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Livingstone win jeopardises Ritchie's Crystal Palace plans

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Ken Livingstone's victory in last week's London mayor contest looks set to trigger a European legal challenge to plans to build an Ian Ritchie Architects-designed multiplex on Crystal Palace Park.

Darren Johnson, the Green Party candidate who has been offered the environment portfolio in Livingstone's cabinet, this week restated his opposition to the Crystal Palace scheme and threatened legal action. He said: 'What we can do is look at the legal options, whatever they are and also look at the full range of influence the mayor's office will have.' Opposition centres on the impact of the scheme on local residents and the park's environment.

The mayor has no direct power to overturn the planning permission which has already been awarded to London and Regional Properties for the development, but it is understood that the Greater London Assembly could back a legal case at the European Court of Justice arguing that the outline planning consent should have been called in by the secretary of state before it was issued in 1998.

European cases, which typically take years to complete and could significantly delay the project, follow on from two failed judicial review cases against the scheme.

Livingstone is also being urged from within the gla to call an early meeting with the developer to persuade it to abandon its plans and take its investment elsewhere in London.

Meanwhile, the former chair of the London Planning Advisory Council, Nicky Gavron, looked set to accept the post of deputy mayor as aj went to press. Gavron has won praise for her ability to achieve cross-party consensus on planning issues in London, and looks likely to take a leading role in the production of the Spatial Development Strategy, which will define planning policy and will be agreed in two years time.

Livingstone's success also raises further doubts over the future of Foster & Partners' GLA building at London Bridge City. In the run-up to the election Livingstone hinted that the lease on the building might be too expensive for his administration, although he did praise the design as a 'great building'.

The mayor will also be pivotal in pushing through the World Squares for All project, also by Foster and Partners, which involves the partial pedestrianisation of Trafalgar Square, but has been opposed by Westminster City Council.

Livingstone has thrown his weight behind the plans for the redevelopment of the South Bank Centre after visiting the Royal Festival Hall for a briefing in the run-up to last Thursday's poll. As leader of the glc, he initiated the 'open foyer' policy with Tony Banks, which opened up the foyer of the Royal Festival Hall during daytime and introduced shops and cafes.

The riba has congratulated Livingstone on his victory and called on him to initiate a series of ideas competitions for London to solve 'a backlog of built environment problems'.

riba president Marco Goldschmied said: 'Architects have the skills and vision to offer new insights into these unprecedented problems - my aim is to make sure that these talents are recognised and harnessed by the gla.'

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