‘Bourgeois NIMBYS’ – Boris Johnson’s opinion of Mount Pleasant residents

Islington’s London Assembly Member, Jennette Arnold, quizzed Mayor Boris Johnson during MPQs this week on his decision to call in Mount Pleasant.

Here’s a short film of her question and the Mayor’s answer:

And click HERE for an article by Jennette Arnold following her exchange.

The Mount Pleasant Forum has invited the Mayor to join us for a site visit and to meet local residents so that he can see firsthand our neighbourhood which, like most in London, is typically diverse. To describe us a ‘Bourgeois NIMBYS’ is entertaining of course, but this easy and inaccurate headline belies a very real concern about how well placed our Mayor is to decide the fate of this vitally important development.

Anyone that knows Mount Pleasant knows it is anything but bourgeois, though if the RMG are allowed to get their way with 88% private luxury dwellings it will certainly push the demographics in that direction. Mount Pleasant is not the Georgian Islington that Boris inhabits.

The Mount Pleasant Forum recently invited the Mayor to our neighbourhood to meet the locals. We have yet to receive a response from him, but in the light of his erroneous portrayal we feel compelled to invite him again to join us for a walk around Mount Pleasant followed by a cup of tea in the community hall that serves one of the many surrounding council estates and where we hold our meetings.

He may be surprised to find a community not only desperate for the swift development of Mount Pleasant, but also armed with their own alternative scheme that, quite by chance, corresponds with his own passion for reviving London’s lost rivers. Great minds think alike! The River Fleet, which became an awful sewer, once ran through the middle of the site along what is now the equally awful rat-run, Phoenix Place. What better legacy for this former death-delivering cesspit than its conversion into a linear park through the heart of a new development – a vital green lung breathing life into 21st century London.

Yes, the local communities have challenged the RMG’s exclusive luxury development and wish to propose an alternative scheme with more open space, public amenities and more affordable housing, but this is not the behaviour of bourgeois NIMBYs. It reflects the enduring pride of true Londoners, who relish development in their backyard as long as it places public interests above private.

Boris, if you are genuinely opposed to bourgeois NIMBYs, you ought to reject the RMG’s offer at Mount Pleasant, which will attract them like flies round the dung heap that the area once was (around the time your own home was being built in Islington). When looking out from their glass towers, the incoming bourgeoisie at Mount Pleasant will be horrified to see council housing in every direction and soon be erecting gates to keep out the riffraff.

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4 thoughts on “‘Bourgeois NIMBYS’ – Boris Johnson’s opinion of Mount Pleasant residents

  1. Such a silly, cliched and most of all WRONG response to residents’ concerns by way of Boris Johnson. It is actually a very mixed neighbourhood and as the Mayor should know if he actually read local objections, it’s by no means anti-development of the site – it’s primarily against its poor and overbearing design.

  2. Considering that I used to see Boris Johnson ride down Margery St all the time on the way to the Spectator offices, he should know very well that there are many council estates around here! He may not realise how much of the terraced house are also council/HA owned, but still! And we are asking for more affordable/social housing, not less. A new low in odious mendacity.

  3. A very interesting article. The London Mayor has previously made a commitment to opening up the old waterways and “lost” rivers. I had no idea that this possibility existed on this site. Why is he not sticking to his own declared policies and areas of interest? Does he merely like to make promises without any intention of keeping his word?

    I made a search to see where else the Mayor had stamped on local opinion and found the below case in Fitzrovia. There are others….

    http://news.fitzrovia.org.uk/2011/09/21/mayor-of-london-approves-saatchi-block-despite-strong-opposition/

    http://news.fitzrovia.org.uk/2011/09/26/mayor-will-stifle-london-councils-ability-to-deliver-affordable-housing-and-other-amenities/

    http://www.camdennewjournal.com/letters/2011/oct/corporate-greed-wins-again

    http://news.fitzrovia.org.uk/2011/10/31/residents-and-small-businesses-must-not-become-a-subsidiary-to-this-corporate-juggernaut/

    http://news.fitzrovia.org.uk/2012/01/13/did-boris-johnson-have-a-conflict-of-interest-over-saatchi-block-decision/

    http://news.fitzrovia.org.uk/2013/09/20/boris-johnsons-housing-policy-is-feeding-a-developers-feast/

    Perhaps councils should be re-examining the Mayor’s planning powers. Unless London boroughs protest collectively, individual development projects will be called in one by one and supported by the Mayor. Developers know that they have his support. Only yesterday, the Brentford Stadium development, involving many tower blocks, was given the Boris Johnson nod of approval. Residents there are warning that the roads will not be able to cope with the sheer numbers involved.

    He represents unashamed corporate interests; and wants to be prime minister. God!

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