This was an unusual meeting as it started with a presentation by Sir Nicholas Kenyon, managing director of the Barbican Centre on the Culture Mile. This is a joint initiative between local arts venues and the City of London. It envisages over a period of perhaps fifteen years, creating a district with an identifiable sense of destination linking to the new Museum of London at Smithfield with the Barbican Centre. The most immediate change is likely to be improvements to the Beech Street tunnel. The audience was almost unanimous in its support for a project which will increase the quality of the public realm as well as signage, mapping and graphic design. There was also a lot of support for the proposed concert hall on the Museum of London site.
I asked the panel a question about the recently published report on housing by former chair of policy Mark Boleat. See the Evening Standard for the details. All of those on the panel distanced themselves from Boleat's report and comments.
Here is a quote from the article:
"In comments that will anger conservation and resident bodies, former City of London Corporation supremo Sir Mark Boleat said current rules “give far too much weight to articulate groups who make a lot of noise” and not enough weight to young “have-nots” who are priced off the housing ladder."
I also asked a question about the recent article by Anna Minton in the Guardian. This had focussed on alleged conflicts of interest by those on planning committee who were also commercial planners or developers. See in particular paragraph four which is quoted here: "The story follows a by-now-familiar plot. In May 2017 planning approval was given to Taylor Wimpey, despite strong opposition from local residents and businesses. During this process it emerged that the chair of the City’s planning and transportation committee, Chris Hayward, is a director of Indigo Planning, whose clients include Taylor Wimpey. Deputy chair James Thomson was formerly deputy chief financial officer and chief operations officer of Cushman and Wakefield, commercial property and real estate consultants, which marketed and sold Bernard Morgan House to Taylor Wimpey. The committee member and former lord mayor of London Sir Michael Bear was appointed chair of the planning consultancy Turley Associates – which also acts for Taylor Wimpey – a few weeks after planning approval was granted."
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