Anthony Hilton: The difficulties of thinking big in a crowded city
Saturday 25 January 2014
London First is a body set up about 20 years ago by the London business community to promote the city as a place to do business and to lobby for the improvements – particularly to infrastructure – which everyone knows we urgently need but which government seems incapable of planning for.
The fact that Crossrail is at last being built owes a lot to its early efforts; likewise the now taken-for-granted Jubilee line extension from Central London to Canary Wharf and Stratford. In addition many of the foreign businesses whose headquarters have relocated here from other European cities had their initial interest in London stimulated by London First’s promotional initiatives.
Anyway, on Thursday evening it held its annual dinner and a brief awards ceremony in the crypt of St Pauls Cathedral, a spectacular if slightly surreal venue with the tombs of Nelson and Wellington at one end and a couple of hundred diners at the other. And appropriately, the main sponsor was Thames Tideway, the offshoot of Thames Water which plans to build a “super sewer” running almost 20 miles from Hammersmith to Beckton, mostly underneath the Thames and which will be almost the width of the Channel Tunnel.
Getting the permissions and finance has been a monumental slog, and though hopes are high that it will soon all fall into place, it is not quite there yet. This perhaps explained the rueful comment of a senior board member as he looked around at the magnificent surroundings of the Cathedral. “Imagine what you would have to go through to get something like this built today.”
- 1 Three of Pope Francis' relatives die in Argentina car crash, including two young great-nephews
- 2 Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
- 3 Here’s the damning letter Robin Williams wrote to his Mrs Doubtfire co-star's principal after they expelled her
- 4 Ferguson protests: 90-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein ‘arrested’ by police during St Louis demonstrations
- 5 Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'
Syria conflict: President Assad finally turns on Isis as government steps up campaign against militant strongholds
Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
Ice Bucket Challenge: Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Oprah – the most entertaining reactions so far
Iraq crisis: Islamic State's message to America - 'We will drown you all in blood'
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Ukip MEP calls for reintroduction of death penalty on fiftieth anniversary of last deaths
Russell Brand calls for Israel boycott: Comedian urges big businesses that 'facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza' to pull funding
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
iJobs Money & Business
£475 - £550 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Technical Accountant-Insuran...
£200 - £290 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Sales Performance Manager, Key Ba...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + bonus+benefits+package: Harrington Starr: Junior D...
£600 - £800 per day: Harrington Starr: Java/Calypso Developer Java, Calypso, ...