Friday, 12 February 2016

From Battersea to the Barrier

To Lambeth Palace, London home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, for Battersea to the Barrier, a consultation on the huge changes taking place on the south bank of the river between Battersea (in the west) and the Thames Barrier (in the east).

The Mayor of London's thames-side 'opportunity areas' suggest there is scope for the construction of 60,000 homes and the creation of 93,000 jobs in the next few years bringing huge changes to the seventeen riverside parishes which include St James.

Council leaders, including Peter Johns, leader of Southwark Council, directors of housing and planning, architects, archdeacons, developers, the deputy mayor of London (Policy and Planning), bishops, and vicars, came to the meeting convened by the Archbishop and the Dean of Southwark, to consider what makes for the good of the city as whole.

The panel at the front were each asked to answer the question: 'a good city for all: what is your part in creating it?' and this was followed by questions and comments from the floor.

With a huge growth in London's population forecast, with a desperate need for housing, with London contributing 25 per cent of the national GDP, there are big challenges ahead.

One of the biggest challenges comes, of course, in the phrase 'for all.' For the poorer residents of the riverside parishes that is a crucial question.

For the church there is a challenge to catch up with the changes - and even be ahead of the game. (Why aren't schemes coming forward with church buildings at the centre?, mused the leader of Southwark Council) - and then there is that very intriguing statistic offered by one speaker: London has the highhest rates of churchgoing of any city in Europe.

That suggests a real opportunity for the church to make an impact for the good of the city.

A really good morning with much thought for thought. Thank you, Archbishop Justin

See the Battersea to the Barrier website for further details of the project.

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