Decision Maker Response

Siân Berry’s response

Apr 13, 2016 — I was really moved by this petition and the story behind it - something that's all too common across London at the moment.

Small businesses and independent retailers in London are central to London's cultural and creative life, yet they are being squeezed out by rising rents, larger identikit retailers and Government policies which are encouraging the conversion of business space into flats. As Mayor I will ensure that smaller firms and co-operatives, alongside creative venues and businesses, receive the support they need to flourish.

Small and medium-sized firms are at the heart of our communities, providing most of our jobs and helping to make our neighbourhoods distinctive and our city somewhere people want to live and work. I will protect areas where groups of businesses are of particular heritage and cultural significance to the city as a whole, such as the musical instrument cluster on Denmark Street’s ‘Tin Pan Alley’ or the restaurants on Brick Lane. I will also ensure all businesses displaced in City Hall and Council regeneration plans are able to return to those sites at reasonable rents

Greens on the London Assembly have fought hard in recent years to stop popular local markets being closed and replaced by shopping centres dominated by corporate shops. They have pushed the Mayor to stand up to the Government over their policy of allowing shop/business spaces to be used for housing.

They have persuaded the Mayor to introduce planning protections for small shops, as a consequence of two major investigations. By exposing the loss of space and rising costs faced by small businesses and creative industries, they have recently forced the Mayor and Transport for London to rethink policies around redeveloping light industrial sites, like railway arches. While both previous Mayors have promoted the interests of big developers, the Greens at City Hall have been fighting for small businesses.