London’s population surge could mean 300,000 more school places needed by 2031

18 April 2013

The number of school children in London is set to increase by 25 per cent over the next 20 years as London’s population is projected to exceed 10 million , the London Assembly heard today[1].

At a meeting of the Assembly’s Planning Committee, Demographic consultant John Hollis said based on current projections, by 2031 there will be 300,000 more 4-15 year olds than there are today and overall London is likely to be home to more than 9 million people by 2020 and 10 million by the 2030s.

He also said that the capital is likely to need an extra 50,000 homes a year over the next 25 years to cope with the increase in residents.

The Committee heard how London’s predicted growth could have a significant impact on people’s quality of life and demand for community facilities. For example, the predicted population growth would mean an additional 16 million square metres of playing fields based on current levels of provision.

Martin Crookston, an urban economist and planner, said: “There is not going to be much room for extra houses if you want 16 million square metres of playing fields. Something is going to have to give in terms of how you apply your standards. You are going to have to change them”

The expert panel discussed with Members options for accommodating the capital’s growth, including greater use of London’s brownfield land, enhancing suburban town centres within London, focusing development around stations within London and transport corridors, and building on green spaces, including the green belt.

Nicky Gavron AM, Chair of the Planning Committee, said: "London is facing extraordinary growth, with its population set to increase by around a million over the next decade and another million by the 2030s.

“That will have a major impact on people’s lives. Where will 300,000 more children go to school? Where will the jobs be? Where will 50,000 new homes be built every year?

“The Mayor has committed to ensuring Londoners enjoy a good and improving quality of life[2] but to achieve this in the face of such population growth, he faces some difficult decisions. He needs the very best evidence and research to help make them.

“We need to be ready for the challenges ahead. The Committee will continue to investigate this issue and identify new ideas, financing and partnerships, and lessons the Mayor can learn from other European cities when he comes up with his revised plans for London.”

As a follow up to today’s meeting, the Committee plans to hold a seminar on London’s population growth later this year. The Mayor will shortly set out his 2020 vision for London and his Statement of Intent for major revisions to the London Plan.

Ends

Notes for Editors:

  1. Watch a webcast of the meeting.
  2. See the Policy 1.1 of the Mayor’s London Plan
  3. The Chair of the Planning Committee, Nicky Gavron AM, is available for interview.  See contact details below.
  4. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Julie Wheldon or Lisa Moore on 020 7983 4228.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer.  Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.