Stratford (Supplementary) [5]

Session date: 
January 14, 2004
Question By: 
John Biggs
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
Ken Livingstone


This site is of course in the heart of my constituency, and so I have a parochial interest in it. But what concerns me in Jenny's (Jones) question are two things. The first is that she is so uncompromising and in reality you need to achieve a balance; and the second is that she is ignoring the scale of development here. This is a site that is about half the size of the City of London, where we are proposing to have 4,500 homes, 1,500,000 square feet of retail, 4,500,000 of offices, over a million square feet of hotel spaces, and about 500,000 of leisure and community uses.

They are fundamental to regenerating east London and providing jobs and better prosperity and better homes for people who live in east London who put up with crummy conditions and low incomes at present. The context of this is that 10,000 spaces are probably excessive, but given that scale of development, it is not as excessive as it sounds.

The key, then, to this question is to assert two things. The first is that it is not just the Green Members who are concerned about environmental quality in London. It is pretty fundamental to all of us, even the Conservative and Liberal Members would agree that environmental quality and sustainability are fundamental to this, but the balance has to be right, and we have a just role in getting that balance right.

We support you in challenging the number of 10,000, but before you get carried away and say `10,000, outrageous number, it should not happen', you need to place it in the context of this massive development, which will help to regenerate east London.

The second bite of this, then, is again on sustainability. A constituent of mine in Barking, for example, who needs to cross the River Thames, has to drive an extra eight miles because of the absence of a river crossing in close proximity to them. The pollution, air quality and environmental effects of that, for example, the air quality effects on residents of Poplar, which is very close to Stratford, are horrendous as well. If you look at asthma, if you look at the school playgrounds and the air conditions there, it is related intimately to the haphazard and thoughtless planning regime which has existed in the past. The Mayor has the opportunity, indeed, the duty to get it right in Stratford, which is a balance. Again, do you agree?

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Stratford (Supplementary) [5]

Answer for Stratford (Supplementary) [5]

Answered By: 
Ken Livingstone

We should look at Stratford in comparison with, say, what has been happening around Paddington and all these other major developments and White City. There is no way that we would have allowed White City; I would have directed refusal. But right the way across London there is going to be a balance to be struck.

What we want to get to is, we want to be a little more like the Europeans and a little bit less like the Americans. What I mean by that is that car ownership figures in Europe are higher than here, but people use them less and are more likely to make a public transport journey. Individually in Europe people balance it; all we are asking is that the people of Stratford and of the Thames Gateway have that same freedom to make those individual choices. We would like them to use public transport most of the time; we recognise, when struggling with lots of kids or with shopping or with something heavy to move, they are likely to use a car.