City & East London AM John Biggs will review planning and parking policies if he becomes Mayor

John Biggs

John Biggs - Credit: Archant

As a politician, I often go canvassing and the most regular things I hear about are crime and anti-social behaviour, including dealing and use of drugs, problem neighbours and the fear of crime. It is a clear signal that more needs doing.

You hear about all sorts of other stuff too, such as housing, unemployment, planning applications and school places. It’s an important part of the job – keeping in touch.

On the Isle of Dogs there is a big issue that’s been growing – the scale of development. Apartments are being built everywhere.

Many are very nice, some less so. Some are huge – there are plans for 70-storey towers near Canary Wharf and 40 floors seems nothing unusual.

The common complaint is about the pressure they place on public transport, school places, parking, doctors surgeries, parks and open spaces and the sheer scale of them. People often complain about the planning committee – but while it may sometimes get things wrong it has to decide applications in terms of local planning policies which allow very high densities in those places.

And there’s another problem. The council, health service, TfL and others seem to be too slow in building the schools, health centres, extra buses or whatever.

So what needs to happen is two things – a review of the planning policies to check if we’ve got them right and a bit of leadership from the town hall to make sure we build the schools and other things, and get TfL to provide the extra transport.

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And, oh yes, we need to look at parking policy too! If I become Tower Hamlets Mayor in May this year, those things will be in my in-tray. will make them happen.

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