London’s growth needs proper planning

Last Thursday I chaired a London Assembly Planning Committee meeting on the massive growth of London, which I blogged about beforehand here.

We heard that London is likely to be home to more than 9 million people by 2020 and 10 million by the 2030s. We need to start planning now to accommodate that growth. Where will 300,000 more children go to school? Where will 50,000 new homes be built every year? How can we fit the additional 16 million square metres of playing fields needed based on current provision levels.

The Committee invited experts – demographers, planners, economists – to get an understanding of the size of this growth and its impact on peoples’ lives. We also explored different approaches to accommodating new population and jobs, from continuing the current policy of the ‘compact city’ (building on brownfield and densifying existing areas) to more controversial options like building on the Green Belt and open space, or expanding outside the boundaries of Greater London.

The meeting generated interest in the national, local, and trade media:
ITV – How to cope with London’s population explosion
Kensington and Chelsea TodayLondon’s population surge could mean 300,000 more school places needed by 2031
East London AdvertiserMore East End kids get first choice primary school than London average
Local Government Executive London needs 300,000 extra school places by 2031, expert says

Thursday’s session kicked off our ongoing investigation into the Future Growth of London. If you have any thoughts on how to accommodate the new population and jobs, please email me at

The Mayor has committed to ensuring Londoners enjoy a good and improving quality of life but to achieve this in the face of such population growth, he faces some difficult decisions. As he gets set for next month’s release of the 2020 Vision – a seven-point plan for how London and its economy should look by 2020 – and makes early preparations this summer for major revisions to the London Plan, the Committee will monitor these decisions to make sure they are the right ones for London: for our economy, our environment, and our quality of life.


About nickygavron

Former Deputy Mayor of London. London Assembly Member, Chair of Planning Committee, and GLA Labour Spokesperson for Planning. NPF Member.
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2 Responses to London’s growth needs proper planning

  1. It was a very interesting meeting but one thing it completely missed was that London is only managing even the current rate of housing growth is through strategies which include the wholesale clearing of council estates and the more widespread pricing-out of middle- and low-income people.That’s the opposite of sustainability for established communities. We wrote you a letter about this (reproduced at )

  2. Anon says:

    London has a poor quality of life. It is fine if you can afford to live in Zone 1 or Zone 2, but the rest of London, life is a struggle and it is pretty depressing. Full of cheap tatty shop or clone chain shops.

    I feel joyous when I came to Central London or discover a nice part of London, but if you live elsewhere it is pretty rubbish and miserable. Some of us have been waiting for regeneration and it is not coming. Olympics come and gone. Rather then adding more people into this city, how about trying to figure how to improve the quality of London for the rest of us, who can only dream of living in Zone 1 or Zone 2.

    As for our housing shortage, the obvious answer is to tear down housing and replace with blocks of flats, but we are very bad at high rises or buiding neighbourhoods. Flats in blocks have high service charges. In France, they have one flat for the live-in concierge…..

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