Click above for what became the consented plan, plus Transport page.


The London Assembly today explored "The Future Role of Town Centres"

"Town centres of the future will almost certainly not be like town centres of today. How can London’s declining town centres be revitalised so they stay viable? Can local authorities provide solutions and policies to reshape town centres so they provide the range of services, activities and opportunities Londoners need and want?

"The London Assembly’s Planning Committee is holding its second meeting to explore the future role of town centres in the capital, with a number of policy makers, planning practitioners and an international architect.

"Last month [Planning Committee meeting on 11 December 2012. Watch the webcast or see the agenda papers] the Committee discussed with several specialists – including world-renowned urban planner and architect, Sir Terry Farrell – ideas for London’s town centres and what policies could help make these a reality.

"Ideas discussed included:
  • how to diversify town centres, to increase footfall and activities at different times
  • bringing additional functions back to the high street
  • supporting employment creation through production, as well as consumption, and
  • developing town centres to ensure the local community feel safe and are proud to use them. 
"Committee Members are using this second session to test out these ideas, and will focus on the role of planning policy – at both borough and Mayoral level – in supporting what is proposed.

The following people are attending:
  • Helle Søholt, Founding Partner at Gehl Architects, Copenhagen[2]
  • Mike Kiely, Director of Planning and Building Control, London Borough of Croydon
  • Stephen Kelly, Divisional Director of Planning, London Borough of Harrow
  • Nick Lynch, Planning Policy (LDF) Manager, Planning, Housing and Regeneration, LB Barnet
  • David Harley, Group Manager Economic Development and Regeneration, London Borough of Barking
  • Dr Stephen Norris, planning expert at Strategic Perspectives.

The notes below were published
before this webcast was available,
and have not been checked against it!
Webcasts normally play using Windows Media Player.
Mac OS users: please install "Windows Media® Components for QuickTime".
Archived webcasts of meetings of the London Assembly
and its committees are normally kept for six months.

Some notes
mainly of the introductory session,
and with a few liberties taken,
due to use of long-hand, and bad acoustics

CHAIR (Nicky Gavron)
"What is being done on the ground? What is best practice? What is needed to realize plans we all have - in a period of decline, with HMV, Jessops, Comet, and so on?"

STEVE NORRIS (Strategic Perspectives)
"We have to be about delivering change, working with the private sector and others. We want no more academic strategies, that only offer a Plan A."

"That is right. We in Croydon are into our fourth main era - after medieval, Victorian and the 1960s. We share our vision with all stakeholders. We have lots of redundant and unusable office space, and we want to greatly increase housing in the town centre."

The GLA planning family
"The issue is one of alignment with the development industry - we need a common agenda. Nowadays the old optimism is out of place. We want to work with developers and the GLA Family [right] on our strategic sites [right]."

(He was first into the room, at 3.15pm - GOOD! Then he discovered his chair was slightly faulty, so quickly swapped it with someone else's, before other people arrived - GOOD AS WELL, SINCE THIS MAINTAINS BARNET'S TRADITIONAL TREATMENT OF THE REST OF LONDON.)
"Barnet has twenty town centres. We need to understand how they work, and then protect them and enhance their diversity. Cricklewood ... (mumbled. no, really, but ended with...) B&Q. We are focusing on our larger town centres, creating 'town centre frameworks', working with our stakeholders to enhance them."

"We have set up town teams, to engage with shop-keepers. We have built a technical skills academy, of 650 students and 100 staff, in Barking town centre, as well as housing. The only viable new retail that can add public realm improvements is supermarkets."

DAVID WEST (Architect, Studio Egret West)
Everything revolves around two words: RESPONSIVENESS and EVOLUTION. Today should not just be a negative discussion. Town centres need to evolve, and a looser definition of them is needed.
Clapham Library development
"Don't just visit and copy other solutions, though - like ours at Clapham [shown above]. Everywhere should be 'space-specific'.

ELIZABETH COX (New Economics Foundation)
"We must always align special plans with how local economies work. Find out what we are trying to support, and try for multipliers of that. Diversity is required, not jusr retail. Let us not forget environmental considerations, as well."

(Helle Søholt's presentation will follow later.)

Other random points from rest of session
  • "Old development models are out-of-date, given internet shopping."
  • "Apple Stores entertain people!"
  • "We need to create pride: 'This is my identity here'."
  • " 'Ordinary' floor-space is declining, but 'destination retail' is expanding."
  • "We must face reality, and manage retail decline in many places."
  • "It is hard to identify 'town centres' in 'ribbon development' of shops."
  • "How are we impacted by out-of-town centres?"
  • "We must make change-of-use easier."
  • "We should increase housing density, with agreement of communities, since it increases use of local facilities."
  • BARNET: "Brent Cross is high-density, and most is designed for no children. We will get a transient population with such flats, but we don't want 'islands' of high-density housing [that don't interact with their surrounding areas]."
  • "We are competing with out-of-town free-parking areas [meaning out-of-London, but maybe also YOU-KNOW-WHERE]."
  • "Developers not unexpectedly, have gone for easier 'clean sites', rather than the great complexity of town centre developments."
  • "We need a willingness to use compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) more often,"
  • "There are myths about parking. Empirical evidence shows that increasing parking does not lead to increased foot-fall in town centres."
  • "We need to consider pedestrians and cyclists in town centres, and not just car users."

No comments:

Post a Comment