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It’s not a beautiful word, localism, but it’s an ideal with whose basics it is hard to disagree: that local residents and businesses should have a say in what happens to their communities, and that decisions on things such as planning should, where practical, be devolved to local government. It is one of the few remnants of David Cameron’s “big society” that is still breathing any sort of life.
Cameron and his party also love Tech City, the area of east London that is a buzzing hive of entrepreneurial electronic endeavour. So when the businesses of Tech City and local residents combine to oppose a property development that does little or nothing for them except harm, and propose a viable alternative, and when a local authority is engaged in constructive conversations with the site’s developers that might lead to a better outcome, we are, surely, in Tory heaven.
This, however, is to reckon without the Tory mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who unilaterally declared that he is “strongly supportive” of the proposed building of seven towers on Bishopsgate Goodsyard, and that with a few adjustments he would give it permission, no matter what the local authority might think. ….