Anger grows over London mayor’s ‘bully boy’ tactics as developer decides against ‘£1.45m contribution’

Land Securities has upped the ante in the deepening row between the Greater London Authority and developers over the planning levy demanded to pay for Crossrail.

A spokesperson for the developer said it was refusing to pay the charge – based on £213.30/m2 of office floor space – on its 38-storey Walkie-Talkie tower in the City until the levy became an official part of London planning rules.

This means the tower will not get planning approval before the law is enacted in spring 2010, unless the GLA backs down.

The spokesperson added that it was not negotiating with the GLA to pay a proportion of the charge. Land Securities has already said it has no plans to build the tower until the market improves.

As part of the stage one planning referral published last week, the GLA’s planning decisions unit said the Walkie-Talkie development was “required to make a [£1.45m] contribution based on this uplift towards Crossrail”.

The Land Secs spokesperson said: “We are aware that numbers are being bandied about but … there’s currently no legislation on the agreement, what it would be or how it would be applied.”

The GLA wants to raise £300m towards the £16bn Crossrail scheme through the tariff, but developers are accusing the body of jeopardising development in the city.

Bill Gloyn, president of the City Property Association said London mayor Boris Johnson was involved in “bully boy” tactics and was acting beyond his powers.

“He’s trying to put something through that he has no right to do before a public consultation. It’s not being done properly.”

The three-month public consultation on changing the London Plan to include the £213.30/m2 Crossrail levy will start in late March or early April.

The spokesperson agreed that Land Secs would be prepared to wait until the consultation was finished before getting planning approval on the scheme.