LONDON SHRUGS, CARRIES ON
The defection of eight Labour MPs and three Tories to a new Independent Group has sent tremors through an already unsteady House of Commons. But beyond the Palace of Westminster, it’s business as usual.
The stories in this week’s edition of LDN offer reassurance that, Brexit-be-damned, the women and men that keep our great city on the move are soldiering on.
Read on for news from Transport for London (TfL) and City Hall, major property developments in no less than four boroughs, people moves across key sectors, as well as the latest from the capital’s arts and culture sector.
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CLEARING THE AIR (AND SAFEGUARDING CYCLISTS)
Sadiq is charging ahead with efforts to improve London’s air quality and enhance safety on the capital’s roads. On 14 February, the Mayor hosted a National Clean Air Summit at the Tate Modern, alongside the UK100 network of local government leaders and Unicef UK. Attendees included 14 mayors and council leaders, as well as Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Sadiq and others called on the ministers to back the establishment of a government-funded ‘vehicle upgrade fund’ to get polluting vehicles off the roads. The Mayor also announced the doubling of his scrappage scheme last week, allocating a further £25m to help small businesses and low-income Londoners replace older vehicles with less-polluting options. The GLA Conservatives assert that this funding boost is a direct response to their vocal concerns that Sadiq’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) will disproportionately impact poor households and struggling SMEs. Specific details about accessing the scheme are set to be announced ‘later this year’, even as the ULEZ launch date of 8 April looms. Finally, Sadiq has also announced that new heavy goods vehicle (HGV) Safety Permits are set to be issued from October, as the first step in setting a Direct Vision Standard to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
CROSSRAIL (AND OTHER RAILS)
Meanwhile, the Evening Standard has acquired correspondence between Crossrail Ltd and TfL relating to the drafting of press releases on the cancellation of its original December 2018 opening date. The Standard points out that these are dated 17 August, 12 days before Sadiq Khan and TfL Commissioner Mike Brown have said they were informed that the delay was unavoidable. The second episode of a BBC series on Crossrail, ‘The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway’ will be broadcast tonight, at 21:00. Separately, TfL has announced that a £220m, four-year contract has been awarded to Balfour Beatty, covering all aspects of tube track renewals. The contract will start in April 2019 and last for four years, with an option to extend it for up to a further six years. Finally, the transport authority has also released its somewhat depressing findings on the ultimate cost of the derailed Garden Bridge project – for more on this, see our relevant story in the Caught Our Eye section below.
THE HDV DIDN'T KILL THE PPP
The cancellation of the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) and collapse of Carillion set alarm bells ringing last year. Nevertheless, partnerships between the public, private and housing association sectors remain at the forefront of delivering regeneration and large-scale housebuilding in London. Over the past week alone:
- Developer Lendlease was selected by housing association Peabody as its Preferred Bidder for the £8bn Thamesmead Waterfront regeneration project, which straddles the Greenwich-Bexley boundary. The joint venture aims, over the next 30 years, to deliver 11,500 new homes, a new DLR station as well as 1m sq ft of commercial, community and leisure space.
- Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s Planning and Development Control Committee approved plans by housing association A2Dominion for the redevelopment of the borough’s old Town Hall and the revitalisation of King Street’s western end. The scheme seeks to provide 204 homes (53% affordable, split 63% London Affordable Rent and 33% Shared Ownership), a new cinema and civic centre, retail and office space, as well as various other public amenities.
- Galliford Try Partnerships signed a development agreement with Ealing Council for a £275m mixed-use scheme, which should deliver 470 new homes (50% affordable, more of half of which will be offered for social rent and London Living Rent), retail space and various community facilities, as well as new council offices replacing the current offices at Perceval House on the Uxbridge Road.
BERRY TO THE FORE (AND BAILEY'S BACK)
Green Party co-leader, London Assembly member, and Camden councillor Sian Berry has once again been selected as the party’s mayoral candidate for 2020. Berry placed fourth in the 2008 race, obtaining 3.2% of first preferences and 16.55% of second preference votes. In 2016, she came third, receiving 5.8% and 21% respectively. Looking forward to the 2020 election, Berry has put housing at the forefront of her campaign, proposing the establishment of a ‘People’s Land Bank’ to support community-led efforts to redevelop unused land and empty buildings. 11 Assembly candidates for the Greens have also been revealed – it is understood these are the party’s list candidates, with Berry placed first and fellow AM Caroline Russell placed second. It is unclear whether the Greens will also be putting forward constituency candidates. According to the party’s official Twitter account, the candidate selection process’ turnout was a distinctly low 9.8%. Meanwhile, Conservative mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey is back on the campaign trail – and over the past few days has featured in several local newspapers. Bailey is quizzed on a wide range of topics, from his controversial comments on multiculturalism and single mothers, to issues that are certain to play a significant role in the mayoral race, such as policing, homelessness and housing.
- London Councils has appointed Councillor Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council, as its Deputy Chair and Councillor Jas Athwal, Leader of Redbridge Council, as its Executive Member for Crime and Public Protection. They succeed Lambeth’s former Leader Lib Peck in these roles, following her appointment as the Director of the Mayor’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU).
- Debbie Jackson has been appointed as the GLA’s new Interim Executive Director for Development, Enterprise and Environment, following the recent departure of Lucy Owens from City Hall. Jackson was previously Assistant Director of Regeneration and is a Board Member of the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone Programme Board.
- The Westminster Property Association has appointed Grosvenor Britain & Ireland CEO Craig McWilliam as its new Chair. McWilliam is also an Honorary Fellow of RICS, a Trustee of LandAid and a Director of London First.
