Sir Paul Judge

The whole Tower ward team were saddened to learn of the death of Sir Paul Judge, our Alderman. Sir Paul passed away peacefully surrounded by his close family in the early hours of 21 May 2017 following a brief illness.

There will shortly be a family funeral but a more public memorial service in celebration of his life will be arranged at a later date. Details concerning this memorial service will be posted on our Ward of Tower site.

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Hampstead Heath in 2067…

As I sit on the Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park Committee I attended a Community consultation event today as we design a new vision for the Heath.

I enjoyed listening to a wide variety of Heath user groups talk about how much they love the Heath.  Many mentioned how important the peace, wildness and variety of wildlife on the Heath were to them.

Londoners and visitors alike certainly love the Heath and the City of London is committed to ensuring that it’s unique character is preserved.  Do let me know what you think, information on our vision consultation can also be found online, a survey will be posted soon.

Culture and leadership

May has begun with new leadership for the City of London Corporation.  After 5 years at the helm, Mark Boleat’s term as Chairman of Policy and Resources has come to an end.  Catherine McGuinness succeeds him and highlighted the role of the City of London Corporation as the country’s fourth largest funder of culture.  We are committed to ensuring that the City is not just an attractive place to do business, but also a great place to live and investing in culture is central to this.

From exhibitions at the Guildhall Art Gallery, #LondonTrending has just opened with prints from Hume, Hirst, Paolozzi and Hockney among others, to concerts at the Barbican there’s a wealth of culture to explore in the heart of the City.

My Friday evening started in the art gallery and was rounded off listening to 4 singers from the Guildhall School of Music competing for the Gold Medal prize at the Barbican Centre.  A beautiful evening of first rate music.  Many congratulations to Josep-Ramon Olivé, his final aria from the Barber of Seville was very impressive.

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The next 4 years in the City

26 new Common CIMG_9101ouncilmen were elected to the Court of Common Council, the governing body of the City of London, on 23 March.  In Tower Ward, Roger Chadwick, Marianne Fredericks, James Tumbridge and I were delighted to be re-elected to serve for the 4 years ahead.

As we weren’t contested this year we were formally reappointed at the wardmote in St Olave’s Church.  Here’s the Alderman’s Beadle, Spike Abbott, formally closing proceedings carrying the Tower mace dating from theIMG_9151 period of Charles II.

The excitement of the elections across the City was muted by the attack in Westminster on Wednesday 22 March and we remembered those who died and were injured on Friday 25 March in Guildhall Yard.

I was greatly reassured by the presence of the City Police and the Metropolitan Police on Wednesday night, their work and that of the other emergency services, shows what true public service is.

As we reconvene again I am looking forward to working with Common Councilmen old and new as we work together to ensure the City is ready for the 4 years ahead.  Speaking to voters in the run up to the election Brexit, congestion  and air quality are top of the list of priorities.  Do please get in touch with your thoughts and questions over the next 4 years.

 

Endings and new beginnings

Today saw the last session of the Court of Common Council before the City of London Corporation elections on 23 March.

The Chief Commoner gave an entertaining farewell to 13 Common Councilmen who are stepping down at these elections.  We all thanked them for their service and contribution.

One of our final acts was to approve the Budget for the coming year.

In Tower Ward the team was not contested and so Roger Chardwick, Marianne Fredericks, James Tumbridge and I will serve for the coming 4 years.

We look forward to welcoming back old colleagues and greeting new ones for the session.  Whilst the Court will evolve the subjects at the top of our agenda will most probably remain the same: ensuring the City is best positioned through the Brexit process; improving our environment, from air quality to green spaces; developing our transport and planning to serve our future needs and making the City a great place to live, work and visit.

Let me know what you would like to see happen in the City in the next 4 years!

Pipers and social inclusion in the City

A feature of IMG_8976City life is the sheer variety of things that happen, often in one evening!

Tower ward residents, the Clothworkers’ Company invited me to the Masters’ and Clerks’ dinner on Tuesday.  I finally learnt about the links between the Company and their role in founding my University in Leeds.  Given I studied politics I didn’t come across their support for the textiles sector at the time but I certainly remembered the Hall there, even if my lectures were mainly confined 1960s buildings made of blocks of concrete.

In addition to learning about the history of the Company and their work today I also had the pleasure of listening to the Pipes and Drums of the First Battalion Scots Guards – my Scottish half was very happy!

The highlight was a speech from the Lord Lieutenant for Greater London Ken Olisa who explained about how he used his role to ensure that we all focus on including all Londoners in our shared future.  He highlighted that at a time of potential division it was every more important to bring those who feel excluded from the mainstream in.

It was a pleasure to hear this focus on bringing people in rather than excluding them.  It wasn’t so long ago that the institutions of the City felt distance to me and my life.  I see a very different picture now I’m directly involved and I’m determined to spend the next 4 years bringing many more people in.

 

 

Life comes at you quick in the City!

It’s been a busy start to 2017 in the City.  In addition to attending Committee meetings in the Guildhall, I have also been meeting businesses in Tower ward hearing how they are preparing for the Brexit negotiations which are due to start in March.  Here are some the other highlights from the last month.

