Gender neutral loos and flags for minorities to celebrate diversity at the new City Hall

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Gender neutral loos and flags for minorities to celebrate diversity at the new City Hall
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Sadiq Khan plans to “celebrate London’s incredible diversity” at his new City Hall with gender neutraltoilets and flags recognising London’s minority communities.

The £13.6 million move to The Crystal, in the Royal Docks, has been hit by delays but the building is due to become the new home of the Greater London Authority by Christmas.

Planning permission has been secured from Newham council to fly a “rolling programme” of flags from three 10-metre flagpoles outside the building.

These will celebrate Windrush, Pride, Bi-Visibility, Gender Day, Lesbian Pride, Transgender people, the Suffragette movement, the London Living Wage, VE Day, the capital’s status as National Park City and the Mayor’s London Everyone Welcome post-pandemic tourism campaign.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan plans to celebrate London’s incredible diversity (PA)
London Mayor Sadiq Khan plans to celebrate London’s incredible diversity (PA)

Planning permission is not required for national flags such as the Union Flag and patron saint flags such as the St George’s flag.

Labour mayor Mr Khan, who is often accused of “virtue signalling” by his critics, has flown the EU flag outside the current City Hall and featured it in the New Year fireworks.

Moving to The Crystal, which is owned by the GLA, is meant to save £61 million over five years. But it is half the size of the purpose-built City Hall, beside Tower Bridge, so many GLA staff will have to continue working from home.

Permission has also been granted to cover a 66-space staff bike shed in ivy to enhance its green credentials. A City Hall spokesman said all lavatories would be gender neutral.

There would be 50 short-stay bike racks for visitors but a “Boris bike” docking station depended on government funding.

Planning permission had been secured in advance for the flags to avoid needing to obtain “ad hoc” permission to mark certain weeks or months.

“[The Mayor] will also continue to tackle discrimination and celebrate London’s incredible diversity — one of our city’s greatest strengths,” his spokesman said.

“That’s why the permission to fly different flags outside The Crystal building will be exactly the same as for the current City Hall building.”

Andrew Boff, a Conservative member of the London Assembly, said: “City Hall will soon be homeless because the Crystal isn’t ready, but at least the Mayor’s won approval for some obscure flags.

“Waving a National Park City banner won’t plant more trees … It wouldn’t be Sadiq Khan’s building without delays, soaring bills and virtue signalling.”

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