Mr Mayor, I would appeal to you to get your officers to look at the London Plan and how you can actually rescue business because, despite what the Government has done - and I think the Assembly is fairly united in opposing this relaxation of planning rules with regard to commercial areas - councils themselves are getting rid of their employment space voluntarily. What they are doing is they are taking the provision in many plans that says you can have housing that is ancillary to a commercial development and they are using the interpretation of ‘ancillary’ as meaning ‘additional to’. Rather than ancillary, it is additional. What they are doing is they are providing as an afterthought some retail units and then building housing on top of it. Those retail units typically do not have any storage, do not have any parking and are absolutely useless for the provision of any kind of business.
I would draw your attention to the development down Westgate Street last year where we had a development where there was a small industrial park which was home to 16 businesses. Hackney Council gave permission for that development to be housing. All but one of those 16 small businesses had to leave the borough. They could not be accommodated on the new site. Of course, the developer, Notting Hill Housing Trust, made their profit in providing houses. We want them to provide houses but not at the expense of jobs and not at the expense of small businesses, the lifeblood to London and the lifeblood to our recovery from the recession. Mr Mayor, will you look at the London Plan with a particular eye on encouraging that kind of accommodation that small business needs?