Transport for London aren’t my biggest fans – the price of writing stories they consider unhelpful has been to fall off their invite list for events such as the launch of the New Bus for London or the taxpayer funded Thames Cable Car.
As I’ve mentioned before, they’re not an organisation which likes scrutiny and accountability.
When required to appear before the London Assembly it’s not unheard of for them to pre-empt Assembly Members by issuing press releases covering the issues due to be discussed.
Understandably AMs find this disrespectful.
But it’s not just unhelpful sections of the media and London’s elected scrutineers who TfL show disdain for.
Former AM and Chair for the Fire Authority Brian Coleman previously told colleagues how unhelpful he found them in delivering Mayor Boris Johnson’s shared services agenda.
Even Boris has learnt that, despite being Chair of TfL, they don’t always do what he tells them.
So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised to learn TfL wouldn’t approve the latest phase of a major City Hall backed redevelopment deal unless it received payment for oversailing rights.
When a commercial developer wants to encroach on the airspace above another owner’s land it’s not uncommon for them to make such a payment but in this case TfL isn’t being paid by the developer but by the publicly owned GLA Land and Property Limited, established by Boris earlier this year.
To facilitate the payment, GLA Land and Property are to share their receipts from developers Barratt with TfL and assign TfL any sales overage payable.
The Mayoral Decision announcing the payments makes clear TfL “would not be willing to give their approval to the development” without them.
In short they just shook down their own boss.