How planning works in the world’s  favourite financial centre

The City Planning and Transportation Committee is a grand affair. Its 33 elected members represent the City’s 24 wards on a ‘non-party political basis’. It meets monthly (it has met fortnightly when business is brisk) and usually on a Tuesday morning in the Guildhall.

A phalanx of senior officers answers members’ questions and presents reports. Since the mid-1980s the City has burgeoned as Britain’s financial centre and extended its role as one of the world’s three major centres. The Committee has approved a distinctive set of mostly high-quality buildings and places which have renewed much of the City’s non-historic fabric. It is fundamentally pro-development, but can occasionally be quirky in its disapproval. It appears intensely traditional, but its courtly dispatch of business remains an appealing model of democratic tradition. For the past 25 years its guiding light has been City Planner Peter Rees whose witty and pithy observations leaven proceedings. City Planning offers an invaluable and detailed insight into the views of members and the approach of officers.