Respect the individual character of each borough Mr Mayor - says Lord True

Release Date: 10/01/2017

Richmond Council Leader has urged the Mayor of London not to lose the unique character of each London borough in his new London Plan.

In December, the Sadiq Khan carried out a consultation on – ‘A City for All Londoners’, a statement of intent which outlines his ambitions for the city. The document sets out a direction for London – and how he plans to respond to pressures on growth and celebrate diversity.

The draft plan looks at land use, growth, transport, housing, economic development, the environment, policing and crime, culture and health inequalities

Whilst Lord True welcomes aspects of the statement, he feels that if the proposed strategy is applied in a generic London-wide way, it could have disastrous effects on the local, historic character of Richmond upon Thames. In addition, he raises concerns that the plan could lead to prioritisation of housing need over sustainable economic growth.

Lord True Leader of Richmond Council, said:

“A good London Plan should recognise and respect the contributions each borough, and their distinctive neighbourhoods, can play in delivering sustainable growth.

“Mr Khan does not recognise that all areas in London are different. If the Mayor fails to give this due regard, his proposals could risk irreversibly damaging the local character of our historic neighbourhoods.

“I accept that sustainable development is a delicate balancing act between competing interests for land. As Mayor, Mr Khan must avoid prioritising housing at the expense of economic growth. Richmond has already lost 30% of its business floor space since the Government’s damaging Permitted Development Rights permissions were introduced.

“I would also challenge the Mayor to do more to ensure that available land and property owned by the public sector is not automatically converted into residential property without consideration for other uses such as a school or health centre.

“Mr Khan wants to bring in more houses and more people. But he needs to spend more time thinking about how these people will be educated, cared for or travel around. He and the Government need to think more.”

In his letter to Mr Khan, Lord True, added:

“Sustainable growth means that infrastructure should take priority – not as an afterthought. Schools, health services, transportation, leisure facilities and open space are all essential components of a thriving community. Richmond Council will strongly resist pressure to give up a site earmarked for necessary school places to instead provide additional housing.”

Updated: 29 June 2017