At the very end of the Examination in Public many of us had been looking forward to a discussion on whether the Plan’s economic forecasts and policy proposals still seemed valid in the light of the latest available information, including the coalition’s cuts programme (the “Comprehensive Spending Review” (CSR)). In the end there was no such debate but the following papers were submitted in the final days, even though they could not be debated. Some are from Just Space member groups, others not, but there was some valuable cooperation among the writers.
Drew Stevenson, joint head of the London Plan during the Livingstone period and now a Prof at the University of East London, made three related statements. These emphasise the need to re-work the draft Plan in the light of the current economic situation and the prospects following the public spending cuts. Without such re-thinking it would rightly be seen as unrealistic “…leaving the plan vulnerable to ridicule and/or challenge.” StevensonDecember2
This approach is elaborated through a careful examination of how the public spending cuts would undermine the policies in chapters 1 and 2 of the draft Plan. StevensonDecember1
The third statement explores the effects of the coalition’s proposed changes to Housing Benefits/Allowances. StevensonDecember5
Michael Edwards (UCL), on his own behalf and for the King’s Cross Railway Lands Group, submitted a paper emphasising the worsening inequalities which Londoners would now face and calling for either great strengthening of the Mayor’s policies or the removal of the—now totally unrealistic—aspirational statements about how all Londoners would reap the benefits of the Plan. EdwardsDecember
David Fell, director of Brook Lyndhurst, argued in his submission that caution should require the plan to be tested against a variety of future scenarios, given the highly uncertain economic conditions, global and local, of the present period. He went on to identify the specific environmental poilcies which had been placed in jeopardy by the spending cuts, including Climate Change Mitigation, Urban Greening and many urgent actions related to Waste reduction and disposal. FellDecember
Finally Duncan Bowie, of the University of Westminster, on behalf of the TCPA, submitted a paper with detailed analysis of the likely effects of the new policy and public expnditure situation on the Plan’s housing proposals, policy-by-policy. He looks at new mechanisms and organisations brought in by the coalition as well as at the devastating cuts in funding and at the likelihood of the Plan’s proposals ever being implemented. TCPA-BowieDecember
Meanwhile comments are welcome below…