Sian Berry, Green Party candidate for Mayor of London, has vowed to clamp down on the growing problem of private firms controlling publicly accessible spaces.
A number of major property developments include ‘public spaces’ within their boundaries but strict controls are often in place which govern how and when members of the public can access and use them.
City Hall, home of the Mayor and London Assembly, is situated on private land controlled by More London whose security staff have often been accused of limiting protest outside the building.
On a number of occasions staff have also sought to stop photography and filming, including by journalists, and in 2012 halted a photo-op arranged by the then Green party mayoral candidate Baroness Jenny Jones until her staff could produce a permit.
Even when acting in their official capacity, members of the London Assembly have experienced difficulties when giving TV interviews outside City Hall.
Ms Berry says she’d update London’s planning framework to ensure publicly accessible spaces were governed by local authority by-laws, with developers required to ask “transparently and accountably” for permission to impose restrictions.
She commented: “As more and more of London is redeveloped, it’s vital that public spaces are preserved for the public’s use in the most democratic way possible.
“As Mayor, I’ll reassert our right to enjoy and govern the public sphere in the public interest.”