A Conservative-backed report has proposed creating a new ‘Thames City’ - an expanded London zone featuring 40 new garden cities on brownfield sites surrounding the capital
According to the Southern Powerhouse document, these garden suburbs would be drawn up in partnership with the county councils around London ensuring the ‘growth created by the development’ would be shared.
The report argues that current plans for garden cities ‘fly in the face of devolution’ because these new settlements can only be approved by the Government after applications from local councils.
Instead the proposals by GLA Conservative Andrew Boff, has urged the government to devolve powers to the new ‘Thames City’ political body which would represent Greater London, Essex, Kent, Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Hertfordshire.
If taken up, this ‘Southern Powerhouse’ would have an economy 39 per cent larger than London’s, making it the third largest city economy in the world after New York and Tokyo.
Boff, GLA Conservative Assembly Member and housing spokesman, said: ‘A strong relationship between London and the South-East would be worth some half a trillion pounds to the UK economy.
‘My research shows that London provides the surrounding regions with a substantial amount of their employment, and these skills are essential to London’s economic growth. We need to give people better transport between these regions, house them, and make sure opportunities are consistently growing. Giving these areas an equal say and new devolved powers would give the region what it needs, instead of what Parliament thinks it needs.
‘In the past London has just swallowed up its surrounding regions, here is an alternative, a partnership where these areas retain their independence. More than anything else ‘Thames City’ would give the South-East a say in London’s growth.’