Report urges power shift to deliver garden suburbs in London commuter belt

The Greater London Authority (GLA) should be granted powers to create new garden suburbs in partnership with county councils surrounding the city to help meet the capital's future housing needs, a report by the London Assembly's Conservative group has urged.

Image from Southern Powerhouse report
Image from Southern Powerhouse report
The report, by the Conservative group's housing spokesman Andrew Boff, calls for London to become part of a larger "Thames City-Region" formed of all the major conurbations in the South East.

The report recommends that the role of the GLA should be reviewed. "The likely outcome is that London will, in a collegiate manner, need to exert greater influence over policy decisions outside of the M25," the report says.

According to the report, "with a fast approaching limit to the space on which to build housing in Greater London, demand will soon need to be met outside the city and in the commuter belt".

The report says that current estimates suggest that at least 40 garden developments of more than 10,000 homes will be required over the next few decades, "many of which will need to be built outside the boundaries of Greater London".

The report says that existing arrangements for approving garden cities "fly in the face of devolution" and are "non-conducive to having these developments approved" because of the "fragmented" nature of governance in the South East.

Land and space constraints mean that it will be increasingly difficult to build the necessary numbers of homes within Greater London, the report suggests.

It recommends: "London should, therefore, be granted powers to create new garden suburbs in partnership with those county councils that surround the city.

"Such an arrangement would have to ensure that the proceeds of growth and tax uplift are fairly shared so neither the GLA nor the counties that surround London are short-changed."

The report also calls for the seven local enterprise partnerships in the region to be combined to create a "super-LEP to spur-on economic development".

Southern Powerhouse: True Devolution for London and the South East is available here.

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