Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has expressed concern about some of the public open space provided by new London developments.
Speaking after an investigation by the Guardian newspaper on so-called ‘privately owned public spaces’ – public open space owned and managed by developers – Mr Corbyn said:
“We must reclaim our public spaces from the corporate interests who want to control them. Our country’s laws should govern public space, not secretive private rules. City life is made rich and exciting by our varied shared spaces. They should be run in the interests of the many not the few.”
Mr Corbyn was concerned by the Guardian’s suggestion that users of privately owned public spaces have no way of knowing whether “activities – be they taking photos, holding a political protest or even simply sitting down and having a nap – are permitted, or whether they will result in removal by security guards”.
Mr Corbyn’s remarks sparked a commitment to act from the Labour team at City Hall, with Deputy Mayor for Housing Jules Pipe saying the new London Plan will address this issue and seek to:
“Maximise access and minimise restrictions, as well as enabling planners to establish potential restrictions at the application stage for new developments. While the mayor agrees that private developments have a right to manage their property it is important those areas that look to all intents and purposes like the public realm are not policed in an overly aggressive or intimidating manner.”
It’s a sign of how the housing debate in London is shifting. With the City turning more Labour with every election, public access to new housing developments – both in the form of affordable housing and accessible public space – is rising up the political priority list.