Reclaiming community spaces

#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

reclaim strip


Defending housing and industrial estates

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 <>
Cc: Mayor of London <>
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.

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


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

(some) Mayoral candidates respond…

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.

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

Also released is research ‘Older Londoners and the London Plan. Looking to 2050″ referenced in the recently published Housing SPG at

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.”