A new report by the London Assembly has called on the Mayor to consider drawing up planning guidance setting out minimum standards of public access for privately managed developments which include public space such as retail areas.
An inquiry carried out by the Assembly’s Planning and Housing Committee revealed significant levels of concern among Londoners that they were being excluded from some public spaces.
Assembly Members are also calling on Mayor Boris Johnson to work with London’s boroughs to agree principles for managing public space in new private developments and ensure public access is permanent.
Committee Deputy Chair Nicky Gavron said: “The line between public and private places has become blurred as what should be in effect public space is increasingly subject to private management. We need the Mayor to redefine the line through the planning system.
“High quality, safe and well-maintained public spaces play a major part in the capital’s economy, environment and quality of life for both Londoners and visitors. They are areas where people should feel welcome to meet, sit, eat their lunch or simply wander through.
“All public spaces require some form of oversight but there is a fine line between successfully managing a space and controlling it too rigorously in a way that can make people feel excluded.
“For London to become a sustainable city we must expect higher densities of development, which means more people sharing our spaces, but we must not compromise the democratic principle of open and equitable access to the public realm.”
The report – Public life in private hands – can be downloaded from london.gov.uk