London Plan Matters 6b Specific sectors of the economy

Written evidence from the Vauxhall Society
The civic society for the north of Lambeth (from and including Stockwell)and adjacent parts of Wandsworth and Southwark.
20 Albert Square London SW8 1BS

6.3. Does the draft Plan contain appropriate policies for meeting the needs of industry, specialist clusters and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)?
6.4 Does the draft Plan deal adequately with the night time economy and its implications for those living and working in London?

Section 3B, Section 3D, Policies 3D1 and 3D4 and paragraphs 3D27 and 28

Public transport needs to be expanded and brought up to an acceptable standard as a prerequisite, and policies should include the criteria of reducing the need to travel by siting work and housing. Teleworking is unlikely to have a substantial effect: its interaction with the synergistic and social aspects of face to face working have not been addressed. It is noteworthy that a university Department of Mathematics has recently been designed with great attention to areas for casual interaction, and that the Swedish Parliament moved back to its old (refurbished) building from a newly built one because the new building had hardly any casual meeting places. Moreover, it would demand bigger houses if most were to need a home office. This would be wasteful and inefficient and bad for people's health and sanity. Walking to work or short journeys to work are ideal. Never getting out of the house or differentiating between work and the rest of life is damaging and invites the question why be in London anyway? ITC is likely to have a much better role in supporting some decentralisation of offices and enterprises.

The Plan does not address the needs of small and medium sized enterprises adequately. There should be a policy to support starter and live/work units.

The Plan supports mixed use areas up to a point. However, para 3B26 excludes parts of the City and the Isle of Dogs. The Vauxhall Society considers that fine grained mixed areas are desirable, encouraging living streets, and that they should connect well with surrounding areas. Single use areas, which are therefore dead and uninviting at night (if business/industrial) or in the day (dormitory areas) give an inherent invitation to crime. Open spaces and leisure should be included in the mix. We do not agree that the City and Isle of Dogs should be excluded. The example of the Barbican supports our view.

Night time economy and proposed Entertainment Management Zones

These proposals contradict the good policy of having mixed areas. New areas should not be designated merely in order to relieve pressure on the West End, exporting problems to residents elsewhere. If areas are designated, this should be decided locally, with local councils able to stop undesirable developments.

It is important to distinguish the evening economy, which brings vibrancy to neighbourhoods, and has helped regeneration in many places, from the late night economy, which has generally brought problems of crime and disorder, anti-social behaviour, noise and nuisance, and created threatening and unpleasant night-time environments. The former is worthy of encouragement: the latter is not.

Ordinary theatres, concert venues and restaurants, pubs and bars should be clearly distinguished from sleazy and noisy late night venues, especially strip clubs and pole dancing places. Residents and ordinary businesses' needs to be protected from the effects of these and their clients should have priority.

The recommendations of the Civic Trust's publication 'Open All Hours' should be followed.