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London - Campaign to Protect Rural England

New London Plan: Call to tackle inefficient use of land

Tuesday, 28 November 2017 17:31

The Mayor of London's New London Plan The Mayor of London's New London Plan

Rebuild London’s retail parks and reclaim road space to tackle ‘inefficient’ use of London’s land, say campaigners

London campaigners launch “Five Priority Areas for the London Plan” on the day the Mayor publishes his draft version

Campaigners at CPRE London (1) say today (Wednesday) they want the Mayor’s new London Plan to contain strong policies on five key areas(2), to help make London a better place for everyone.

Alice Roberts of CPRE London said: “Lots of our land space is used very inefficiently – we have a large number of retail parks with one-storey buildings and huge amounts of space given over surface car-parking. Amazingly, more than a tenth - 12% -of London’s land is devoted roads: compared with just 9% which is residential buildings.

“We believe many retail and industrial parks can be redeveloped to ‘mid-rise’ developments of 4 or 5 storeys to quadruple the floor space available for new commercial space and potentially new housing too. (3)

“And we want to see the Mayor supporting the reclamation of ‘grey’ space, the vast amount of space in London devoted to cars. This will help the Mayor meet his target to make more than half of London green as well as his commitment to protect London’s Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land.

“The Mayor is determined to reduce traffic in London – so we’re also calling for the Mayor to restrict car parking space in new developments and block car-dependent developments.

“Unfortunately, while the Mayor is trying to reduce traffic and pollution, there are plans to build 450 new housing developments in low-density areas in the Metropolitan Green Belt – outside of the Mayor’s jurisdiction. (4) These will be ‘car-dependent’ and add a minimum of 1 million car trips a week to the outskirts. So we are also calling for the Mayor to lead a ‘city-region’ approach, working with neighbouring authorities to control low density sprawl outside London.

“We also believe London’s suburban town centres are overdue for some love and attention and can be transformed into attractive places to live and work for many more residents and employees, using already built-on land.”



  1. CPRE London is a membership-based charity with 2,500 members around London, which campaigns to save Green Belt, Metropolitan Open Land and other green spaces within Greater London, and to make our capital city a better place to live for everyone. We are a branch of the national environmental charity, the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
  2. CPRE London's Five Priority Areas for the New London Plan
  3. CPRE London’s 2017 publication Space to Build argues that delivering new homes in London has been hampered by slow build rates and a lack of funding for affordable homes, not, as often suggested, a lack of suitable land. It details a range of opportunities to use suitable wasted space in London, from redeveloping existing single storey buildings into ‘mid-rise’ developments, to reclaiming road space and disused garages, which offer enormous potential for new housing.
  4. ‘The accelerating loss of London’s Green Belt – who is to blame? was published by the London Green Belt Council on October 11. The LGBC is a grouping of about 100 organisations with a concern for the Green Belt around London. These organisations campaign locally against development on Green Belt land and collectively they represent over 50,000 people.

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