My report from City Hall July 2018

No. 52:  28th June 2018 to 28th July 2018




There was a lot going on out of City hall this month wasn’t there? with the World Cup and England’s team doing so well. We had the RAF centenary fly past, which i could see at a distance from City Hall’s balcony. I attended Barnet Armed Forces Day and the unveiling of commemorative plaques at Hoop Lane Cemetery. We had the controversial visit of President Trump and the huge protest against it. The biggest issue, though has to be the way that the Government’s Brexit plans don’t hold water: see my Brexit section below. We are now having our summer break at City Hall, back at the start of September.


This month’s London quiz:  


Q where and when were the first automatic traffic lights erected?


Contents: (please scroll down to the sections which interest you)


1 Europe and ‘Brexit’

2 Economy Committee

3 Transport and HS2

4 Policing

5 Planning, Housing, Regeneration

6 Environment

7 Fire Authority

8 Education

9 Health

10 Mayor’s report

11 Written questions to the Mayor

12 Problem solving and casework

13 Quiz answers



1 Europe and ‘Brexit’

The City Hall Economy Committee conducted an evidence hearing on Brexit, co-incidentally just a few days after the Cabinet Chequers meeting.  It may come as a surprise, but all the experts from whichever side of the debate agreed that:

1) the Chequers ‘agreement’ is not the comprehensive plan we need to protect our capital’s economy and Londoners’ jobs, being more about addressing  the Conservative Party’s divisions  rather  than the country’s interests;

2) there wasn’t a hope that Brussels would accept it anyway;


3) a ‘no deal ‘Brexit was not an option.

The draft minutes and transcript of this Economy Committee meeting are available on the Greater London Authority’s website here.

See also my letter for publication on the Brexit Chequers deal.


By the time of MQT, the Government White Paper had been published and was already under pressure in Parliament: I questioned the Mayor about the impact on London’s economy.



2  Economy Committee


See above for the Economy Committee meeting on Brexit.


I have also spoken out over the downgrading of Camden Town Post Office.


And commented in support of International Women in Engineering Day.


I was concerned to hear about the aggressive immigration raids in Chinatown, where the Border Force seems to unfairly target businesses there. I joined the rally in Chinatown, where the businesses went on strike in protest at their treatment by the authorities.


I was also concerned by the news, that Hammerson have postponed their plans to expand Brent Cross shopping centre, shelving a £550 million investment. This is due to the pressures on retail and I think cannot be other than fallout from Brexit uncertainty.




3 Transport and HS2


Noise from the tube disturbing people living near to the lines continues to be a big issue. I have updated my briefing note setting out the main causes and how to complain.


I also met with TfL engineers to discuss a number of sites and what needed to be done I am awaiting their detailed response.


I had a sneak preview with TfL of the new Crossrail station at Tottenham Court Road: it is huge and due to open later this year.


The Holborn Tube Station expansion project has also attracted public support.


We continue to argue for full step-free access at the new Brent Cross Station, presently in the design phase of its development.


I have called on TfL to honour their original redevelopment plan for West Hampstead Overground Station, as they have proposed changing their plans for the redevelopment of West Hampstead Overground Station, potentially reneging on a previous commitment to expand the pavement in front of the station and around the bridge by removing a no longer fit for purpose and obstructive Victorian ticket hall.


The Mayor has confirmed the expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) up to North and South circular roads from 25 October 2021. Strict emission standards will also apply to buses, coaches and lorries across the whole of London from 26 October 2020. Both schemes will lead to emission reductions across London and more than 100,000 residents no longer living in areas exceeding legal air quality limits in 2021. The ULEZ will begin in central London from 8th April 2019. These measures will deliver a major improvement to Londoners’ health by reducing the toxic air quality that is currently responsible for thousands of premature deaths and other serious conditions.



London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, has unveiled the capital’s first Walking Action Plan. The plan, which is supported by Public Health England (PHE), sets out how London will become a city where walking, for those that can, is the most obvious, enjoyable and attractive means of travel for all short trips. Walking is an easy and affordable way for Londoners to integrate more physical activity into their daily lives. However, research shows that too many people are put off because of concerns about road danger or worries about their levels of physical fitness.


The Mayor has also published his Vision Zero action plan. The aim is to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries on London’s transport system. This plan focuses on the area where our greatest challenges lie – London’s streets. The actions in the plan will reduce road danger for everyone and create streets safe for walking and cycling.


