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Boris unveils plan for huge eastward expansion of London

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London mayor, Boris Johnson, has launched a framework to transform east London and deliver more than 200,000 homes and 250,000 jobs over the next 20 years

The City in the East masterplan details how major development should take place from London Bridge to the Isle of Dogs and Greenwich Peninsula, through to Ilford in Essex and Dartford in Kent.

Designed to bring together a vast number of major developments that are already taking place in the capital, known as designated Opportunity Areas, the masterplan identifies brownfield land with significant capacity for new housing, commercial space and other development. 

The City in the East proposal also contains a series of maps showing how London, as it moves moving eastwards into the Thames Gateway, would benefit from transport infrastructure such as Crossrail and HS1.


Plans show an overground extension to Barking Riverside, which will enable 10,000 new homes to be built and could be operational by 2020. The blueprint also includes longer term potential to place the A13 in a tunnel, deliver a new station and build new homes in the area. It envisages how land across east London could be split up for commercial and industrial use and suggests where new schools, work space and hospitals could be located.

Boris Johnson said: ‘East London is already enjoying incredible growth and the ‘City in the East’ plans reflect how we make the area an even better place to live and work over the next 20 years.

‘This blueprint reflects identified areas of land in London to build on and it will allow us to co-ordinate not only housing and commercial developments, but significant transport infrastructure to ensure this part of the capital can continue to flourish with hundreds of thousands of new jobs that will help the capital to remain the best big city in the world.’

In 2004, the Mayor’s Office estimated east London had the capacity for 52,000 new homes. Further detailed modelling, which included linking 13 Opportunity Areas, has now revealed that a minimum of 203,500 homes and 283,300 jobs could be delivered over the next 20 years.

Alex Williams director of borough planning at Transport for London said: ‘East London is expected to be one of the largest growth areas in the capital, with the population set to increase by 600,000 in the next 15 years.

‘Transport schemes such as the Overground extension to Barking Riverside and new river crossings will truly transform the area. London’s transport network is vital to the economic and social wellbeing of this city and the country as a whole. With greater connectivity from transport, people’s horizons expand, their incomes rise and business prospers.’

The Mayor’s Office has also launched a planning framework for London Riverside, part of the City in the East plan, which includes plans for 26,500 homes on 35ha of industrial land owned by the Greater London Authority along the Thames.

London currently has a population of more than 8.6 million people with the latest projections estimating the city will be home to 11 million people by 2050.


Neil Bennett at Farrells

‘We welcome this new framework and are very supportive of the thinking behind it. We have been continuously involved in the regeneration of the Thames Gateway for over a decade and our Parklands vision, commissioned by the UK Government, continues to inform projects of ours like Convoys Wharf, Royal Albert Dock and London Paramount.

‘We have recently been developing thinking about the right kind of connectivity to unlock growth in East London. Particularly the idea of low-level bridges, in collaboration with Buro Happold. These types of bridges which lift to allow ships to pass and enable cycling and walking are key to improving local connectivity, increasing land value and creating the conditions for quality placemaking in East London, in our view. The press release below mentions river crossings, but the big issue for us is ‘what kind of river crossings’?

‘We were shocked to discover that there are 34 bridges across the Thames, but only one East of the Tower of London. This is a high level bridge (Queen Elizabeth II Bridge) which connects motorways, rather than a low level bridge, which would connect communities on either side of the river. We strongly believe that this type of infrastructure is critical to realising the potential of a City in the East.’


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