"London First chief executive Jo Valentine sends us her thoughts from the MIPIM property exhibition, south of France" (12 March 2015)
"Ah. I have just come from playing the piano on the Arup yacht!
"Well, and giving a brief speech on 'transport leading to development', followed by a discussion. Victoria Hills, director at the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation, also spoke on the Old Oak Common Mayoral Development Corporation. Both a huge challenge and opportunity. Having both a Crossrail and HS2 station is quite something.
"Ed Lister was in thoroughly good form at our annual bash for about 100 of the leading property people in Cannes.
"He rightly claimed that London had done well on investment in infrastructure and jobs growth during this Mayoral term. However, we are less productive than New York. If we could match their productivity that would equate to 500,000 jobs.
"He referred to the new cultural quarter in Stratford (the one Boris calls Olympicopolis) and how the V & A, UCL and Saddlers Wells moving in were helping to completely redefine the area.
"We talked about how to get house building up. His advice to the next Mayor is 'do more Mayoral Development Corporations'. [That might have stopped the London Borough of Barnet's corrupt Brent Cross Cricklewood planning consent.]
"He also urged everyone to reply to the current consultation on S106 (developer contributions to the wider community) which is suggesting that these should be agreed within 16 weeks (some take as long as two years!)
"Very good tone to the event generally – and pleased that George Iacobescu, chairman and chief executive of Canary Wharf Group, came straight from the airport to attend. (Just in case anyone’s confused by takeover arrangements, he’s very much still in charge!)
"I also saw Claire Kober, leader of Haringey council. All sorts of interesting bits and pieces – making sure we get speedy rail access to Stansted as soon as possible, the football club and its expansion plans, further regeneration plans around Tottenham Hale with a wonderful green lung. Good news on investment in rail access within London (known as the star project).
"On to lunch with Segro. who own land around Old Oak Common; everything connects in MIPIM) – I think the biggest industrial land owner in London; Park Royal and much more, plus what was called the 'Slough Estates' – important connection to Heathrow. [sic]
"A parting thought, since we recently released a report on the truth about the greenbelt – last night someone described the Wormwood Scrubs greenbelt land as a 'dogs’ toilet', which should be traded for some much better open space."