The Mayor pretty much directly lied about the planning application for the Leaf develoment in Ealing this morning on the Andrew Marr show.
If you read the transcript there was this exchange between Marr and the Mayor:
ANDREW MARR: But you are going to change the way London looks dramatically, if your plans go ahead. I mean there are going to be very large numbers of very, very tall buildings, and quite quickly?
KEN LIVINGSTONE: No, no there aren’t going to be very large numbers of tall buildings. Broadly I think in the last seven years perhaps, five or six have been agreed. I wouldn’t expect that to change, I, the one just around the corner from where you live, Ealing Broadway, I mean I saw last week and we broadly made it quite clear to the borough council this wouldn’t be acceptable.
Doesn’t that sound to you like the Mayor is saying that he rejected the Leaf because it was too tall? You would be wrong. The Mayor’s report said:
That Ealing Council be advised that the principle of a high-density mixed-use development, including a landmark tall building in Ealing town centre, is acceptable in strategic planning terms; however, its shortcomings in delivering an exemplary design in this strategic location; the low proportion of affordable housing within the scheme; and the failure to reach a solution which would mitigate the impact of the development on the local bus network and improve this important transport interchange; are all highly disappointing.
Nothing about too tall there. If you read down to paragraph 49 it says:
The principle of a tall building on this site is supported, as it meets many of the criteria set out in London Plan policy 4B.9 Tall buildings – Location for identifying locations suitable for a tall building. In particular, a tall building on this site supports the strategy of creating the highest levels of activity at locations with the greatest transport capacity. With Ealing Broadway underground and mainline stations and future tram and Crossrail links planned for the station opposite the site, it is without a doubt that a large-scale development that reflects and capitalises on this connectivity is entirely appropriate. The station itself would also benefit greatly from having larger-scale development to identify the location of the transport hub from greater distances as well as more generous public open space around the station to accommodate the volume of passengers and users that will inevitably grow.
Would it be too strong to call the Mayor a lier on the strength of this evidence? The report is dated 20th February, last Wednesday, so it is not as if this is some bit of ancient history. When Nicky Gavron came to Ealing on Friday she mentioned that she had reviewed the Leaf along with the Mayor on Wednesday. Banged to rights I’d say.