London Plan (Supplementary) [2]

Session date: 
October 14, 2009
Question By: 
Steve O'Connell
Organisation: 
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Steve O'Connell (AM): Thank you very much, Mr Mayor. I have to say that when the author of the report poised over the section around back garden protection, he or she must have felt the weight of expectation very heavily on their shoulders. I am pleased at some of the wording around it. I have consulted a couple of senior council leaders and a couple of senior planning executive directors who are content that it does give them the powers to further protect our back gardens. However, in that context, I would perhaps urge you to lessen your temptation to have a light touch upon this generally and perhaps to revisit, once again, the language around that item, particularly, perhaps, to put more emphasis on the Mayor clearly supporting those boroughs who would make a presumption against back garden development. So I would like, perhaps, Mr Mayor, your comment around that.

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for London Plan (Supplementary) [2]

Answer for London Plan (Supplementary) [2]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

OK. The Plan is out for three months of consultation now so that is a point that clearly we will take on board. I want to give effect in the London Plan to the protection of back garden space and what we are doing is allowing, for the first time, boroughs to do that. It may be that it could be phrased in another way. We will certainly have a look at it.

Steve O'Connell (AM): Thank you, Mr Mayor. Just, on another point, equally I very much welcome, in 7.16, the strengthening of greenbelt protection and the increased strengthening of metropolitan open land and bringing it up to a level with greenbelt. What I was interested in were your comments around looking upon, benignly, expansion and extension of greenbelt. There are beleaguered communities out there in thrall of aggressive developers who will be very attracted to the concept of, instead, extending, appropriately, greenbelt. I would be interested on your point of clarification around that, Mr Mayor.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Yes. It was famously John Prescott [Deputy Prime Minister 1997 to 2007] who said the greenbelt was a Labour achievement and they meant to build on it! That is not, I think, the policy that we should be pursuing in London. I do think we should be protecting greenbelt and green spaces and that is very much at the heart of what we are trying to do with the London Plan. It is possible to accommodate the growth in population without destroying the garden city aspect of London and that is what we intend to do.

Steve O'Connell (AM): Thank you, Mr Mayor. I will take that as an affirmative that boroughs --

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): You can take it as a resounding affirmative.

Steve O'Connell (AM): Fantastic. If appropriate, then we look at, indeed, extending greenbelt, as appropriate.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Well, we will certainly look at representations.

Steve O'Connell (AM): It was the wording within the report which I celebrate.