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Draft London Plan 2017: Are things about to change in London?

Posted 29/11/2017

by Kieron Hodgson

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The eagerly-anticipated new London Plan is set to be published later today.

As a relatively new Mayor, Sadiq Khan is looking to make his mark with a flagship policy agenda and set the tone for his next three years in office (and beyond if he is re-elected in 2020).

The challenge is enormous. The need for development in London, particularly in housing, has never been as acute as it is today. Yet, at the same time, shifting economic and consumer patterns mean that London is also facing a shortage of industrial land.

The London Plan 2017 is under significant pressure to deliver. As an early Christmas wish list, I hope that it achieves the following:

• A more strategic and spatially-focused Plan which defines the key locations for growth. This means more maps and fewer words, while also providing direction to London’s 32 boroughs.

• The Plan should offer a ‘no-excuses’ approach to development, with a clear expectation that all boroughs follow a pro-growth agenda.

• There should be an uptick in density and recognition that densities shall be optimised across London, especially at transport nodes, town centres, and opportunity and regeneration areas. Particular hubs for growth should include Croydon, Barking and Dagenham and Newham.

• Housing: it cannot be repeated enough that we need much more of every single type and tenure of home in every location in London – be it Build-to-Rent, shared ownership, private market or social rent.

• Commercial space – much more of this too. The London Plan should welcome and specifically encourage commercial development and define areas where this may take precedence over residential.

• Delivery is critical. The Plan should set out how progress is going to be reported and measured and who is accountable for the achievement of targets.

Until this afternoon we can only speculate. But what is clear is that London is at a critical juncture, and we need an ambitious Plan that is resoundingly pro-growth and puts delivery at centre stage. Bold policies, like those I’ve listed above, would make great strides towards this.