Planning professionals in London have called on the capital’s new mayor to tackle housing, infrastructure provision, pollution and energy resilience, to ensure London retains its place in the world.
A manifesto from the London region of the Royal Town Planning Institute puts forward nine planning priorities for the new mayor, which it says will stimulate economic growth as well as tackling key issues. The list was drawn up following a consultation exercise across the capital and south east, including a major survey of RTPI members.
The issues were also debated at a recent wider event, a built environment hustings that saw an audience hear from the five main parties competing at the mayoral election.
The planning priorities have been summarised under nine key points, which are:
• increasing the supply of housing that is genuinely affordable
• empowering local authorities to get involved in solving the housing issue
• ensuring infrastructure is there to support growth
• a focus on air pollution and low carbon transport
• demonstrable leadership on climate change
• reducing energy demand to improve resilience
• integrating green infrastructure and healthcare into decision making
• helping to develop the London economy
• better co-operation with the south east on strategic issues
“This is an ambitious programme for the future of London, which we believe the planning profession can make a major contribution to,” said Andrew Dorrian, chair of RTPI London. “The role of the next mayor, their agencies and properly resourced local planning authorities, will continue to be critical in tackling some of the major challenges the city faces, such as population growth, housing supply and affordability, transport capacity, air quality and resilience to climate change.”
“On the critical issue of housing, the new mayor should focus on supporting the public sector to play a larger role in the delivery of housing, including affordable homes for social rent and shared ownership. This can be achieved by lobbying central government to raise the borrowing cap for local authorities, supporting land assembly and remediation, and offering central technical assistance to make sure that land assets are used in a way that benefits local communities and generates long-term revenue streams.”
LPA Perspective: The new mayor will have plenty to digest, so here’s a useful shortlist, which has been culled from the views of planning professionals – real people working in private practice and local authorities around the capital.
The list may cover the usual suspects, such as housing, but it is also an important reminder that planning can and should cover other aspects around the built environment. If London is to become more energy resilient, how about generating more of it locally, on rooftops? And some are already worrying about a mass move to low carbon transport, with its potentially major knock-on effect on electricity demand.
The challenge for the RTPI will be in continuing to push on the new mayor’s office door, to ensure he gets to hear the views of the profession. There are plenty of other supporters, too, for the manifesto items, among the current members of various committees within the London Assembly – individuals who, it is to be hoped, will still be actively involved once the new mayor arrives.