In January I visited our Library and Community Centre on Artizan Street which has everything from toddler groups to pilates and life drawing happening at the centre.  It’s just outside Tower Ward on the other side of Aldgate.  Later in the month I visited the City Information Centre by St Paul’s, a great resource for visitors and workers alike. They have a range of London souvenirs which are well worth checking out.  The City of London Corporation certainly supports a very wide range of resources for residents, workers and visitors.

I attended the reception to mark the re-opening of Tower Bridge with fellow Tower Common Councilmen James Tumbridge and Marianne Fredericks.  Chairman of Planning and Transportation Chris Hayward thanked all those involved with the essential maintenance works which were completed a week ahead of schedule in December.  Thanks to residents and local businesses for your understanding during this time.

At the end of January it was great to see so many residents and workers in Tower Ward at our annual reception, kindly hosted by Reignwood Investments Ltd and the Four Seasons Hotel.  Deputy Roger Chadwick, Marianne Fredericks, James Tumbridge and I really value these informal opportunities to keep in touch with old friends and welcome new comers to Tower Ward.

Looking after London’s archives

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As a member of the Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee I visited the London Metropolitan Archives in December.  The archives are managed by the City of London Corporation and are an amazing resource for the whole of London.  From scrolls to documentary content the archives chart the lives of Londoners, our authorities’ deciimg_8090sions, our loves and how our City has been planned.

The Archives have a small exhibition space which featured a great love at the end of 2016, cake!  From February – July 2017 they will feature the faces of Londoners in an exhibition entitled ‘The Londoners: portrait of a working City‘.

2017 also marks the 950th anniversary of the oldest item in the archives – the William Charter.  It was given by King William I to the City in 1067 and sets out the Kings intention to greet the citizens of London in a ‘friendly fashion’ and the laws and customs of the City will be respected.  Do take the chance to see this unique piece of our City’s heritage at the Guildhall Art Gallery whilst you can!  It’s on display until 27 April 2017.

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Picture of the William Charter on the menu for the Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee Dinner, 31 January 2017.

New building planned on Vine Street/Crosswall/Crutched Friars

I visited an exhibition of plans for the redevelopment of the Emperor House and Roman Wall House site on Vine Street yesterday. The redevelopment will involve accommodation for around 600 students, office space for mid sized firms and an incubator area where start ups will be able to rent space at low cost. In addition a section of London’s Roman wall will be on display to the public – here I am with a section of the wall in the basement – it used to have photocopiers next to it!

It was good to hear that local residents and businesses had been in to see the plans. The Planning Committee will be considering the application to amend the current planning permission for the site in January. Do let me know what you think.

The future of finance and the UK

This last week has involved a series of significant speeches in the City on the future of finance and the UK after our vote to leave the EU.

Financial regulation should be reaching a more stable period after a decade of far reaching reforms aimed at tackling the causes of the financial crisis.

On Wednesday at the Mansion House Andrew Bailey, the new head of the Financial Conduct Authority, gave a speech where tackling sharp practice in firms and ensuring that more vulnerable customers are protected were at the heart of his speech. Bailey also reflected on the challenges of building up financial resilience in younger generations where home ownership and pensions saving is significantly lower.

Sam Woods, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England head of the Prudential Regulation Authority then went on to call an end to the financial regulatory revolution post crisis. He made clear that there would be no move to undo the current regulatory environment which is largely currently implemented through European regulation. He did however highlight areas where the current regime could be tweaked to improve the competition position of smaller banking institutions.


These comments on not pushing for a massive deregulation during the Brexit process where echoed by the Lord Mayor. He outlined the strengths of the City and how we can help the Brexit process:

‘We can help them by conceiving and communicating our vision for the future of UK financial services. A vision that will provide Government with trusted intelligence, inform their negotiating position, and help set the foundations for a Brexit deal that works well for both the UK and the EU.’

The following evening the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and the City of London’s Chair of Policy and Resources Mark Boleat addresses the annual dinner of the Corporation’s key decision making Committee.

In front of a wide range of London leaders from politics, culture, education and finance, Mark Boleat made it clear that the success of London could not be replicated in other EU cities and that some jobs in our unique mix of professional and financial services are more likely to relocate to New York than within Europe. Mark declared that the Corporation will continue to make the case for preserving our open and successful capital.


Mark Boleat speaking at a dinner in the Museum of London

Sadiq Khan spoke about the need to listen to the concerns of the City in the Brexit process. He said that ‘for Britain to continue to prosper, we need our financial services industry to continue to prosper too.’ He went on to say that ‘I’m confident there’s a deal to be done – a unique deal that works in the interests of London, Britain and Europe.’
This last week the City of London Corporation has done what it does best – bringing together business, regulatory and political leaders together to discuss our shared future.

I’m determined to use my role as a member of the City of London to support this work. I too believe that we can find a deal with our European partners where our services sector can continue to flourish in Europe and beyond. Working together to make sure the implications of the choices the Government and others will take in the coming years will be the most successful way to drive this negotiation and end up with a successful outcome.


With fellow City of London Common Councilman Tom Sleigh and the Mayor of London.