Our last LDN issue of the year, and our 249th, provides you with a brief set of 12 headlines from the week just gone, followed by our look back at 2022 and a glance at 2023 – all in sets of 12.
We hope you enjoy and let us know if you agree with our summary!
Best wishes for the season and for 2023, from Emily, Jenna, Peter, Rahul, Robert, Stef and the rest of the LCA team 🎄🎅
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- Sadiq Khan has been confirmed as Labour’s Mayoral candidate for the 2024 election and will now seek a historic third term as Mayor of London in an election system that returns to first past the post. No news yet regarding the other parties’ candidates.
- The first draft of City Hall’s budget for 2023/24 has the Mayor’s portion of council tax for Band D council tax bills increasing by 7% (almost £30).
- Sadiq Khan has also complained that the capital is receiving £76 per person of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, compared to the England average of £384 per person.
- The Metropolitan Police is conducting a criminal investigation into possible voting irregularities and a suspected plot to influence Tower Hamlets Council’s referendum on the Spitalfields neighbourhood plan, which took place in November last year.
- Lambeth Council has approved LCA clients Stanhope and Guy’s and St Thomas Foundation’s Royal Street development, a major new life sciences hub opposite St Thomas’s Hospital. The scheme will include around 112,000 sq m of MedTech, lab, start-up, and SME spaces, including 9,000 sq m of affordable workspace plus 130 homes and a series of new public spaces.
- Brent Council has approved Sheen Lane’s proposals to demolish Symal House on Edgware Road and develop 252 homes (20% affordable) across three buildings, from three to 20-storeys tall.
- Pharma giant GSK has announced that it is moving its global headquarters to New Oxford Street in 2024 after two decades in Brentford. The future of its massive building on the Great West Road will be something to watch in these days of “refurbish don’t replace”.
- Chelsea F.C. has made a £50m offer to acquire a neighbouring 1.2 acre plot of land from housing association Stoll to help unlock the club’s Stamford Bridge redevelopment plans.
- Following a call by the National Fire Chiefs Council to make two staircases mandatory in all residential buildings taller than 18 metres, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has confirmed that it will “shortly” launch a consultation on “building regulations fire-safety guidance”.
- The English Housing Survey for 2021 to 2022 confirms that home ownership rates are lower in London (49%) than in the rest of England (67%), while over a quarter of households (29%) in the capital were renting privately (compared to 17% in the rest of England).
- Sarah Ireland has been named as Interim Chief Executive of Kingston Council. Ireland is currently the borough’s Executive Director for Corporate and Communities and will take up the role in February as Ian Thomas moves to the City of London Corporation.
- Kim Smith has retired from her role as Chief Executive at Hammersmith & Fulham Council. Sharon Lea, already the council’s Interim Chief Executive, is continuing in the role until a permanent replacement is named.
LDN's People of 2022
January - Barry Quirk, London’s longest serving borough CEO with 29 years combined at Lewisham Council and Kensington & Chelsea Council, announces he is to retire later in the year.
February - Cressida Dick resigns from her position as Metropolitan Police Commissioner, a moment which has come back to haunt Sadiq Khan again and again in the months since.
March - Hounslow Council’s long standing Labour leader Cllr Steve Curran announces that he will not be standing for re-election.
April – Former Communities Secretary Eric Pickles delivers a masterclass in how not to appear before a public inquiry while giving evidence to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. In happier news, Fiona Fletcher Smith of L&Q becomes chair of London’s brilliant think tank, Centre for London.
May – On a day when the Tories win Harrow and Croydon from Labour and Labour win Wandsworth and Barnet from the Tories, Labour also took iconic Westminster and Paul Dimoldenberg, after 34 years in opposition, becomes “the most patient politician in British history”. Separately, the Elizabeth Line finally opens to the public.
June – The Queen celebrates the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne.
July – Chloe Kelly scores the winner at Wembley as England win the Euros. Also, a certain Boris Johnson says he will step down as PM (after a concerted push by his own ministers).
August – Dave Hill’s book, Olympic Park: When Britain Built Something Big is published, marking the 10th anniversary of the London 2012 Games.
September – Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II passes away, aged 96, after the longest reign of a British monarch. Separately, then-PM Liz Truss’ mini-Budget tanks the economy and she resigns soon after (unrepentant).
October – TfL’s Transport Commissioner Andy Byford steps down. In national politics, Rishi Sunak becomes PM.
November – Nicky Gavron delivers this speech at New London Architecture’s annual awards inspiring everyone after 40 years of tireless campaigning as a councillor, then as Deputy Mayor and Assembly Member.
December – Mick “the Grinch” Lynch, brings London and the UK to its knees alongside other transport union leaders. At any rate, that’s the PM’s take, in a comment for Sun on Sunday.
