Blue London

May 5th, 2012

This is a sad day for London.  The election of Boris Johnson as Mayor for the second time, made worse by it being only a narrow victory, when seen in the light of his support for the Conservative administration of H&F and his planning decisions in support of the social cleansing policies of that borough, is not to be welcomed by anyone who cares about the plight of council tenants across London.

This blog was created as a direct result of an article in the Evening Standard on Thursday 9th July 2009 highlighting the intention of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham to rid the borough of council estates and their residents.  In the nearly three years since they have gone some way towards this and certainly done little to reassure the worried that their intentions are otherwise.

Until 1986 we had the GLC, which administered the London Boroughs on behalf of ALL Londoners and whose policies ensured through cross subsidy between boroughs that no borough became excessively wealthy or poor.  Since its abolition Tower Hamlets and Newham have declined (even North Kensington), while boroughs like Wandsworth have not only become wealthier but have been able to implement policies that are divisive and favour only the better off.

I support Boris in his implementation of housing standards for publicly funded housing in the capital, I have said so elsewhere in this blog.  I think his initiative to employ MAE to write the London Housing Design Guide was a wonderful thing and for this alone he has my admiration.  It needs to be made mandatory for private housing too of course to be of any real use but that was a good first step.

However, and with a heavy heart I have to say that his obvious support for the planning policies of the LBHF are not something to be welcomed and I fear for the residents of the council estates in that borough even more than before.  The dreadful schemes that have been forced through there already, against considerable opposition are bad enough, but the King Street scheme that he advised LBHF to withdraw last year in view of the local opposition to it, will now undoubtedly be back on the table, now that he has been elected Mayor.

I was never entirely in favour of Ken, I don’t like the price London has paid in tall buildings in his attempt to get S106 money from the developers for housing in East London.

The Shard is an abomination in my view because it can be seen from everywhere and diminishes St Pauls in scale – but I have known and loved London since the early 1970s and Ken’s instincts have by and large worked in favour of the majority of Londoners, regardless of income or social status, and I’m sorry that while his voice will still be heard, that he will not have the power to put those ideas into practice again.

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