Letter to the Times on Recovery Taskforce and City heritage

The following letter was issued in response to a comment article in the Times on May 21.


Sir, Sathnam Sanghera (May 21) paints an anachronistic image of the City of London and incorrectly suggests that we do not value our historical heritage.


Prior to the pandemic, there were 7.4 million visits to City attractions annually, a 50% increase over the last 10 years. Anybody who regularly walks around the Square Mile will know that domestic and overseas visitors flock to many of our heritage assets such as St Paul’s Cathedral or Tower Bridge.


As the fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK, the City of London Corporation looks forward to welcoming back these people as restrictions are eased.


But, of course, the Square Mile is not only about heritage and must continue to reinvent itself. That is why we are exploring creative ideas to attract new leisure visitors from diverse backgrounds in line with our vision of a 24/7 City. Our visitors – all 22m of them pre-pandemic – enjoy the amazing offer from hospitality and retail to culture.


It is also wrong to suggest that the City’s world-class architectural offering is closed to the public. There are more than a dozen developments that are complete, under construction or resolved to grant planning permission in the City that offer free to visit elevated public spaces. We are creating more space at ground level and walkways so that people can enjoy this architecture from close up.


Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the capital’s tourism and cultural sectors. We want to make sure the City builds back better and remains a vibrant destination for future generations of visitors to come.


Catherine McGuinness

Policy Chair, City of London Corporation




Alastair Moss

Planning and Transportation Chair, City of London Corporation