Your members raising your concerns about pedestrianisation in Common Council:
ITEM 11 (ii)
Question to the Chairman of the Planning & Transportation Committee from Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli – Court of Common Council, 19 July 2018
“My Lord Mayor,
There have been a number of notable public realm improvements for pedestrians.
I might point to the recent transformation of Aldgate Square, or the all-but-pedestrianisation and substantial improvement to Austin Friars in the finest ward in the City.
I am conscious that there are more to come, e.g. St Mary Axe & Lime Street, Bishopsgate & Camomile Street, Houndsditch & Jubilee Gardens, Great St Helen’s Link, Creechurch Lane, and Leadenhall Street.
In addition to direct pedestrian area improvements, your predecessor, Michael Welbank, introduced our informal policy of ‘Groundage’, enlarging the public realm by working with developers to increase pedestrian space by trading height for more ground level space.
Do the Chairman and the Committee intend to continue this policy?
My Lord Mayor.”
Response by the Chairman of the Planning & Transportation Committee, Mr Christopher Hayward CC – Court of Common Council, 19 July 2018
“My Lord Mayor,
I thank the Honourable Member for giving me notice of his question which highlights the excellent work undertaken in recent years to improve and enhance the public realm across the City, not least as he rightly points out in the finest ward in the City!
The way in which we govern the City of London’s public realm is through the City of London Local Plan which seeks to maintain and improve the City’s characteristic dense network of streets and alleyways and to deliver significant public realm improvements to streets and open spaces which enhance pedestrian permeability, inclusivity and safety.
Through the Plan we have been able to enhance existing upper level walkways and to encourage roof gardens and viewing galleries. This has led to the creation of new open spaces such as Aldgate Square, new spaces and City walkways at London Wall Place, and new public roof gardens such as at 20 Fenchurch Street and Fen Court. Many more are on the way. Future employment growth and public transport improvements will stimulate further development activity and increased pedestrian flows in the City, improving our public space right now is therefore even more important, not least for public safety.
We are currently reviewing our Local Plan to improve matters by encouraging building designs that include a wider range of public uses at street level and at higher levels such as roof top gardens and cafes. This approach will seek to re-establish historic pedestrian routes, or to create new routes through and around buildings.
New tall buildings which have intensified site occupation significantly will need to be complemented by greater provision for public movement within and near the building. In conjunction with the development of the Local Plan, the City is currently consulting on a number of initiatives to create safer and more pleasant streets and a better connected Square Mile, these include the; Transport Strategy, Eastern Cluster Area Strategy, and the Road Danger Reduction and Active Travel Five Year Plan.
As I say, within the Eastern Cluster Area, that you reference in your question, consultation is underway on a strategy to enhance the streets and spaces within this growing area of the City to enable development, provide capacity for all users of the area, create an exceptional urban environment which is attractive, welcoming and vibrant. The recently reopened One London Wall Place is an example of best practice regarding the creation of a new public space and was recently praised by your Open Spaces and City Gardens Committee, who observed that this was an area which developers should seek to emulate, and I agree with them.
We are also consulting on a Transport Strategy for the City. The proposed vision, aims and outcomes within this Strategy will summarise our aspirations for the Square Mile’s streets and how connections to the City should be improved.
Through the measures outlined, your Planning and Transportation Committee will continue to seek to improve the public realm to create a pleasant, attractive and safer Square Mile.
My Lord Mayor.”