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Common councillor meeting in Cripplegate - conflicts of interest, participation in the planning process, culture mile

This week one of the regular meetings between Common Councillors, our Alderman and residents took place.

This was an unusual meeting as it started with a presentation by Sir Nicholas Kenyon, managing director of the Barbican Centre on the Culture Mile.  This is a joint initiative between local arts venues and the City of London.  It envisages over a period of perhaps fifteen years, creating a district with an identifiable sense of destination linking to the new Museum of London at Smithfield with the Barbican Centre.  The most immediate change is likely to be improvements to the Beech Street tunnel.  The audience was almost unanimous in its support for a project which will increase the quality of the public realm as well as signage, mapping and graphic design. There was also a lot of support for the proposed concert hall on the Museum of London site.

I asked the panel a question about the recently published report on housing by former chair of policy Mark Boleat. See the Evening Standard for the details. All of those on the panel distanced themselves from Boleat's report and comments.

Here is a quote from the article:

"London's housing crisis can only be solved by a radical overhaul of the “deeply flawed” planning system to rein in selfish middle class “Nimbys,” a provocative new report argues today.

"In comments that will anger conservation and resident bodies, former City of London Corporation supremo Sir Mark Boleat said current rules “give far too much weight to articulate groups who make a lot of noise” and not enough weight to young “have-nots” who are priced off the housing ladder."

I also asked a question about the recent article by Anna Minton in the Guardian.  This had focussed on alleged conflicts of interest by those on planning committee who were also commercial planners or developers.  See in particular paragraph four which is quoted here: "The story follows a by-now-familiar plot. In May 2017 planning approval was given to Taylor Wimpey, despite strong opposition from local residents and businesses. During this process it emerged that the chair of the City’s planning and transportation committee, Chris Hayward, is a director of Indigo Planning, whose clients include Taylor Wimpey. Deputy chair James Thomson was formerly deputy chief financial officer and chief operations officer of Cushman and Wakefield, commercial property and real estate consultants, which marketed and sold Bernard Morgan House to Taylor Wimpey. The committee member and former lord mayor of London Sir Michael Bear was appointed chair of the planning consultancy Turley Associates – which also acts for Taylor Wimpey – a few weeks after planning approval was granted."

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Comment by Fred Rodgers on Monday

David, Stewart thanks for the information. Actually I read the London Stone some time ago - very interesting read. Will get a copy of the Gordon & Dewhurst book.

Comment by Iain Meek on Monday

"the target figure for the 3,000 homes" can be reduced to a mere 2,998 if the Corporation lets me build my dream home at the Northern boundary.  :)

Comment by David Graves (your Alderman) on November 12, 2017 at 19:47

Stewart - Thank you for the research and well done in tracking down my short piece on the London Stone.

Comment by Stewart Home on November 11, 2017 at 11:28

Fred & David. Just to clarify people can buy the Gordon & Dewhirst book from the Ward Club for £1.75 without joining the club, and it is also held as part of City of London library stock so can be read for free. Ward club page selling Gordon & Dewhirst (you may need to scroll down to find it at bottom right): http://www.cripplegatewardclub.org/merchandise.php

There are other Cripplegate Ward books (and a map) that come up from a search of our local libraries, including 4 hard copies of Baddeley but even the copy in the Barbican Library is closed shelf access. But for those who prefer hard copy to a pdf they are there. And while Fred's waiting for David's book on Cripplegate, he might like to check out The London Stone: from myth and mystery to contemporary planning by David: https://gha386.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/gha-220-2013_06_10-the-l...

Comment by David Graves (your Alderman) on November 10, 2017 at 22:34

Fred - Yes - hold the front page! The old historical books (such as they are) reside now with the Cripplegate Foundation which took some of the stock from the Cripplegate Library when it was re-purposed for office use many years ago now. The Ward Club has no premises, so my assumption is that there is nothing else to mention on the Ward Club side apart from the book entitled "The Ward of Cripplegate in the City of London" by Caroline Gordon and Wilfred Dewhirst published in 1985 to celebrate the election as Lord Mayor of a previous Cripplegate Alderman (topical as Charles Bowman today became the 690th Lord Mayor). New members of the Ward Club are offered a copy of the book. Maybe that is the book to update.

Comment by Fred Rodgers on November 10, 2017 at 11:17

"Cripplegate Alderman embarrassed" might make a good City Matters headline! I only came across it on Google yesterday but it is an interesting read. At least your history will only have to start from where Alderman Baddeley's ends. Does Cripplegate Ward Club have anything else of similar interest by the way?   

Comment by David Graves (your Alderman) on November 9, 2017 at 23:52

I'm embarrassed to say I didn't know this book existed! Maybe if you give me 20 years to come up with something, I might think about it. Thank you for the link and I shall try to find time to read it. I bet there are no typographical errors in the book. 

Comment by Fred Rodgers on November 9, 2017 at 21:31

David, this question is completely unfair but can we expect like this from you:


Comment by David Graves (your Alderman) on November 9, 2017 at 0:35

Fred - True, the new homes help to address a London-wide issue and are not exclusively focussed on reducing the City waiting list. Rightly or wrongly the main aim is to offer new homes, including social and affordable housing, not focussing solely on the City list. I do agree with the maths of Mark Boleat's point that 20% of a sufficiently big number is better than 50% or even 100% of a much smaller number. Also, if open market sales help to subsidise social housing, is that a bad thing if it delivers more social housing? Another point for discussion. 

Comment by Fred Rodgers on November 9, 2017 at 0:24

David -  As well as building new homes on its own sites, buying off plan and partially completed developments as well as re-purchase of RtB homes are also proposed methods of increasing CoL's housing stock. The difficulty with new build social housing outside the Square Mile is that nominations are usually shared with the relevant borough. This means the 700 homes are only likely to reduce CoL's 1000 plus waiting by 350. 

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