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03/05/2016

London mayor lacks the power to tackle biggest problems – AECOM

Words: Laura Edgar
London / Shutterstock_68997331

London’s mayor ‘no longer holds’ the necessary powers to plan and deliver the expansion in infrastructure required to maintain the capital’s ‘long-term status as a world-ranking metropolis’, says infrastructure services company AECOM.

With the London mayoral election taking place on Thursday (5 May), AECOM says London has “outgrown” the traditional jurisdiction of the capital’s mayor, which is defined by Greater London boundary limits put in place more than 50 years ago.

It says London’s housing crisis will only be solved by accelerating the number of new builds and offering a wider choice of housing type and tenure to best match the needs of renters and single-person households across the Greater London region. An integrated approach that sees building planned in sync with infrastructure, transport and employment opportunities would “maximise opportunities, such as the next generation of development at rail nodes”, says AECOM.

But, as people move beyond Greater London to find somewhere affordable to live, AECOM says the incoming mayor “lacks the powers to orchestrate planning across this wider commuter belt as the mayoral office has no formal authority on a regional basis”.

AECOM suggests that the new mayor needs to “build a coalition of willing” with the authorities around the capital that want to “share in economic growth and are prepared to develop beyond their own localised housing demands”. This should “complement the intensified use of brownfield land in London itself, with initiatives to bring forward public sector land for development”.

Patrick Flaherty, chief executive, UK & Ireland, AECOM, said: “If London is to maintain its leading status as one of the world’s greatest cities, the new mayor must take a strategic approach that integrates housing with the infrastructure and employment needs of communities across London and, just as importantly, its surrounding region."

London, Flaherty continued, needs an “ambitious, joined-up strategy” for housing, infrastructure and employment growth if it is to keep its “status among the world’s most successful cities”.

“Consideration must be given to how this can be achieved, taking into account the limitations of the mayor’s authority, which is confined to the formal Greater London boundaries.”

Image credit | Shuttershock

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