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Greens compile dossier on mayor

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The Green Party is drawing up a secret dossier of 'dubious' developments that it believes will prove Ken Livingstone has 'systematically bypassed' his own planning rules for London's canals and rivers.

Party campaigners are contemplating a legal bid against the mayor for disregarding guidance within the Blue Ribbon Network policy - a policy that was introduced specifically to protect the capital's waterways from unsuitable development.

Established by Livingstone, the 26-page policy forms part of the London Plan and aims to raise the profile of London's waterways, encouraging sensitive projects in the future.

However, a spokesman said that the Green Party has become convinced Livingstone is choosing to ignore the document.

'The decision to grant planning permission for the overbearing eight-storey King's Place building on Regent's Canal at York Way is just one recent example of waterside development assessed, by boroughs and the London mayor, with scant regard for the 26-page policy, ' the spokesman said.

Two months ago the party also publicly condemned Livingstone for 'wrecking the character of the river frontage' by supporting the demolition of the 1930s Borthwick Wharf Cold Store in Deptford to make way for a luxury housing development.

In addition, party members also claim the mayor is ignoring three waterway watchdog groups to which he gave his official blessing last year. Set up to advise the mayor, the groups were also a creation of the London Plan, but, according to the Greens, both the Steering Group and the London Canals Committee (LCC) have collapsed due to mayoral inaction.

Though the third group, the Stakeholders' Forum, continues to meet sporadically, it cannot make recommendations to the mayor without the now defunct Steering Group. However, neither this organisation nor the LCC has met since early 2004 because Livingstone has failed to appoint new chairs.

Green Party assembly member Jenny Jones said she believes its dossier will force the mayor to start enforcing policies in the London Plan designed to protect the Thames and London's other waterways.

'We are optimistic that the mayor will act when presented with evidence that there is a pattern of neglect, ' she added.

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