Johnson outlines vision in London Plan consultation

Planners and business groups have given a mixed reception to the London Plan, released for consultation this week.

London mayor Boris Johnson's strategic vision for the capital includes plans to scrap the percentage targets for affordable housing, to be replaced with numerical targets for each borough. It also proposes to formalise a levy on major development to fund Crossrail. Overall, Johnson hopes to achieve a 60 per cent reduction in carbon emissions in the capital by 2025.

Savills central London planning team director Michael Derbyshire responded: "We welcome these initial outlines. It is clear that the mayor sees this plan as very much his own vision for the capital by taking a more pragmatic approach and reducing the interference of central government."

Derbyshire remarked that there is a major focus on affordable housing in the plan, with 22 of the 33 boroughs acquiring higher targets after the percentage methods are scrapped.

North London Strategic Alliance deputy director Stephen King also welcomed the proposals: "It is still early days but we feel that they can help the Outer London Commission meet employment and housing targets."

But he added: "Perhaps more could be done in terms of long-term transport investment, although in the current economic situation it is understandable."

Also launched this week were two further draft policy documents outlining the mayor's strategies for transport and economic development. The former proposes construction of a second Crossrail line from Chelsea to Hackney after 2020.

The mayor will appear before the London Assembly transport committee next Tuesday to inform its response to the strategy. But Labour assembly transport spokeswoman Val Shawcross has already criticised Johnson's lack of vision. "Given the challenges ahead, the mayor should be ambitious about the future of transport in London so these plans are disappointing," she said.

The assembly's economic development, culture, sport and tourism committee will discuss Johnson's draft economic strategy with mayoral policy director for economic development Anthony Browne and London Development Agency representatives on 2 December.

The replacement plan is set to be published in 2011 after an examination in public next summer. The final versions of transport and economic strategies are expected next spring.

The London Plan is available at PlanningResource.co.uk/doc.


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