Access guide urged for capital's spaces

Developers, academics and authorities have urged London mayor Boris Johnson to provide better guidance on the management and accessibility of public space.

At a meeting of the London Assembly planning and housing committee, calls were made for more uniformity in section 106 agreements for developers. The assembly is investigating how the planning system could ensure public space is as unrestricted as possible.

University College London's Bartlett School of Planning head Matthew Carmona said: "The management of public space needs to be tied down in section 106 agreements.

"Standards need to be set so public access and rights are not reliant on the vagaries of the planning process. Boroughs do not have the expertise to do this and that is what the mayor needs to give guidance on."

London Borough of Newham director of development services John East said local authorities should have continuous control over public spaces and that partnerships between local authorities and developers are key.

"A review process should be built into section 106 agreements so that authorities have the ability to step in if public spaces are not being managed satisfactorily," he said.

Urban Space management director Eric Reynolds said the irony is that the public realm around City Hall is privately managed by More London and subject to restrictions on use. He called for more uniformity and a better "attitude" on accessibility.

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