Tall Buildings

MQT on 2015-03-25
Session date: 
March 25, 2015
Question By: 
Navin Shah
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


At the November 2014 Plenary session, the Assembly passed a motion calling on you to rethink your approach to tall buildings in London. Have you changed your position?


Answer for Tall Buildings

Answer for Tall Buildings

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I know of your own background is in this area and I am interested, obviously, in what you have to say.  I do not think that my position has changed.  The London Plan provides a robust framework for this.  There are many applications we see that we turn down out of hand because the buildings are tall, unsightly and out of place, but I have always said that where you have a good transport hub, a high public transport accessibility level (PTAL) ratio, then tall buildings can look great.  Most people looking out at the Shard today - wherever it is, behind us somewhere - would agree that it is a spectacular landmark for London.  I think Nicky Gavron claims a significant role in bringing it about.  Nobody would want to see it knocked down now.  


Navin Shah AM:  Mr Mayor, I only have one minute left.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  If your proposal is for a new commission or a new group of self-appointed busybodies to tell the mayoralty what to do or to tell London Councils what to do about the skyline, absolutely not.  Stuff them; they should get elected.  That is what I think.


Navin Shah AM:  Mr Mayor, it is unfortunate that you approach this in such a negative and insulting manner because it is not I alone; it is the wishes of this Committee, this Assembly ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am so sorry.  I did not mean to be insulting to your Committee.


Navin Shah AM:  ‑‑ to agree a unanimous motion that to protect London’s skyline the Mayor should consider setting up a Skyline Commission.  It is just a simple request of the four key issues, which the Assembly agreed unanimously.  Are you prepared to protect London’s skyline by setting up a Skyline Commission or not?  Yes or no, please.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  We have lots of protections already in place.  We have very, very ‑–


Navin Shah AM:  That is the Assembly’s decision, not just mine.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Indeed, the London View Management Framework was greatly extended by me to protect strategic views of St Paul’s, of the Tower of London, the view from Richmond Hill, which Tony [Arbour AM] campaigned on so eloquently.We put in protections.


Navin Shah AM:  Mr Mayor, the experts in London are supposed to agree with you on this.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Hang on.  Let me finish because you are making, I am afraid, a completely unfounded allegation about the state of protection already in London.


Navin Shah AM:  No, I am not.  It is not just me.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  We already have very considerable protections.  I do not see any reason ‑‑


Navin Shah AM:  Your answer is no to a Skyline Commission, correct?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ to have a new tier of busybodies and ‑‑


Navin Shah AM:  You are saying no to a Skyline Commission and further protecting London’s skyline, are you not?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ my recommendation to those who presume to have views about this is that they ‑‑


Navin Shah AM:  Mr Mayor, please answer the question for once.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  My answer is no and they should get elected and ‑‑


Navin Shah AM:  It is not a question of getting elected.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ if they did get elected, it would be fascinating to see how many tall buildings they actually approved of.


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  The Labour Group is out of time.


Navin Shah AM:  Londoners do not agree with you and the Assembly does not agree with you and the position you are taking.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I respectfully disagree with you because you are wrong.


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  Thank you.  The Labour Group is out of time.