Experts on urban planning policy addressed an audience of London South
Bank University (LSBU) alumni, staff and students, at an LSBU Alumni
Association event on the merits and flaws of London's planning system.
With the landscape of the built environment rapidly changing in London,
the topic was hotly debated by a panel of planning professionals, chaired by Dr
Matthew Barac, Research Leader in Architecture at LSBU. First to speak was Nick
Cuff, LSBU Alumnus (MSc Real Estate, 2011) and Land Director at Pocket Living, a London based residential developer delivering affordable housing for
London's first-time buyers. Speaking in response were Gary Yardley, also an
LSBU Alumnus (BSc Estate Management, 1989) and now Managing Director & Chief Investment
Officer at global business consultancy Capco, and Emma Dent Coad, a Labour Party
councillor and frequent writer on architecture and design.
The audience enjoyed a fiery debate between panellists, centred on the
controversial regeneration 'Masterplan' for the Earl's Court area in London, a
development led by Capco and strongly challenged by Emma Dent Coad on
socio-economic grounds. The event highlighted frustrations with
the current planning system from all sides of the debate. The panel described how local planners are claiming
to be held back by savvy-developers with seemingly unlimited resources, and how architects
are in dismay at what they see as the 'managerialisation' of the design team. Calls for collaboration between
professionals seem to outweigh the need for collaboration with local residents, who are often
the most affected by large-scale developments and also often the most overlooked.