MINUTES OF THE WARDMOTE
HELD AT NOON ON TUESDAY 21st MARCH 2023
AT THE DUTCH CHURCH, AUSTIN FRIARS
Apologies: Mr Shahnan Bakth CC
Common Councilmen to address the Wardmote.
Mr Hayward began his address by noting that it was encouraging to see a good turnout of attendees at the Wardmote. He made specific mention of his role in being a member of various committees and boards, especially that of the Policy and Resources Committee, where he would remain as Chairman for a total period of five years should he be re-elected at the next elections in 2026. He noted that the role had at its core the promotion of financial services in the City, both domestically and internationally, where the latter involved being overseas for 50 days a year.
He continued by outlining four main policy initiatives:
- A flagship policy of ‘Destination City’; for the purposes of injecting vibrancy and promoting shopping and tourism to counteract the effect of a reduction to 70% to pre-COVID levels of office staff/footfall and the concentration of office workers coming into the City to largely Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
- Sustainability; through the thought leadership on ‘green issues’ and ‘green finance’, and also through the reduction of ‘Scope 1’ [direct] and ‘Scope 2’ [indirect] Green House Gas emissions down to an effective net zero level, and to ensure that the City of London Corporation has a fully funded Climate Action Strategy.
- Technology; to ensure that 5G mobile phone network is available everywhere, where connectivity was noted to be essential to remaining competitive as a place to do business and to sustain growth.
- Growth Agenda; establishing a task force to produce recommendations to go to all political party conferences in the autumn.
Mr Manchester began his address by noting his current roles at the City of London Corporation. He is a member of both the Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee and the Planning and Transportation Committed.
In relation to the work of the former, he noted a plan for the Museum of London to locate elsewhere in the City, for an annex specifically for Roman artefacts, and that the City would be the new location for the Migration Museum (currently in Lewisham). As regards the latter, he focussed on the renovation of Bank junction which will provide better public space and the narrowing of lanes for taxis and bicycles.
The Alderman then took the opportunity to address the Wardmote, first noting that, subject to election, he will be the next Lord Mayor of the City of London. In this role his Mayoral theme will be ‘Connect to Prosper’, an initiative to bring together thought leaders from the scientific, academic and business worlds to demonstrate how the City’s strengths and leadership can help to solve global challenges. The Alderman wishes to celebrate the “knowledge miles” within the City, using the analogy that it is the “world’s biggest coffee house”.
As part of the initiative, a series of Lord Mayor webinars and scientific experiments will be launched, including contributions by Livery Companies.
The Alderman also spoke of increasing international outreach of the knowledgebase that is within the City, citing an example of knowledge sharing in relation a Patagonian wind farm. Other outreach would also be encouraged via the participation of international companies and banks in the Lord Mayor’s Show.
Following the addresses, the Alderman invited the Wardmote to ask any questions, where he first answered s pre-submitted questions in relation to street lighting in Austin Friars, and incidents of rough sleeping and possible cannabis use in the vicinity of Drapers’ Hall.
The first question from the floor was from Jennifer Tankard of UK Finance Ltd at 1 Angel Court who asked how commercial properties can achieve sustainable targets. Mr Manchester responded that the City of London Corporation promoted construction to the highest standards e.g. BREEAM Excellent, noting that developers are often already adopting such an approach without need for intervention.
The second question was from Dr Farid Fahid of Boston House Dental Clinic at 82 London Wall who noted that health sector occupiers are typically small organisations who have suffered hardship from the global pandemic, and so enquired about continuing financial assistance in the form of business rates relief. Mr Hayward responded agreeing that the situation is unfair, and he will follow up the issue with the City of London Corporation business rates department.
The third question was from Spencer Rhodes of Blackrock at 12 Throgmorton Avenue who enquired about two matters.
The first related to the closing time for parks whether these could be extended to later during the longer daylight hours of summer. Mr Hayward responded that he agreed that closing times should be extended, however a new policy would first need to be determined and taken to the relevant committee, albeit acknowledging that budget limitations would need to be addressed.
The second related to the Destination City initiative where he noted that the immediate environment around key tourist destination need improving and to link in with other local venues. Mr Hayward first responded recognising the need to work in partnership with Tower Hamlets and Transport for London, although acknowledging the challenge of available budget to tackle the issue. Mr Manchester also responded noting that he is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group of ‘London as a Destination City’. He gave examples of partnership working between the Tower of London and the Monument, and also fostering a good relationship with the Friends of St Katherine’s Docks and the Black Orchid Hotel.
There were no further questions from the floor.
With no more business before the Wardmote, Mr Hayward proposed a vote of thanks to the Alderman for presiding at the Wardmote. This was seconded by Mr Manchester and passed unanimously.
Mr Manchester then proposed a vote of thanks to the Dutch Church for the use of their Hall. This was seconded by Mr Richard See of Deutsche Bank and passed unanimously.
Finally, the Beadle closed the Wardmote in the usual manner.