A West End Labour survey has today found that residents overwhelmingly oppose plans to build more tall buildings in Westminster. More than 80% of respondents believe that Westminster Council is wrong to want to develop more skyscrapers and tall buildings. Residents cited the following concerns:
- Tall buildings and skyscrapers pose a threat to Westminster’s unique character. Tall buildings block out light; block out historic views and would be at odds with the character of Westminster’s historic neighbourhoods.
- Tall buildings won’t tackle London’s housing crisis. They are likely to be unaffordable and used as ‘deposit boxes’ by wealthy oligarchs.
- The Council does not listen to residents and its consultations are by and large meaningless. Many pointed to a feeling that the planning system is dysfunctional, as it only meets commercial not resident needs.
- “We want well-thought-through plans for affordable not luxury housing, that meets local needs and fits in with the existing character of neighbourhoods.”
- “The character of Westminster is unique. It will be ruined by a lot of skyscrapers“.
- “Westminster Council have a history of not taking account of concerns raised by residents.”
- “I have never been consulted by Westminster.”
Pancho Lewis, of West End Labour, said: “Residents are fed up of not being listened to by the Council. They feel like this is another instance where the Council is bringing forward plans which are totally out of sync with the vision they have for the city. The Council should listen to them and put residents in the driving seat – not impose ideas from above.”
Ibrahim Dogus, Labour’s candidate for the Cities of London and Westminster said:
“The people of Westminster deserve a Member of Parliament who will take on board their concerns and fight for them. We need real and lasting solutions to the city’s housing crisis. What we do not need is the continuing erosion of London’s character, ignoring the people who live here in favour of luxury property developers.”
Westminster Labour is now calling for the Council to change the consultation questions. Rather than ask residents whether they want tall buildings, Labour is calling on the Council to begin with these questions: “What vision do you have for Westminster’s future? How should planning policy match that vision?”