Unmesh Desai discusses City of London issues

Unmesh Desai

At City Hall, the Mayor has been clear in his support for resident ballots being held on estates where regeneration works are being planned.

I worked with local councillors and campaigners when the Guinness Trust first put forward proposals to develop their estate on Mansell Street. Now as Guinness prepare to bring back shelved plans for redevelopment of the estate I fully support City of London Portsoken Councillors Jason Pritchard and Munsur Ali’s call for a full residents’ ballot of the estate. It is important that the voices of the local residents are heard.

The Barbican tube noise saga rumbles on, and unfortunately, as is the case with many similar issues across the capital, there are few straightforward solutions available. However, after having listened to the concerns of local councillors and the Barbican Residents Association, I completely understand the frustrations of those affected and the ever-urgent need to find a breakthrough on this issue.

I have been keeping up the pressure on TfL and flagged the problem with Catherine McGuinness, Chair of the City Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee. Rest assured, I will continue to work with campaigners and local councillors until we can provide some light at the end of the tunnel for Barbican residents.

I am also pleased that Heidi Alexander, London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport, has agreed to a request from myself and Cllr Mary Durcan to meet with Barbican residents and hopefully this will help in resolving the situation.

At my recent meeting with Ian Dyson, Commissioner of the City of London Police, we discussed a wide range of issues including anti-social behaviour, counter-terrorism and economic crime. The City of London Police are a separate police authority outside of City Hall’s jurisdiction. However, I will continue to regularly engage with them, as they often cooperate closely with the Met and British Transport Police on overlapping concerns.

With Brexit still unresolved, I am keen to see that the City and East London is well prepared for any scenario. Through my ‘London Moving East’ project, I am working to challenge and overcome the entrenched inequalities that exist within my London Assembly constituency.

The recent decision to relocate Spitalfields Market in Barking and Dagenham, part of the constituency, is therefore something I believe to be a positive move that has my full support.

Addressing hate and violent crime, combatting the rise of the far right and the ‘hostile environment’, and tackling austerity cuts and the scourge of child poverty continue to be my main priorities.