The Conservative candidate for mayor of London would appoint a chief architect if elected next month
Goldsmith said that he wanted a City architect to support ‘high-quality design’ in major developments, oversee the creation of 200 ‘pocket parks’ and advise on town-centre regeneration.
He also pledges in his housing manifesto to assemble a team of ‘flying planners’ to beef up the ‘hollowed out’ planning departments of austerity-struck London boroughs.
‘As mayor, I will not just build more homes but build better homes too, working with my new chief architect and local communities to design a London we will all be proud to call our home,’ Goldsmith said in a statement.
The chief architect would gain jurisdiction over the design of buildings on public-sector land and would help hold developers to account.
Goldsmith’s manifesto also pledges to shake up planning rules that ‘make it harder to build the homes London loves’.
His manifesto states: ‘London’s complex planning system has created ugly blocks designed by committee rather than the Victorian terraced houses and red-brick Edwardian apartment blocks which Londoners like. [Goldsmith] will consult widely with Londoners on the homes they wish to see - and then change the rules if required to ensure these homes can get built.’
Goldsmith’s pledge to appoint a chief architect was welcomed by Terry Farrell, who previously backed such a post at a national level in his independent review.
‘I am delighted that the idea is being proposed for London, a city with extraordinary and unprecedented pressures for growth,’ he said. ‘With those pressures, come once in a lifetime opportunities to improve the places we know and love, and good design should be at the heart of this.’