M10-13 Overall Spatial Development Strategy
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The Panel questions were: M10 Should the vast majority of London’s development needs be met within London?
a) Is the approach of seeking to accommodate the vast majority of identified development requirements between 2019 and 2041 within London justified and would so doing contribute to the objective of achieving sustainable development?
b) Alternatively, would accommodating more of London’s development needs in the wider South East and beyond better contribute to the objective of achieving sustainable development?
c) If so, is there a realistic prospect that such an approach in London and the wider South East could be delivered in the context of national policy and legislation?
M11. Is the strategic approach to accommodating development needs within London justified and consistent with national policy? In particular:
a) Is the focus on the Central Activities Zone, Town Centres, Opportunity Areas and through the intensification of existing built-up areas in inner and outer London whilst protecting the Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land justified and would it be effective in meeting identified needs and achieving sustainable development?
b) Alternatively, should some of London’s development needs be met through reviewing Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land in London?
M12. Is the broad spatial distribution of housing and employment development proposed in the Plan, including between inner and outer London10, justified and would it contribute to the objective of achieving sustainable development particularly in terms of minimising the need to travel and maximising the use of sustainable transport modes; building a strong, competitive economy; creating healthy, inclusive communities; and respecting the character and appearance of different parts of London?
M13. Would the Plan be effective in ensuring that adequate physical, environmental and social infrastructure is in place in a timely manner to support the amount and type of development proposed? In particular:
a) Is the development proposed in the Plan dependent on the provision of the infrastructure identified in the London Infrastructure Plan 2050 [NLP/EC/020]?
b) If so, is the strategy justified and would it be effective, bearing in mind that the delivery of some of the infrastructure projects is not certain and that there is an identified infrastructure funding gap of at least £3.1billion per year?
c) What, if any, strategic infrastructure other than that identified in the London Infrastructure Plan 2050 is likely to be needed to support the development proposed in the Plan?
On Tuesday 22nd January, the Examination in Public focused on the overall Spatial Development Strategy laid out in the New London Plan (NLP). The session ran over a full day and was the occasion to question the relevance (and likelihood) of meeting London’s housing, infrastructure and jobs needs within the GLA boundaries, following the ‘compact city’ approach laid out in the NLP. Overall, the discussions set out the scene for further thematic examination of the NLP’s approach to spatial development by highlighting that the housing targets it introduces would be extremely difficult to achieve, for multiple reasons.
Firstly, there is evidence of a consistent failure in meeting housing targets set out in past London plans. Various participants including Outer Boroughs, local authorities from the East of England and South East (together called Wider South East), house building organizations and community groups expressed concerns on the feasibility and consequences (in terms of density, displacement, etc.) of the objectives set out in the NLP (66,000 homes a year). LSE London and Just Space both highlighted that London’s footprint extends beyond its administrative boundaries and this has implications for housing markets beyond the GLA border. Similarly, major infrastructure projects – and national policies – do create connexions between London and its broader functional region. As a result, growth projections and housing strategies need to account for these effects and to engage with local authorities in the Wider South East in order to realistically assess what the appropriate (and realistic) response to housing needs and population growth might be. The point was made that more engagement from the Mayor (beyond the ‘willing partners’ approach) was needed to ensure mutually beneficial strategies could be laid out in collaboration with other local authorities. The GLA team responded this was something they were pursuing and that it would take time to engage in collaboration with partners outside the GLA.
Edited by Enora Robin from notes by Cecilia Colombo, Gabi Abadi, Sam Colchester, Alice Devenyns and Emma Woodward