2022 in 12 catchphrases (some of which we don't want to hear ever again)
- Anti-growth coalition
- Cartel of volume housebuilders
- Cost-of-living crisis
- Deliver, deliver, deliver
- Double digit inflation
- Forty “new” hospitals
- Hasta la Vista, baby
- Levelling up
- Stalinist housing targets
- Seneca’s plough
- Special measures
- Winter of Discontent
In 2022, apart from Her Majesty The Queen, we said goodbye to some people who made a real difference to London and the built environment:
Lynda Baron – actress whose most popular roles included Linda Clarke in EastEnders
Mark Baynes – founder of the East End Enquirer
Christopher Borkowski – developer and both client and friend of LCA’s
Roddy Caxton Spencer – Chairman of the LCCI
Steve Douglas CBE – CEO of St Mungo’s Charity
Marcus Fairs – founder of iconic architecture and design magazine Dezeen
Marco Goldschmied – founding partner of the Richard Rogers Partnership and former RIBA president
Neil Mitchenall – retail agency giant
Phillipa Roe (Baroness Couttie)– former leader of Westminster City Council
Richard Rogers (Lord Rogers of Riverside) – founder of Richard Rogers Partnership
Julian Vickery – developer and co-founder of Co-re
Sam Webb – architect and tower block safety campaigner
We have also said goodbye to:
Aedas London and Aedas Interiors London – the local branches of major international architecture and design practice Aedas, which entered liquidation this year.
Archant, local paper publishers – bought out by competitors Newsquest (we worry about the continual reduction in local reporting).
City Hall – which is to say the old HQ of the Greater London Authority next to Tower Bridge, vacated in favour of the less expensive Crystal, in the Royal Docks.
The D’Hondt method - used for the GLA elections from 2000-2021, but sadly no more.
Fenwick’s Bond Street department store - deemed unviable by its owners, closed and put up for sale after more than 130 years.
Housing targets – the Government has accepted rebel amendments to the LURB, that will effectively scrap centrally-mandated housing delivery targets for local authorities, making them “advisory” instead.
Investment Zones – a key part of Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s abortive Growth Plan, which survives in name only.
The name London First - 30 years after its launch, the name didn’t feel very ‘Levelling Up’ friendly, so it’s now known as BusinessLDN.
The Marble Arch Mound – majorly over-budget and much-reviled temporary visitor attraction that may have played a part in toppling Westminster’s Conservative administration.
Oxford Street’s pedestrianisation (again) – Westminster’s new Labour administration defenestrated their predecessor’s plans to pedestrianise parts of Oxford Street.
Printed copies of the iconic Time Out - first published on two sides of A4 in 1967 and now an all-online title.
VAT-free shopping for foreign visitors – taken away in 2021, briefly brought back in the Growth Plan and then scrapped again by Jeremy Hunt.
12 people to watch in 2023:
Jeremy Corbyn MP – assuming he isn’t accepted back into the Labour Party fold, will he stand in his Islington seat as an Independent or might he throw his hat into the Mayoral ring for 2024 against Khan?
Pippa Crerar – the Guardian’s political editor and Journalist of the Year at the British Journalism Awards last week. She broke “party-gate” when at the Mirror. What will she break in 2023?
Cllr Georgia Gould – Leader of Camden and London Councils, highly regarded by Keir Starmer and the Labour party. Will national politics come a-calling soon?
The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP – the great political survivor, as he attempts to deliver LURB and who knows what else?
Colette O’Shea – currently COO at Landsec, she steps down in March 2023 after 20 years with the company. Where to now?
Caroline Pidgeon AM – one of the best Assembly Members London has seen steps down in 2024 to do… what?
Mayor Lutfur Rahman – whose return to power as Mayor of Tower Hamlets has not been challenged. Will this be his chance at an unblemished term?
Sir Mark Rowley – the new Met Police Commissioner, who has A LOT on his hands.
Ian Thomas – the new Town Clerk at the City of London Corporation, moving from Kingston and replacing John Barradell.
Kwajo Tweneboa – housing activist and social media influencer who has become a prominent voice for social housing tenants.
Dr Valerie Vaughan Dick and Muyiwa Oki – the new CEO and President respectively at RIBA, an organisation which simply has to change.
Rachael Venables and Josiah Mortimer – two up and coming London journalists for LBC and MyLondon respectively. Mortimer is now moving on and up.
12 things to watch in 2023:
Development progress on major schemes, including Brent Cross, Canada Water, Museum of London and National Gallery.
The future of the English National Opera. Is this levelling up the rest of England… or levelling down London?
Legislative progress on the LURB and the Markets Bill to move Billingsgate and Smithfield to Barking, as well as a Renters Reform Bill and further legislation for leasehold reform.
The new London Centre for the Built Environment, which the NLA will open in the spring in the West Wing of the Guildhall in the City of London after two years on the move.
The London Fire Brigade as it deals with special measures.
Mayoral Development Corporations as the LLDC starts its sunset phase, aiming to return planning functions to boroughs by end-2024, and OPDC looks to finally kickstart major projects.
The Met Police which faces further reform and the small matter of a decision on whether to prosecute anyone over Grenfell
Opportunity London, the campaign to promote investment into London, which has never been more important.
Planning inquiry decisions on Marks & Spencer’s Marble Arch redevelopment scheme and CO-RE/Mitsubishi Estate’s plans to redevelop ITV’s former HQ on the South Bank.
Planning progress on major, transformational schemes like All England Lawn Tennis Club, Earl’s Court, Liverpool Street station, the MSG’s Sphere and Stamford Bridge (to name but five).
TfL’s property company, TTL Properties. Will it start to motor this year, or continue to struggle with planning and funding?
ULEZ. Will the roll out of its further expansion in August (and the political impact this will have) be seismic… or not? The Tories certainly hope so.
PS, this time next year should/could/might see us one year out from a General Election, we’ll be watching those voting intention polls closely….
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