Standing up for London's employment spaces (Supplementary) [2]

Session date: 
September 17, 2014
Question By: 
Andrew Boff
Organisation: 
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

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?

Answer

Answer for Standing up for London's employment spaces (Supplementary) [2]

Answer for Standing up for London's employment spaces (Supplementary) [2]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  We believe that the existing London Plan provides ample scope for councils, where they think it appropriate, to vary from office to residential.  I am worried about the measures that are currently being proposed and we are opposing them.  That is the position. 

Andrew Boff AM:  Thank you, sir. 

Kit Malthouse AM:  I just want to ask a supplementary question.  Mr Mayor, who do you think should decide strategic planning policy in London, you with your over a million votes or a chap from Great Yarmouth with 20,000-odd? 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It goes without saying.  You are really asking Nicky’s [Nicky Gavron AM] question in a different way.  I do think that this is wrong and we are opposing it.  We will seek to get the changes to this policy that people around this Assembly obviously want.