London looks to brownfield future

London’s large areas of brownfield land should enable it to house its rapidly growing population until at least 2025 says a new report on the capital’s infrastructure which warns it will need greater devolution and borrowing powers.

The London Infrastructure Plan 2050 aims to tackle the huge increase in infrastructure it will need in response to likely population growth from 8m to 11m.

Mayor Boris Johnson is pushing for greater fiscal devolution to London and England’s eight other “core cities”.

“This plan is a real wake up call to the stark needs that face London over the next half century,” said Mr Johnson.

“Infrastructure underpins everything we do and we all use it every day. Without a long term plan for investment and the political will to implement it this city will falter. Londoners need to know they will get the homes, water, energy, schools, transport, digital connectivity and better quality of life that they expect.”

The London Plan identified 33 brownfield opportunity areas capable of accommodating significant housing growth and the mayor has concluded these enable the capital to accommodate housing growth at least until 2025.

But the Infrastructure Plan says densities need to be increased in areas with good transport links, allowing inner London to accommodate most of the increase.

Semi-detached homes in the suburbs could accommodate a further 100,000 people and redeveloping 10% of them would accommodate 400,000.

“The capital’s railways, housing and schools will all require substantial investment just to accommodate the additional one and a half million Londoners who Government statisticians forecast will live in the capital within 15 years,” said London School of Economics director Tony Travers.

“In reality, with higher densities will come a disproportionately greater need for investment.”

He said the Plan would make it possible to draw up schemes and raise resources.

“Make no mistake, with London growing by 100,000 people a year, if we don’t deliver this extra investment then the capital will be a bigger but not better place in the future,” said London First director of strategy John Dickie.


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