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LONDON-Mayor Ken Livingstone’s draft London Plan has received broad support from London planners and brokers. Under the proposal 23,000 new homes and up to seven million sf of new office space will be required every year to accommodate an expected influx of 700,000 new Londoners over the next 15 years.

Judith Salomon, Director of Property and Planning for the regeneration agency London First, said: “We welcome the commitment to maintain and enhance London’s status as a global city. Creating the conditions for London’s growth sectors to succeed is essential to generating the jobs needed to match its increasing population.”

However she warned: “Investment in new and existing transport infrastructure is critical to delivering growth and increased density of development, especially in the Thames Gateway, which will be identified as the major opportunity area. In effect this means building Crossrail, which requires Government commitment and funding, and the three new Thames Gateway river crossings which are essential for regeneration.”

And she echoed private housebuilders’ concerns that under the new plan 50% of all new homes must be ‘affordable’. “A requirement for 50% housing to be affordable will simply add to the cost of new housing development and so reduce total supply,” she said.

And Nick de Lotbiniere, Planning Partner at GVA Grimley, agreed: “Whilst based on good intentions, raising the target for affordable housing to 50% on all housing schemes–large and small–could have a devastating effect on house building in London.”

But the Corporation of London, which has the potential to be a thorn in Livingstone’s side with its semi-autonomous powers in the City of London, expressed support. A spokesman said: “Every major city needs an overall co-ordinated strategy, and London has been without one for many years now. The fact we are one step closer to a new strategy is warmly welcomed.”

And GVA Grimley Planning Partner Mary Power warned that Livingstone’s good intentions may not be deliverable. “The plan directs high density development towards public transport nodes, encourages the re-use of brownfield sites and seeks the protection of the green belt and open space. These principles should be encouraged but, again, implementation is likely to be held up by the overlay of conservation and other amenity area designations,” she said.

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