Viability in planning decisions (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
July 15, 2015
Question By: 
Andrew Boff
Organisation: 
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Andrew Boff AM:  Mr Mayor, do you think the confidentiality of viability assessments should come to an end?

Answer

Answer for Viability in planning decisions (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Viability in planning decisions (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Viability assessments should be as transparent as possible.  They are shared with planning authorities and I do not see why they should not be shared more widely.

Andrew Boff AM:  Would you take action to end the confidentiality of viability assessments?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I would have to take advice on the effect of that and whether it would have the benign effects that we want.

Andrew Boff AM:  You will try?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I will certainly discuss it.  I do not know whether it would have the positive effect that we want.

Andrew Boff AM:  There are no good arguments for confidentiality of viability assessments that I have heard.  I would welcome you submitting some to me that make any sense whatsoever.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I am willing to look into it.  What I do not want to do is introduce into the whole planning process, unwittingly, things that give developers an excuse not to go ahead, and that is always the problem.  I would not want to see that.

Andrew Boff AM:  I do not see an absence of people wanting to develop in London, Mr Mayor.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I am sorry: there is a tragic absence of people wanting to develop in London.  We are dominated by a small number of very big corporations, when there used to be before the crash about 8,000 small builders who simply have gone out of business.  We need to bring them back to the table.  We need to have them building on sites across the city.  That is why the London Land Commission, which I have set up, will be looking to bring in small builders as well.

Andrew Boff AM:  Of course those smaller developers are much more willing to be totally transparent with their financial arrangements than the larger corporations.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I do not know if that is so, but I am willing to take it on trust from you.

Andrew Boff AM:  I welcome that, Mr Mayor, and welcome the undertaking that you will at least look into it.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Certainly.

Andrew Boff AM:  I say that I think it is a given.  I cannot understand why we are keeping something of such importance to the public away from their eyes.  Thank you.