Mayor publishes guidance for planners on meeting social needs of Londoners

With London now home to more people than ever before, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson has issued detailed planning guidance to ensure the capital has the schools, hospitals, open spaces and places of worship it needs to flourish.

Aimed predominantly at planners and developers, the Social Infrastructure Supplementary Planning Guidance builds on policies in the Mayor’s London Plan that aim to tackle some of the city’s biggest challenges regarding health, education, sport and faith.

This guidance aims to enhance the health and wellbeing of London’s population which has now increased to more than 8.6 million people with the latest projections estimating that the city will be home to 11million people by 2050.

Sir Edward Lister, deputy mayor for policy and planning, said:

“London’s incredible population boom is testament to the fact that this is the best big city on the planet. For that to continue, we need to make sure that we have enough schools, GP surgeries, community venues, green spaces and places of worship and that they are situated in the right place.”

The Mayor believes that people should be able to live and work in safe, healthy, supportive and inclusive neighbourhoods with which they are proud to identify. To achieve this, the Supplementary Planning Guidance advocates places that are designed to be inclusive regardless of age and argues that they best promote positive community involvement. These so-called ’lifetime neighbourhoods’ incorporate facilities such as health, education, community, cultural, play, recreation, sports, faith and emergency facilities to reflect changing lifestyles and create places where people can live their whole lives.

London’s population growth, as well as economic factors and increasing standards of education, has seen a significant rise in demand for school places. The school-age population in London grew by 107,000 in the 10 years between 2001 and 2011, making the pupil growth rate in London twice the national average. The Mayor supports councils, communities and parents setting up academies and free schools to support this growth but is keen that local authorities continue to make provision for a full spectrum of schooling in London. This guidance calls for  existing schools to be expanded and new schools built to meet the needs of all Londoners. As part of this planning, the Mayor is keen that schools are sustainablewith adequate provision for food, the use of energy, waste disposal and transport infrastructure around the school site.

London’s over-65s population is expected to increase by 50 per cent to reach 1.4 million by 2031 and the over-90s population will see a three-fold increase. The Mayor’s guidance includes a shift away from hospital based services towards care provided in community settings nearer to people’s homes. The Mayor recommends a ‘prevention rather than cure’ approach, which includes leisure facilities and open spaces to help combat obesity and community health services that can offer support with food advice, diabetes, quitting smoking and substance abuse.