- Martyn Evans is to return to U+I to take up his former role as Creative Director, following a three-year absence. Earlier this year, Evans was also appointed as Non-Executive Chair of Brick by Brick, Croydon Council’s wholly-owned development company. He will remain in this role and is also Deputy Chair of the London Festival of Architecture, as well as Founder and Patron of the Young Architects and Developers Alliance (YADA).
- The City of London Corporation has appointed financial data firm Refinitiv’s global head of government relations Nick Collier as managing director of its Brussels office.
- The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, led by controversial philosopher Roger Scruton, has appointed four new commissioners: Property consultant Gail Mayhew; Chair and a trustee of the Town and Country Planning Association Mary Parsons; founding director of Create Streets Nicholas Boys Smith; and landscape architect and environmental planner Kim Wilkie. The commission has also announced a list of specialist advisors to assist its work.
- Japanese architect Junya Ishigami has been selected to design this year’s Serpentine Pavilion.
- Of the 11 members of the new Parliamentary Independent Group, three represent London constituencies: These are former Labour MPs Mike Gapes (Ilford South), Joan Ryan (Enfield North) and Chuka Umunna (Streatham). The rest are former Labour MPs Luciana Berger (Liverpool, Wavertree), Ann Coffey (Stockport), Chris Leslie (Nottingham East), Gavin Shuker (Luton South), and Angela Smith (Penistone and Stocksbridge); and former Conservative MPs Heidi Allen (South Cambridgeshire), Anna Soubry (Broxtowe), and Dr Sarah Wollaston (Totnes).
Much of London’s cultural landscape is subsidised by philanthropic giving and the pros and cons have both been in the spotlight this week. Hans and Julia Rausing, heirs of the Tetra Pak food packaging and processing empire, have donated £10m to the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) - the largest donation it has received in its 250-year history. The Rausings’ gift, which closely follows a £4m donation to the National Gallery, will support the creation of an expanded campus for the RA’s, famously free postgraduate art school. Meanwhile, a planned £1m donation by the Sackler Trust to the National Portrait Gallery, originally pledged in 2016, continues to generate controversy. Last week, photographer Nan Golding threatened to block an exhibition of her work by the Gallery if it accepts the funds. The Trust has made multiple gifts to many of London’s most famous cultural institutions, but Golding and others are protesting the association of the Sackler family’s pharmaceutical interests with the US’ ongoing ‘opioid crisis’.
THE GHOST OF GARDEN BRIDGE PAST
On the subject of philanthropic gifts that have come to nought, it appears some £10m of the costs incurred by the abortive Garden Bridge were from donations too. According to documents released by TfL last week, the cancelled project will ultimately cost over £53m in total. Aside from the £10m in donations, the remaining £43m is taxpayers’ money (£24m from TfL’s and £19m from the Department for Transport). The plans for the tree and plant-lined footbridge linking Temple with the South Bank were supported by then-Mayor Boris Johnson and then-Chancellor George Osborne. The scheme also secured planning permission from Westminster and Lambeth councils in 2014. However, Sadiq commissioned Dame Margaret Hodge to carry out a review of the project after he succeeded Boris in 2016. Hodge found that its costs were ‘spiralling out of control’ and recommended that the project be scrapped. Sadiq subsequently withdrew his support for the scheme, which was officially cancelled in August 2017. TfL are still set to pay the Garden Bridge Trust a final £5.5m in public money to wind up the project, as per Charity Commission requirements. London Assembly Labour Member Tom Copley – who is leading an ongoing investigation into the role of TfL in the ill-fated project – has called the revelations ‘galling’.
OLD OAK ROUND II
The battle between LCA client Cargiant and the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) continued to rumble on last week as Liz Peace, Chair of the OPDC, and Tony Mendes, Cargiant’s MD, sparred through the pages of Estates Gazette and other media. The Government is meanwhile continuing to review the Corporation’s bid for £250m of Housing Infrastructure Funding (HIF) money more than five months after the bid was submitted and despite announcing on 14 February that other bids totalling £250m of funding had been given the green light to unlock nearly 25,000 homes. LCA would like also to make clear that the GLA’s additional funding of the OPDC, required whilst the HIF bid decision is being considered, is ‘contingency’ funding and not ‘emergency’ funding as stated in last week’s LDN story (see relevant Mayoral decision here).
HB REAVIS EARNS SHORTLIST FOR TWO PROPERTY WEEK AWARDS
LCA is delighted that client HB Reavis has received two well-deserved awards nominations. The firm is shortlisted for Property Company of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year at this year’s Property Week awards, which will be held on 24 April. LCA led on HB Reavis’ award entries, as part of our brief supporting its UK communications activities. Congratulations to HB Reavis – whose shortlisting is testament to the fantastic growth of its UK operations in the five years since it launched – and all of LCA’s other clients who have secured a nomination!
BRITISH LIBRARY EXTENSION
The British Library has signed a development agreement with a consortium comprising LCA client Stanhope plc and Mitsui Fudosan UK Ltd, to deliver a 100,000 sq ft extension on its current site in Camden. The scheme will create new ‘learning, business and exhibition’ space to help accommodate the 1.5m people visiting the library every year, as well as a new HQ for the Alan Turing Institute and additional commercial space.
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LDN is put together by a dedicated team at London Communications Agency. The content for each edition is developed from news drawn from the last week from every London local paper as well as the regional and national press, from intelligence gathered by monitoring local, regional and national government activity and from the insight and expert knowledge of the entire LCA team.
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