Brent and Harrow
5 May 2016 Vote for
Sadiq Khan Mayor of London
Navin Shah GLA Brent & Harrow
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What type of London’s Skyline would you like to see?

London in its recent years has seen major changes to its skyline which has generated an important debate. How high should the building be? Are too many, too tall buildings harmful to London’s historic and architectural heritage? Are they blocking strategic views of some fine, old buildings of London?  Whilst there have been various interesting additions to London’s landscape with tall buildings like the Shard; the Gherkin and Walkie-Talkie etc. There’s a controversy about poorly designed and not very well regulated plethora of new buildings built across London. The ‘Skyline Campaign’ recently has taken the lead to highlight these issues and raised concerns about the way tall buildings are developed. And, as a result recommendations have emerged to establish a ‘Skyline Commission’ for a better planned outcome to control and enhance the development of future tall buildings across London.

I am concerned about inappropriate tall buildings being planned across London, including in the suburban areas like Brent and Harrow and therefore joined the ‘Skyline Campaign’. Planning Committee of the London Assembly of which I’m a member has also taken on board scrutiny of tall buildings in London. On conclusion of our work the Planning Committee will make recommendations to the Mayor of London, who is responsible for London’s planning policies.

At the London Assembly, a couple of weeks ago, all political parties unanimously agreed a resolution proposed by me asking the Mayor of London to set up a Skyline Commission for a better approach to tall buildings to preserve and enhance our skyline.

The resolution was NOT against high densities or tall buildings. New high rise buildings in fact, if carefully and sensitively developed, can make a positive contribution and become part of our heritage,   generating a high quality skyline.      

I believe that the current planning process, implementation of policies and approach to tall buildings are flawed and need to be tightened to stop irreparable damage to London’s skyline. The problem is that high density is seen as an automatic license to approve tall buildings of well over 20 storey height. The problem is also that tall residential buildings largely provide luxury and unaffordable accommodation, totally unsuitable to meet London’s housing needs. London requires genuinely affordable housing and requires family homes with gardens which we will not get from tall luxury buildings.

London is facing mind blowing challenges of economic and residential growth with the prospects of unparalleled high rise development. London’s 38 ‘Opportunity Areas’ (new hubs planned for economic and housing growth) with a combined capacity for 300,000 new homes and the Intensification Areas with 8,650 new homes are the type of locations where such tall buildings can and are most likely to emerge. Some of those areas could end up becoming ‘Mini Manhattan’ littered all-over London.  

According to New London Architecture there are over 230 tall buildings in the pipeline. Of these 184 are residential. The cumulative impact of these developments on London’s skyline is not being thoroughly considered. Powerful measures are required to stop the long term and lasting damage from unbridled, ill-considered and ill-conceived development of tall buildings. This is why the recommendation from London Assembly, in line with the recommendation of the Skyline Campaign, was made to the London’s Mayor is to set up a SKYLINE COMMISSION.

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17th November 2014