With a population of 8.9 million people, London is the most densely populated region and the capital of England. The city has a strategically strong position both on national and local levels, especially in terms of its plans. The London Plan, made with 20-year terms, is a spatial plan consisting of strategic decisions that cover the Greater London region (the metropolitan boundaries of the city).
Greater London Authority prepared the first London Plan in 2002 as a draft. The principles of the plan were to protect the open spaces from urban growth and to make London more liveable, prosperous, greener, attractive, and accessible in terms of urban amenities. In 2008, new principles for mitigating the effects of climate change, a healthier city, and anti-discrimination were added to the plan. With the change to Conservative Party Mayor in 2011, some of the principles in the plan changed, and principles on overcoming the challenges of economic and demographic growth, increasing London's competitiveness, and increasing commercial opportunities and employment opportunities have been added. The plan was published again in 2015 as “London Plan 2016”. The plan brought together transportation, economic growth, housing, cultural policies, social and environmental issues, and geographical and regional strategies under different themes. The Mayor changed back to a Labour Mayor in 2016, who published his new draft plan in December 2017. The draft was published for public consultation in August 2018.
At the Vision 2050 Office, we listened to Lisa Fairmaner, the Head of the London Plan and Growth Strategies for the Greater London Authority and their team, about the “London Plan 2019”. Some of the headlines from Fairmaner's presentation at the meeting held on September 9, 2020, were as follows:
- The current London plan was prepared in 2016 under the direction of Boris Johnson, who was then-Mayor of London and is now Prime Minister.
- Sadiq Khan, the new mayor elected in 2016, published a high-level consultation document “City for All Londoners” in October 2016.
- This document was then translated into a draft new London Plan which was published for consultation in December 2017
- The draft Plan was subject to an Examination in Public between January and May 2019.
- This new London Plan was still with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities, and Local Government, the government Minister with powers relating to the London Plan, at the time of the meeting.
- This is the first time the government has ‘directed’ a London Plan to be changed.
- The London Plan should deal only with matters of strategic importance to Greater London. These do not have to affect all parts of London (the Plan will likely contain policies promoting the distinctive roles of central, inner, and outer London), but have to be of significance to the wider interests of the capital.
- The Mayor will ensure that targets do not become an end in themselves and plans developed at a local level must generally conform with the London Plan. Ensuring an appropriate balance has been struck is one of the matters considered at an examination in public.
The six basic objectives of the plan are as follows:
- Building strong and inclusive communities
- Making the best use of land
- Creating a healthy city
- Delivering the homes Londoners need
- Growing a good economy
- Increasing efficiency and resilience
The nine different chapters of the plan are as follows:
- Spatial development patterns
- Social infrastructure
- Heritage and culture
- Green infrastructure and natural environment
- Sustainable infrastructure