Built Environment (Supplementary) [2]

Session date: 
September 13, 2000
Question By: 
John Biggs
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Your oft-repeated obsession with tall buildings - leaving aside the possible psychological connotations - is in danger of unbalancing the debate about planning and building in London. I know that one committee I am on has requested this, but will you be making a formal statement, which would not need to fetter your discretion, on the sorts of priorities that will guide you in planning decisions in future? If London is seen as a free-fire zone for tall buildings, although they may have their place in certain areas, in others they will be a serious blot and a serious problem for the future. Londoners will want to see a balance in the way things are happening.

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for Built Environment (Supplementary) [2]

Answer for Built Environment (Supplementary) [2]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

That is absolutely right. No one is saying that we are going to plonk high buildings here, there and everywhere. I found it interesting that, at my first fairly lengthy meeting with our planning staff - Nicky Gavron was there - I went through about 20 areas of policy, giving my gut instinct response; and in every case I found that my response was the existing LPAC policy. The policies that I am following are a natural development of the work over the years of LPAC, which was a consensual organisation without great party schisms.

It seems to me that there are parts of central London where high buildings are right - that north-east corner of the City Corporation area, and then into Docklands, where there will be a major and continuing part of the Thames gateway. I also believe that, as in many American cities, a major transport terminal or interchange - such as London Bridge or Paddington - where people can use public transport to get to work, is an obvious place where one can justify high buildings.