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GLA slams Ken Livingstone's strategy for London's future

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The Greater London Assembly has published a damning report on mayor Ken Livingstone's 'London Plan', the spatial development strategy intended to guide the capital's development for the next two decades.

Livingstone has received 469 responses - both collective and individual - to his draft plan, but these comments will not be made available until the end of the year. Public consultation finished on Tuesday. But the Assembly's spatial development investigative committee, chaired by Conservative member Bob Neill, made its own report public before the consultation period was officially over.

Although the report makes some positive remarks about the document, members were not convinced on several counts. Criticisms included: the impracticalities of delivering affordable housing; insufficient detail on the tall buildings policy; and 'too much' attention focused on the city centre, at the expense of the suburbs.

The report also lambasts Livingstone for presenting just one way forward, rather than a range of options. Continued economic growth, population increase and recentralisation are not necessarily inevitable, says the report. 'The committee is concerned that the mayor has presented only one scenario. Whilst we fully expect a strong executive mayor to exercise leadership, we believe there are serious risks inherent in presenting too narrow a range of policy options, ' it says.

But a spokeswoman for Livingstone said this criticism was 'not fair', insisting that current projections showed that London had to prepare for both centralisation and a continued rise in population. 'We have to prepare for growth, ' she said.

A new draft of the 'London Plan' will be published at the end of the year, with comments from the consultation process and an explanation of how they were fed into the plan. The final report will not be ready for about another year.

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