John Biggs: Docklands still has colony feel

By Jon Massey on February 23, 2011 12:50 PM |

By John Biggs

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Canary Wharf, and the Docklands area, was rebuilt under the Docklands Development Corporation - the LDDC.

It achieved a lot but is widely recognised to have not spread its gains sufficiently into the community. Things have slowly improved but it still feels like a colony, plonked into the area.

Plans have now emerged for a new but essentially similar development corporation, for the Olympic Legacy.

A big question for me, and many of my constituents, is whether we get the balance right this time. May I wish wisdom to us all.

One of the great achievements of our previous Mayor, Ken Livingstone, was a big expansion in police numbers in London.

Surveys show the fear of crime to be the highest priority for Londoners and the increase - from 25,000 to 33,000 officers - reduced this and improved performance.

One reason we were able to expand numbers was through the Council Tax, which rose to pay for it. Our current mayor has frozen Council Tax, calling the previous spending wasteful, and his Government has in parallel slashed spending.

But was it wasteful? Less money means fewer police. Under Boris Johnson police numbers have started falling, and will continue to do so.

I accept savings are needed but are these the right ones, and where should they end?

- John Biggs is London Assembly Member, City & East

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