Khan to explore 'much higher-density' housing development around transport nodes

Plans to focus more development in London's town centres and to intensify development around well-connected transport nodes in the city are set out in a consultation document published today by the London mayor Sadiq Khan.

London: document is first step towards creation of new London Plan (picture: Matt Buck, Flickr)
London: document is first step towards creation of new London Plan (picture: Matt Buck, Flickr)

The document, A City for all Londoners, is the first step towards the creation of a new London Plan, the over-arching spatial planning document for the capital, the mayor’s office said in a statement.

According to the consultation document, London’s population - which currently stands at 8.8 million - is set to reach 10.5 million by 2041, with an average increase of almost 44,000 households per year. "Experts say we will need to identify land in the capital to build at leat 50,000 homes every year between now and 2041," the document says.

The document pledges to "protect the green belt and other designated spaces". "That means taking bold measures to meet as much of the city’s growth demands within London," it says.

According to the document, the mayor wants to "see more development in town centres". "Many town centres across the city have good links into central London … As retail methods evolve and housing need increases, it makes sense to focus further development in these areas," it says.

Intensifying development around well-connected transport nodes will form an "important part" of the mayor’s vision for the city, the document says. "I will explore the potential of areas around a number of stations as locations for significant and much higher-density housing development," it says.

In the document, the mayor also pledges to be "creative in how we think about space and promote mixed-use activity".

"In some areas, industrial land may be surplus to current needs and could be better used for housing," it says. "It may be possible to relocate industry to other areas of the city without disrupting the economy or eroding the critical base of industrial land. And it may be feasible for housing and industrial activity to co-exist in certain locations."

In the document, the mayor promises to develop the city according to the principles of "good growth", which include ensuring accessible and affordable housing is included in new developments and ensuring that all new homes are of good design and quality and meet decent space standards.

Culture is another "important part" of the mayor’s vision for good growth, the document says.

"[Culture] can be too easily squeezed out because of wider development pressures, leading to a sterilisation of our city and a loss of the amenities which do so much to make London an amazing place to live and work," it says.

In the document, the mayor pledges to use the London Plan to "protect creative workspace, heritage and the night-time economy". The consultation document also reiterates the mayor’s pledge to explore the potential for policies in the London Plan "that would mean developers would bear the costs for soundproofing new homes, relieving pressure on the existing venues in an area - the ‘agent of change’ principle".

Supplementary planning guidance on the night-time economy will be published in the coming months, the document says.

It adds that the mayor wants to support smaller housebuilders and new development models, such as build-to-rent. The mayor plans to introduce planning policies that promote smaller sites, particularly in suburban areas, the document says.

The document also says that the mayor sees tall buildings "continuing to play a role in the future of London".

But it adds: "Tall buildings will only be permitted if they can add value to the existing community … That means they must make a positive contribution to the streetscape and skyline and that careful account must be taken on the way the building relates to activities at ground floor leave, as well as the effect they have on local daylight, wind turbulence, glare and noise."

The consultation closes on 11 December.

A City for All Londoners is available here.

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