One year on from the Mayoral elections in May 2008, which saw Boris Johnson take over the helm from Ken Livingstone, NLA’s second annual Planning in London conference, in association with Planning in London magazine, was a timely opportunity to reflect on what that Mayor has achieved so far and what his ambitions are for the future.
Sir Simon Milton, Deputy Mayor for Policy and Planning, started-off the conference with a look at the new draft proposals for the new London Plan, published in April this year. The new plan is based around a strong spatial vision for the capital, with the creation of neighbourhoods at its heart and only half the number of policies as the existing plan. Sir Simon set out the Mayor’s visions for a green vehicle hydrogen station network, a new Thames crossing and a green grid in inner London.
Other high profile speakers included Peter Bishop, Director of Design, Development and Environment at the LDA, Liz Peace, Chief Executive of the BPF, William McKee, Chair of the Outer London Commission, and Terry Morgan, Chairman of Crossrail, who discussed the progress of the Olympic Park (currently running ahead of schedule!), whether London’s property and planning community is ready for the challenges ahead, the future of London’s airport provision and the ongoing transport investment into the capital, including delivery of Crossrail.
Paul Finch, Editor Emeritus of the Architectural Review and the Architect’s Journal, rounded off the morning with an observation on what makes a successful city – density, convenience, resilience and balance, qualities that London holds in abundance. Despite the current financial problems, there are certainly reasons to be optimistic about London’s short to medium term prospects – with a Mayor who has shown passion and commitment to pushing through the London Plan, and a world financial centre that has trading and resilience in its very DNA.