Building Design On City Of London’s Planning Mistakes & Lack Of Vision

Earlier this week Building Design ran a piece based on an Open Letter To The City of London (6 April 2021) written by the chairs of the Barbican Association (Adam Hogg) and Golden Lane Estate Residents’ Association (Tim Godsmark). It is worth reading the original letter since Building Design focuses on the results of the City’s disjointed and wasteful approach to ‘development’, rather than the underlying causes which lie in poor governance and an urgent need for the democratic reform of the last rotten borough in the UK.

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City Corporation ‘trying to squeeze every penny out of residents’

We’ve been aware of an ongoing thread about court judgements on repair costs for leaseholders in Great Arthur House on Barbican Talk for some time. The following piece published today in the Islington Tribune outlines the story in fewer words while catching local feeling very well. What the Tribune doesn’t note is that the repair work was awarded to a firm headed by City councillor James Thomson and that as we posted back in 2018 there was a lot of anger about this since it was by a huge margin the most expensive tender and the resultant work – with a number of listed features in the Grade II building wantonly and unnecessarily destroyed – was unacceptable poor. There are a number of other potential conflict of interest questions still unanswered by Thomson and – as we’ve also noted – his role as head of the City of London Police Authority serves to undermine public confidence in it.

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TechDirt On The City Of London Police

We’ve been pointing out for some time that the current system of oversight for the City of London Police does not inspire public confidence and that it would be more efficient to merge this force with the Metropolitan Police. The Police Authority Board for the City force lacks any democratic credibility and there are conflict of interest questions its head James Thompson should still answer. With some politicians wanting to make crime a major campaign issue in this May’s London mayoral elections, the existence of two police forces where having only one would be a far more efficient use of resources is something those seeking to milk the issue of wrongdoing for votes should address. In the meantime, the Intellectual Property Crime Unit at the City of London Police seems intent on creating a series of ongoing public relations disasters, as is evident from several years of coverage of their net, tech and legal illiteracy by Techdirt, culminating in this…

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Standards Committee Abolished But Aldermen Fail to Scrap Office They Hold

The role of Lord Mayor is principally to be an ambassador for the financial City. But this doesn’t require any knowledge of finance. The role of Lord Mayor actually consists of turning up on time to several meetings a day, reading speeches written by other people, and being amiable – especially to gangsters who rule countries like China, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia. After doing this for a year, a Lord Mayor is usually rewarded with a knighthood (the same honour awarded to the inventor of the world wide web and others who have done something notable). The traditional justification for having aldermen is to form a pool of talent from which a suitable person can be elected as Lord Mayor every year. But since the only talent required is to be punctual, read speeches and be amiable, most of the 100 councillors could do the job. So if it’s still thought necessary to retain a Lord Mayor (and to retain the City Corporation, although neither proposition is supported by logic), the councillors could elect one of their own number.

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Robert Aske & The Memorialisation Of City Of London Grandees Connected To The Slave Trade

While name changes for the Aske schools is something we wish to see happen, this and the renaming of places like Aske Gardens in Hackney, should only be a small part of a much broader process. The activities and ‘treasures’ of all City of London livery companies need to be thoroughly investigated and their charitable status properly scrutinised, as should be clear from our last post. The Aske schools aren’t the only ones the Haberdashers’ have a hand in and the ideological orientation of the education offered in institutions controlled by various livery companies and the City of London council is deeply problematic. A lot more than symbols need to be addressed to create an equitable world.

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City of London Livery Halls & The Ongoing Celebration of Slavers & Colonialists

In our posts on the City of London and the Slave Trade we’ve had reason to mention memorials to slavers in a number of livery halls. Livery companies were originally medieval trade guilds but they have more recently transformed themselves into ‘gentlemen’s clubs’ that pose as charities while simultaneously occupying a problematic role in local government in the City of London. We haven’t done a thorough investigation of the 40 odd livery halls dotted around the City but here we mention some problematic items we have come across that we didn’t cover in our earlier posts. Much work remains to be done on exposing everything that’s rotten about the livery companies but it is clear that for at least as long as they have a role in the local government in the City of London, they should be stripped of their charitable status. However, their political role is by no means the only issue we and others have with livery companies being accorded charitable status.

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Petition To Reform Planning Process In The City Of London

We, the undersigned: declare that we have no confidence in the City of London Corporation’s current planning process and petition the Court of Common Council to: 1. reject a proposal that planning applications be decided by panels of the Planning and Transportation Committee instead of by the whole Committee to avoid eroding democratic accountability; 2. prevent those councillors who are members of committees responsible for the Corporation’s extensive property interests from also being members of the Planning and Transportation Committee, to avoid conflicts of interest; and 3. prevent those councillors who have professional associations within the property development industry from also being members of the Planning and Transportation Committee, to avoid a perception of bias.

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If The Guildhall Was Repurposed As A Slavery Museum There Would Be No Need To Remove Its William Beckford Statue

There is an obvious solution to the City of London council’s reluctance to remove the statue of slave owner William Beckford from its Guildhall HQ, which is a listed building. Viz to transform the Guildhall into a museum dedicated to exposing the horrors of slavery and colonialism. Our own view is that the City of London as the last rotten borough should be abolished, although if this local authority continues in some form the council offices could be moved to the soon to be vacated Museum of London site in Aldersgate. We’ve previously suggested that site could eventually become a slavery museum but using the Guildhall for this purpose would actually seem preferable – with the Beckford statue and the actual location of the 1783 Zong court case over insurance payments for massacred slaves – at the very heart of its historical record of the evils of colonialism.

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City Of London Scrap Centre For Music Vanity Project

Various media outlets are reporting the City of London has scrapped the jewel in its absurd Culture Mile project, the Centre For Music. Since CoL always wants to sound upbeat this piece of good news was buried in a press release headlined City of London Corporation Puts Culture At The Heart Of Recovery issued yesterday (18 February 2021). As we’ve made clear the City’s culture recovery propaganda is absurd and it was never smart to spend the £12m+ squandered to date on the Centre For Music plans because they were always a bad idea. We’d like to see the building currently on what was the proposed Centre for Music site retained and repurposed as a museum dedicated to the horrors of colonialism and slavery since it is located in what was the very heart of the barbarous British empire. The hundreds of millions of pounds no longer being budgeted towards the Centre for Music could best be used for building social housing within City boundaries.

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Culture & Commerce Taskforce Seeks To Fuel Inequality & Add To The Climate Crisis

While the City of London council claims to have set have up its Culture & Commerce Taskforce to address the impact of Covid 19 on cultural activities, even a fast flick through its Fuelling Cultural Renewal report reveals that if implemented its proposals will have a negative impact on the arts and further boost the inequalities the Square Mile has long perpetrated, while at the same time adding to the destruction of our marvellous green planet the earth. The report makes it clear that the City of London council has learned absolutely nothing from the Covid pandemic and the climate emergency and is incapable of thinking outside the box of relentless and destructive economic growth.

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