Robert Holden reports.
The two leading candidates, Sadiq Khan, Labour, and Zac Goldsmith, Conservative failed to attend this evening of consensus. They sent reps., Andrew Boff for Goldsmith, and Val Shawcross for Sadiq Khan. Evening Standard journalist, Rosamund Urwin, replaced Simon Jenkins as chair. But 400 people filled the RIBA’s Jarvis Hall on 16 February.
The evening explored three themes: growth, housing, and infrastructure (including green infrastructure). Nobody wants to develop the Green Belt, everyone was against uncontrolled and empty skyscapers for offshore investors, were for more public transport, more homes and building industry apprenticeships to construct them.
So differences took some finding. Peter Whittle of UKIP proposed demand side controls of a growing London, meaning immigration controls (with shades of a command economy?). Caroline Pidgeon (Lib Dems) argued for skyline planning (London has only a narrow viewlines policy) and Val Shawcross relayed the SUDS message on river flooding (but not total catchment area management). Andrew Boff proposed New Towns outside London’s Green Belt, and regional planning. There was no real answer to the long-term future of the Thames Barrier (a guard against tidal surge).
Siân Berry (Greens) identified low density housing and excessive parking provision as a problem; she reported the Greens have a costed plan to build 50,000 homes annually. Keep the Olympic precept, property taxes, and give Highways England road tax monies to Transport for London. Both Andrew Boff and Peter Whittle were for localism (if outer Londoners want to build low density let them do so). Andrew Boff argued for regional planning. Nearly everyone wanted Crossrail 2 (except Peter Whittle).
Peter Whittle, Caroline Pidgeon, and Siân Berry condemned the garden bridge.
The CIOB, Landscape Institute London, New London Architecture, Planning Futures, RICS, RIBA London, RTPI London, and the Urban Design Group organized this (50 seats each). So congratulations Jan Anderson, Chair of LI London for initiating it last August. More joint events are planned in future. But why did only one landscape architect ask a question?
RIBA’s youtube video is on http://www.videoproductionsltd.com/hustings/riba-hustings2016-1280-high.mp4