4 Policing


This month’s meeting of the Police and Crime Committee was a Question and Answer Session with the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner. I particularly asked about funding issues, counter terrorism and Brexit, and policing the President Trump visit. The draft minutes and transcript are now available on the website here.


I also questioned the Mayor on policing the President Trump visit, as local Dedicated Ward Officers were being taken off their wards for it; and as Scotland was being reimbursed for the cost of policing the visit there, whether London was also going to be reimbursed.


The number of police officers per head of population in London is at its lowest point for 20 years. In 2010 the Metropolitan Police had 4.1 officers per 1,000 Londoners but, after crippling government cuts to police spending, the ratio has now dropped to 3.3 officers per 1,000. Police spending per head has fallen faster in London than in any other police force, too.


See also my updated police funding briefing.


And another response to Jessica Learmond-Criqui.


The PCC also had a briefing on borough mergers and the Notting Hill Carnival.


You may be interested in the PCC report, ‘A long way from home: improving London’s response to women in the criminal justice system’


And the Youth Violence Commission interim report.


I have also prepared a briefing on youth violence including knife crime.


I met the BCU Commander for Camden and Islington, Det Chief Superintendent Dr Iain Raphael. The good news is that response times for emergency calls is better than before the merger; and real progress is being made, bearing down on moped enabled crime.


I also attended the Camden Safer Neighbourhood Board.


Finally, June 2018’s MQT Policing answers.


5 Planning, Housing and Regeneration

The Mayor of London has announced his major estate regeneration schemes policy.  The Mayor has placed residents at the heart of estate regeneration in the capital, by introducing a new condition of City Hall funding which requires residents to have voted in favour of plans that involve the demolition of social homes. The final version strengthens the ballot requirements by:

  • Setting out clearly how funding can be clawed back when a project is complete if it is found not to honour the original offer from the landlord;
  • Establishing the voting age at 16 and being clear that an independent body would be expected to undertake resident ballots;


  • Making clear even those schemes that have had a ballot in the past must undertake a new ballot on a landlord offer which must be honoured to receive and keep Mayoral funding.

The final version of the new funding condition works alongside the Mayor’s planning rules – as set out in ‘Better Homes for Local People’, his good practice guide to estate regeneration – which he overhauled to require any social housing demolished to be replaced like-for-like, and for affordable housing to be increased wherever possible

The Assembly Plenary this month looked at the Old Oak Common development: I particularly focussed on the high street and businesses

Finally, the controversial Mill Hill Pentavia planning application came to Barnet’s planning committee. I had objected to it on a number of grounds. I spoke against the scheme and I am pleased to say that it was refused.

6 Environment


I attended the Mill Hill Preservation Society special opening of the Mill Hill Peter Collinson Heritage Garden, founded by this 18th century botanist.


7 Fire, Resilience and Emergency Planning


The Fire Committee’s meeting was concerned with fire safety, post Grenfell, looking at procedures, fire fighting equipment and fire safety personnel, and the extent of cladding on blocks in London. An important concern is that the Brigade does not have details of all the privately owned blocks that may be affected. they believe they do have knowledge of those in public ownership, mainly social housing.


The transcripts of evidence at the Grenfell inquiry can be followed here.


I was very concerned at the hard time being given in the inquiry to a number of the firefighters who were at the fire: risking their lives in the tower does not deserve what they have gone through in giving evidence, in my view.

8 Education


Langdon College, Edgware works with young adults and teenagers with learning disabilities. I attended their awards ceremony.


9 Health


I was pleased to see that the North Central London Coroner is now moving on her protocols, after the High Court ruling against her that she should take into account family and religious needs for prompt burials. it is a pity that the local councils have to pick up, yet again, her legal costs in defending the indefensible in court.


10 Mayor’s report


Each month the Mayor produces a report on his activities. His 23rd report is here.



11 Written questions to the Mayor


July 2018 MQT Answers.


June 2018 MQT 2018 Answers.


Late June MQT Answers.


Late May MQT Answers.


12 Problem solving and casework


Arjun Mittra is my City Hall assistant who manages incoming correspondence, casework and my diary:


13 Quiz answer


Q: Where and when were the first automatic traffic lights erected?


A: Piccadilly Circus, 3rd August 1926


Best wishes,

Andrew Dismore AM

Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden

Twitter: @andrew_dismore

Reproduced from an email sent by the Labour Party, promoted by Ammar Naqvi on behalf of Barnet & Camden Labour Parties both at 104 E Barnet Rd, London, Barnet EN4 8RE