Letter: Does London need central rule?

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The Independent Online
SIR: It is a matter of opinion whether Hamish McRae ('London: a mistake not to be repeated', 5 May) has made a valid case against 'the received wisdom' that London needs a central elected authority. In my view, he has not.

Certainly, he has chosen singularly inappropriate examples of policy decisions to support his case. The City is not a central authority and it was acting as a single London borough in developing the Barbican project. The Location of Offices Bureau was a government agency acting in a very narrow field. It had no wide-ranging strategic powers of the kind suggested by advocates of a central elected authority.

Finally, the building of tower blocks was an activity indulged in by many local authorities and private developers. The central planning authority, whatever its perceived strength or weakness, did not have the statutory power to compel unwilling developers to build tower blocks.

Mr McRae's case is not helped either by the final paragraph, with its simplistic comparison of London boroughs and sovereign states without regard to their general physical or political/economic environment.

Yours faithfully,

E. J. BARKER

Leatherhead, Surrey

5 May

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