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Will the new London Plan deliver for London?

Sara Parkinson, Programme Director, London First

For the first time in almost a decade, a new London Plan will be published for consultation on 29 November.  The Plan will set out the Mayor’s strategic policies to guide development and growth in the capital, and also set the framework for determining planning applications.  This is one of the most significant milestones for Sadiq Khan.

Since the last administration London First has been influencing and informing the GLA’s plan using evidence from member consultation. Over the past 18 months we’ve continued this work with Sadiq’s team, drawing up ‘key asks’ on the most important issues for London including housing and economic development.

London is not delivering enough homes and is falling far short of meeting its annual housing target. The most crucial role for the Plan is to set out the scale and areas of growth expected in the capital and provide a clear framework for how this will be delivered.

The new Plan should set an expectation for all boroughs to be pro-growth, meeting both their own housing need and contributing towards pan-London housing need. It should be clear that boroughs will not be able to ‘opt out’ of growth. It’s important the Plan outlines how outer London boroughs will be expected to significantly increase housing delivery, addressing constraints to land supply through its more detailed policies.  For example, on increased densities; industrial land consolidation, co-location and bottom up reviews of Green Belt.

As the density matrix is being scrapped and boroughs will be required to identify locations for tall buildings, the Mayor must take a firmer stance with boroughs. It’s vital he sets out how he will use his planning powers, and intervene where required, to ensure boroughs deliver effective density borough wide, not just in one chosen location.

We understand the new Plan’s policies will push for even greater densification and making the best use of land. This includes new policies that will push the boundaries of mixed use development, consolidating and intensifying existing uses such as retail, office space and industrial land promoting co-location with residential.

Whilst we welcome this, it’s only part of the solution for delivering the homes and jobs London needs. Borough led green belt reviews, subject to robust evidence, are essential to unlock land for new homes and business growth, tapping into opportunities from major infrastructure projects like the Bakerloo line extension, Heathrow expansion and Crossrail 2.

It’s also essential the new Plan supports and encourages economic growth to create new jobs and deliver the services London needs across retail, leisure, office and industry. We have set out how the plan and its policies should enable this.

Our work on influencing and shaping the plan will continue through the consultation period ending 4 March and throughout 2018 towards the Examination in Public.

If you would like more insight on the plan and its implications or would like to be more actively involved, please get in touch with Sara Parkinson.

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