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Straight talking

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The annual dinner of the City Corporation's planning and transportation committee was as good as ever. Under the relaxed aegis of committee chairman Stuart Fraser and the watchful eye of city planner Peter Rees, 130 or so enjoyed the delights of the Drapers'Hall and a splendid dinner including venison and a most agreeable St Emilion (Ch la Grande Clotte 1995, since you ask). Architects on the guest list included Will Alsop, Graham Morrison, Lee Polisano of KPF and Graham Stirk of RRP. Guest speaker Anthony Mayer's blunt message on urban regeneration was that we have to 'rediscover our nerve', make up for the 'lost generation of spatial masterplanners' (see Allerton Bywater) and 'give chutzpah back to planning in London'. He harked back to a world where Corb, Buchanan and Stirling were in their element. While his political master Livingstone might regard the Urban White Paper as brilliant, Mayer said he gave it 'a highly cautious welcome'. What does he want to see which is so far missing? A proper contaminated land regime; a proper CPO regime; real tax incentives for brownfield development; and 'urban priority areas'. Easy, really.

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