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Boris identifies five 'opportunity areas' for 35,000 homes

London mayor Boris Johnson has unveiled changes to his 2011 London Plan including five new ‘opportunity areas’ for 35,000 new homes

Under the revamped strategic document, the Old Kent Road corridor and Canada Water - both in Southwark - Old Oak Common  (Kensington and Chelsea) along with Bromley town centre and Harrow and Wealdstone are designated as ‘new opportunity areas’.

The new zones are described as ‘London’s main locations for new development over the next 25 years with significant capacity for new housing, commercial and other uses supported by existing or planned improvements to public transport’.

Old Oak Common in west London, which Terry Farrell has already drawn up a masterplan for as a potential ‘superhub’ for HS2 and Crossrail, has been earmarked for the largest amount of new houses - potentially up to 24,000 homes. The other four zones have provision for 11,000 houses.

Sheppard Robson partner Alan Shingler said the firm was ‘encouraged by initiatives that provide new opportunity areas to help address the capital’s housing shortage’.

But Shingler, whose practice has been at the forefront of the Barking Riverside regeneration (pictured), sounded a note of caution: ‘We wait with interest to see how quickly land can be released for development with support from local councils to deliver sustainable town centre intensification.’

And Invisible Studio founder Piers Taylor also welcomed the re-jigged plan: ‘It has to be a good thing to create new housing within these existing settlements rather than the half-baked garden city plans,’ said Taylor.

But Taylor warned that little of the work would go to smaller architectural practices: ‘In the spirit of the ambition to protect small business it would be good for this work to go to small practices.

‘I doubt it will though as the potential of the architect is not understood by the government.

‘They will be packed up by the big developers, and if any architect is used at all, they will be dispensed at the first opportunity,’ said Taylor.

The changes to the 2011 document, officially called The Further Alterations to the London Plan, are open to a 12 week public consultation and are likely to be adopted by mid 2015.

To take part in the consultation visit  http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/planning/london-plan/further-alterations 

Other plans laid out in the amended 2011 Plan include:

Other proposed changes to the 2011 London Plan

  • Promoting a strategic forward-looking approach to the delivery of new electricity infrastructure 
  • Committing to nurture the growing digital-creative cluster at Tech City in Shoreditch
  • Exploring the potential for a medical research cluster at Whitechapel associated with the Queen Mary University London
  • Funding through the Mayor’s Vision for Cycling for the transformation of up to four outer London borough town centres into cycle friendly mini-Hollands
  • Creation of cycling ‘Quietways’ and improving parking provisions for bikes

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