The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will meet council leaders from across the political spectrum in the South East and the East of England to discuss the best ways to accommodate sustainable growth in the south of England.
Leaders from South East and East will call for closer working to help overcome barriers that are holding back delivery of planned homes across the whole wider south east. Estimates show a combined backlog of at least 373,000 homes where developers have been given planning permission but not built the housing promised.
The summit will also discuss how the Mayor’s draft London Plan, which is currently open for consultation, could impact on London’s neighbours.
“Our communities, our economies and our housing markets are intrinsically linked,” Khan said. “And one of the biggest common challenges we face is how we deal with the expected population boom – how we meet the demand for new, affordable homes, how we create the space for new jobs and businesses, and how we deliver the future infrastructure we need.”
The Mayor will also tell attendees that a closer working relationship will give the wider South East of England a better voice when it came to lobbying Government on major infrastructure projects.
Sadiq believes this is particularly true for schemes such as Crossrail 2. This proposed new rail link across the wider South East region would increase the capital’s rail capacity by 10% – adding capacity for 270,000 passengers during the morning peak – cutting journey times, improving connections and accessibility. Crossrail 2 would also enable up to 200,000 homes to be built.
Cllr David Finch, Chairman of the East of England Infrastructure and Growth Group and Leader of Essex County Council, said, “We recognise the important connections within the wider South East, and it is now more crucial than ever that we work together in a way which ensures that infrastructure investment and growth benefits all of us. Through greater collaboration we can secure our future economic prosperity and maintain our collective position as the economic heart of the nation.”
Nicolas Heslop, Chair of South East England Councils and Leader of Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, added, “Today’s summit is an excellent opportunity for South East council leaders to discuss the draft London Plan directly with the Mayor and his team. In particular, our members welcome the Mayor’s ambition to meet all London’s housing need in the capital itself. We also want to continue joint working to overcome barriers to house building and to press for the infrastructure investment that we all need across London, South East and East of England to maintain our shared economic success.”