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£100 billion London Plan puts focus on intensifying land use

Mayor Ken Livingstone has outlined his comprehensive plan for development of the entire capital in the London Plan, published this week. It promotes a massive programme of investment, estimated at £100 billion, in transport infrastructure, office space and housing.

The draft plan, which is based on predictions of major economic and population growth, attempts to guide what Livingstone sees as the inevitable development of London. The plan proposes a more intense use of available land, higher densities and the re-use of brownfield sites.

Key to the plan is the 'intensification' of development, both within the city centre and suburban town centres.

It identifies key areas for development - in central London and the Isle of Dogs - and additional areas of opportunity including Paddington, Waterloo, London Bridge, Stratford, Elephant and Castle and Croydon.

In order to meet the predictions that 700,000 more people would be living in London by 2016 - equal to absorbing a city the size of Leeds - the plan proposes 6.4-8.6 million m 2of extra office space by 2016. It calls for 23,000 new homes to be built per year, at least 50 per cent of which will be affordable.

However, with its commitment to protection of the Green Belt and ban on construction on open green space, the proposals rely on a major increase in densities. In certain areas, this will be through building tall. Livingstone has identified key areas for tall buildings at transport interchanges including Paddington, London Bridge and Croydon.

Through Crossrail 1 and Crossrail 2, trams and improved pedestrian and cycle links, the plan aims to improve transport infrastructure. And it intends to restrict the use of cars through congestion charges.

Livingstone is also committed to affordable housing and the plan insists on a target of 50 per cent - although it admits more public subsidy will be needed.

Livingstone has consistently spoken out in favour of tall buildings, which he believes are crucial to the aim of increasing population density and the plan further outlines the planning policies that he will use to encourage development.

INTENSIFICATION - DESIGN FOR A COMPACT CITY

According to the draft plan, the mayor and boroughs will encourage, support and require developments to:

Maximise the potential of sites

Create or enhance the public realm

Provide or enhance a mix of uses

Be accessible, usable and permeable for all users

Be sustainable, durable and adaptable

Be safe for occupants and passers-by

Respect local context and communities

Be inspiring, exciting, delighting, practical and legible

Connect with the natural environment

The draft plan states that these principles should be used in assessing planning applications in drawing up area development frameworks and UDP policies.Urban design statements showing how they have been incorporated should be submitted as part of proposals that have significant design impacts.

PROMOTING WORLD-CLASS ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN

The draft London Plan states that the mayor will seek to promote the world-class design the capital needs, by collaborating with partners, to:

Prepare design guidelines for London

Prepare supplementary guidance on an inclusive and accessible environment

Prepare supplementary guidance on sustainable design and construction

Produce a public realm strategy for London to improve the look and feel of London's streets and spaces

Promote improvements to London's public realm through the mayor's 100 Spaces for London programme

Promote community involvement, competitive selection of designers and design-led change in key locations through the involvement of the GLA Architecture and Urbanism Unit

TALL AND LARGE-SCALE BUILDINGS - LOCATION, DESIGN AND IMPACT

The report says tall buildings will be particularly appropriate where they create attractive landmarks enhancing London's character or help to create a coherent location for economic clusters.

All large-scale buildings, including tall buildings, should be of the highest quality design and in particular:

Be appropriate in terms of their impact on managed views and historic monuments

Be suited to their wider context in terms of proportion and composition and in terms of their relationship to other buildings

Be attractive city elements as viewed from all angles and where appropriate contribute to an interesting skyline lIllustrate exemplary standards of sustainable construction and resource management

Be appropriate to the transport capacity to the local area lContain a mix of uses with public access such as ground floor retail and cafes

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