Ongoing Exasperation With The City of London Council

Local residents’ anger with the City of London council is very evident in the latest issue of the fortnightly free sheet City Matters, a publication which also provides the head of this local authority with a regular column. It’s non-council columnists are usually anodyne but not in this issue! Billy Mann socks it to the City of London Corporation with the following words: “If anything can take the shine off neighbourly bliss it is the clumsiness of the council. A number of residents met recently with housing chief Paul Murtagh, who arrived in a foul mood…”

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City Should Use The Museum of London Site To Build Social Housing

Two weeks ago the government published its first ever housing delivery test – which assesses how many homes have been built by every local authority over the past three years as a percentage of the number required. More than 100 town halls fell short of the 95% pass rate, while those with the biggest delivery gaps could face having some planning powers removed next year unless they step up supply. Seven councils are currently missing the 45% threshold which would trigger that scenario, including two London boroughs and the City of London Corporation…

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City Of London Puts Itself First & Residents Last!

City of London councillors have criticised the Corporation for refurbishing the Mansion House while allowing tenants in social housing to suffer “freezing winters” in flats that they claim have fallen into disrepair. The official residence of the Lord Mayor is also used for hundreds of events each year including the annual Mansion House dinner. £1.45m has been earmarked for an external revamp that is due to be completed by 2020. At a meeting of the court of common council last week, Labour councillor William Pimlott said tenants were enduring “freezing winter months in cold flats” in Crescent House at Golden Lane, a 1950s housing estate in the ward of Cripplegate, which is to due to undergo repairs in 2021.

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Where Do Zupagrafika Stand On Brutal Capitalism Destroying London Communities?

With Balfron Tower’s working class community decanted to be replaced by rich ghost home investors, and similar things happening at other sites celebrated by Zupagrafika, just where do this design studio stand on such matters? Brutal London can all too easily be perceived as artwashing of this process. Zupagrafika donating a percentage of the profits from the project to campaigns fighting against the displacement of the working class communities connected to these buildings would do a lot to stop Brutal London being seen by all sides in this battle as an uncritical celebration of gentrification and social cleansing.

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Culture Mile: A Cynical Exercise in Marginalisation & Social Exclusion

Before I sat down to write this piece, I came across a photograph on social media posted yesterday and captioned: “Back of Liverpool Street Station – the sterile hell of a corporate winter wonderland.” The area shown in this smartphone snap is in the City of London and what was said about it really chimed with my feelings over not just the Culture Mile but also most City Public Realm projects in recent years. The council’s Department of the Built Environment is clearly in need of reform just as much as the political body that controls it. We really do need to take back the city.

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Culture Mile: A Nightmare On Beech Street

If the City of London wishes to become a ‘world-class’ cultural destination then clearly it needs to dump its current arts policies that relentlessly pursue the middle-brow, apparently with the aim of facilitating corporate junkets. More of a gritty urban vibe is required, alongside cultural institutions that actively do away with the Puritanism that has characterised the City establishment for hundreds of years. The last thing needed is a privately educated knob like “Sir’ Simon Rattle promoting light orchestral garbage in a specially built and extortionately expensive ‘Centre for Music’ AKA a concert hall. The best way to vibe up the neighbourhood is the provision of a great deal more social housing, so that there is an even bigger working class population. Not that it isn’t substantial already on both the Golden Lane Estate within the City of London, and in the extensive Peabody Trust social housing that lies just over the borough boundary with Islington.

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From Grenfell Tower to Gerrymander Mansions

Peter Deakins has just seen one project he oversaw that was designed to produce superior social housing destroyed with many lives lost by a cost-cutting refurbishment at Grenfell Tower; and he’ll soon see another in the form of the Golden Lane Estate damaged if Taylor Wimpey’s over-scaled development on the site of Bernard Morgan House goes ahead. Some flats on the Golden Lane Estate will lose as much as 70% of the light coming into them if Taylor Wimpey’s Gerrrymander Mansions is built.

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