#LDNworkspace – an innovation

Later (21 Feb) This experiment generated a mass of tweets which the London Assembly Economy Committee staff consolidated in a Storify here.  We’ll add updates from the meeting when we have them.

15 Feb: This is an innovation in democracy: Just Space in discussion with the Chair of the London Assembly Economy Committee is experimenting with tweets as a way for us to inform the committee’s debate on Tuesday morning 21st February on small enterprises: access to workspace, impact of the business rates increase and what support is needed from the Mayor of London. The briefing for the panel debate is here and the debate should be webcast.

The following guests have been invited to attend

  • Simon Pitkeathley, Chief Executive, Camden Town Unlimited; 
  • Natalie Campbell, Co-founder and CEO, A Very Good Company; 
  • Dr Patria Roman, Chair of Trustees, Latin Elephant and member of Just Space;
  • Ben Johnson, Senior Advisor, Business and Digital Policy, Greater London Authority;
  • David Fletcher, Chief Executive, Wimbletech Community Interest Company.

The Committee is keen to hear from a wide range of business and community interests and have arranged to gather views, concerns and suggestions through Twitter, under #LDNworkspace on three main questions:
•       Does your business find it difficult to access workspace in London?
•       How will business rate increases affect you?
•       What further support could the Mayor of London give you and your SME?

Continue reading

Housing trumps everything

The severity of London’s housing crisis is being used as grounds to displace other activities on which London depends: office, workshop, industrial, retail and social enterprises. Even more of an own goal is the way London sacrifices its remaining social housing to achieve extra total housing numbers, but less affordable. Just Space is challenging the way this is done partly through what looks like a technical/professional exercise of listing sites but is really policy-making in disguise. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

What London economy?

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

Later (18 November 2016) The Economic Evidence Base is now published. Free download at https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/economic_evidence_base_2016.compressed.pdf


London’s future has industry

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

New reports…

The GLA has just released the three recent reports by the Outer London Commission. They cover relations with surrounding regions, speeding up housing delivery and means of accommodating growth (of jobs as well as homes). The reports (and many contributory documents) can be downloaded at https://www.london.gov.uk/about-us/organisations-we-work/outer-london-commission-olc/olc-and-full-review-london-plan

Also released is research ‘Older Londoners and the London Plan. Looking to 2050″ referenced in the recently published Housing SPG at https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/planning/london-plan/london-plan-full-review/full-review-evidence-base

Jennifer Peters (GLA) writes “Older Londoners are the fastest growing population group in London  and already contribute around £9bn pa to economic activity in the capital. To ensure future London Plan policies are responsive to the needs of older Londoners the GLA commissioned this “thinkpiece” from Three Dragons, Celandine Strategic Housing and Mead Solutions Ltd to explore how this could be achieved as part of the forthcoming Review of the London Plan. The report contains a detailed analysis of local plan policies specifically affecting older people across all London Boroughs and includes a series of case studies showing how, through relatively small changes to the planning system, life could be better for older Londoners than it is today.”

Industrial land supply…

“The GLA has published the London Industrial Land Supply and Economy Study 2015 by consultants AECOM in association with Cushman & Wakefield, We Made That and Maddison Graphics. The document and appendices can be downloaded via the following link under “Economy, employment, offices and industry”:
This study assesses the supply of industrial land in London in 2015. It looks at how much industrial land has been released over the period 2010-2015 as well as potential future release of land in the planning pipeline. The study analyses employment and business in designated industrial sites and assesses trends in industrial land supply in the inner south east of England and compares these with trends in London. The study also considers the potential economic and congestion impacts of a reduced supply of industrial land in the capital.” Just Space was notified by Gerard Burgess of GLA on 18 March 2016



Draft Evidence Base

The draft Economic Evidence Base for the next London Plan has been published by GLA Economics today 22 February 2016. A download of 18MB or of individual chapters is available at https://www.london.gov.uk/business-and-economy-publications/draft-economic-evidence-base-2016 and comments are welcomed – though no deadline is given.

Just Space has had a number of meetings with the GLA Economics team about the scope and content of the document and will be reporting at the April 28 Conference.

After workshop discussion at the April conference and in other settings, Just Space submitted its observations to the GLA Economics team in May 2016.

Communities, business and academics join forces to tackle London’s Workspace Crisis

By George Turner.

Just Space, a coalition of community groups, academics and campaigners have launched a new handbook aimed at helping communities fighting the loss of work space in London.

“London For All” contains contributions from small business groups and campaigners who have successfully fought regeneration projects and sought to build inclusive mixed communities that provide spaces for people to live and work. Continue reading