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Livingstone to unveil sweeping new planning powers

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The capital's mayor Ken Livingstone could be given the power to approve planning applications refused by the London boroughs in which they lie, the AJ can reveal.

The revolutionary proposals, launched yesterday by the government, include allowing the mayor to direct boroughs over local plans or in relation to strategic sites - such as tall-building clusters.

The move has caused observers to speculate that more tall buildings could litter the London landscape if the mayor's plans are ramped up in the face of local Tory opposition.

If Livingstone had held the power two years ago, when Lambeth council turned down Broadway Malyan's Vauxhall Tower scheme, then he would almost certainly have over-ruled the decision to reject it.

Minister for communities and local government David Miliband said: 'The creation of the Greater London Authority has been a real boost for London and has had a positive impact on Londoners' quality of life.

'We believe the time is now right to consider whether the strategic planning and delivery of services in the capital could be improved by devolving more powers and responsibilities to the mayor and the assembly.'

The consultation document The Government's Proposals for Additional Powers and Responsibilities for the Mayor and Assemblyalso offers the London Assembly the chance to play a bigger role in policy development and scrutiny.

by Rob Sharp

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