.

6.  …care for the environment by making London a Blue Green City, placing value on the connection and interaction between London’s blue and green assets such as green spaces, waterways, nature and air quality.

7. …require Social Impact Assessments to be undertaken to measure and calculate the impact of development proposals on existing residents and businesses in neighbourhoods being considered for substantial change.

8. …support Lifetime Neighbourhoods, scaled up to Lifetime Suburbs in Outer London, providing key amenities and job opportunities locally, thus reducing the need for costly and polluting travel.

9. …place a moratorium on any more Opportunity Areas, bringing forward an evaluation and review of successes and failures so far and a new model of regeneration that prioritises social sustainability and social infrastructure and embeds more democratic and participatory mechanisms into the regeneration of areas.

10. …develop new indicators for measuring the success of the city, such as the % of the labour force that has a secure job that pays at least the London Living Wage, and measuring life satisfaction using wellbeing surveys.

The full response is just 10 pages: just-space-response-to-a-city-for-all-londoners