Questions to the Mayor of London – answered on 16th November 2022.
Will you put in place legal protections for the social and cultural integrity, including the use, of historic buildings, to sit alongside existing protections for their structural integrity and appearance?
While I do not have powers to introduce new legal provisions in this regard, I believe that every Londoner should feel that the capital’s diverse heritage belongs to them. That is why I will continue to use the powers at my disposal to ensure that the capital’s heritage is protected –in all its varied forms - for all current and future Londoners to enjoy.
My London Plan includes a range of policies which ensure that social and cultural infrastructure as well as heritage assets are afforded protections in the planning system, and my cultural strategy includes provisions aimed to help nurture places and spaces that have local character and significance.
I will also continue to work closely with key partners such as Historic England to support applications for listing and funding, including for spaces and places that are significant for their social and cultural value. Whilst it is not possible to necessitate a certain land use, I will make use of these existing legal powers to protect spaces that are valued for the activities that they facilitate, not just for their appearance. In addition, my Culture and Creative Industry Unit works closely with Historic England and the Heritage Lottery Fund to protect heritage across London including work with my Culture and Community Spaces at Risk Office to secure at-risk heritage assets.