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Policy SD1 Opportunity Areas


  1. To ensure that Opportunity Areas fully realise their growth and regeneration potential, the Mayor will:
    1. provide support and leadership for the collaborative preparation and implementation of planning frameworks that:
      1. set out a clear strategy for accommodating growth
      2. assist in delivering specific infrastructure requirements that unlock capacity for new homes and jobs
      3. support regeneration
      4. are prepared in a timely manner.
    2. bring together the range of investment and intervention needed to deliver the vision and ambition for the area
    3. support and implement adopted planning frameworks, in order to give them appropriate material weight in planning decisions
    4. ensure that his agencies (including Transport for London) work together and with others to promote and champion Opportunity Areas, and identify those that require public investment and intervention to achieve their growth potential
    5. ensure that Opportunity Areas maximise the delivery of affordable housing and create mixed and inclusive communities
    6. ensure that Opportunity Areas contribute to regeneration objectives by tackling spatial inequalities and environmental, economic and social barriers that affect the lives of people in the area, especially in Local and Strategic Areas for Regeneration
    7. monitor progress in delivering homes, jobs and infrastructure, taking action where necessary to overcome any barriers to delivery
    8. ensure that development facilitates ambitious transport mode share targets.
  2. Boroughs, through Development Plans and decisions, should:
    1. clearly set out how they will encourage and deliver the growth potential of Opportunity Areas
    2. support development which creates employment opportunities and housing choice for Londoners
    3. plan for and provide the necessary social and other infrastructure to sustain growth, working with infrastructure providers where necessary
    4. recognise that larger areas can define their own character and density
    5. support and sustain Strategic Industrial Locations (SIL) and other industrial capacity by considering opportunities to intensify and make more efficient use of land in SIL, in accordance with Policy E4 Land for industry, logistics and services to support London’s economic function, Policy E5 Strategic Industrial Locations (SIL), Policy E6 Locally Significant Industrial Sites and Policy E7 Intensification, co-location and substitution of land for industry, logistics and services to support London’s economic function
    6. meet or, where appropriate, exceed the indicative guidelines for housing and/or indicative estimates for employment capacity set out in Figures 2.4 to 2.12
    7. include ambitious transport mode share targets
    8. support wider regeneration and ensure that development proposals integrate into the surrounding areas, in accordance with Policy SD10 Strategic and local regeneration
    9. ensure planning frameworks are subject to public and stakeholder consultation
    10. work with the Mayor, local communities and other stakeholders to review appropriate locations and identify new Opportunity Areas. These should be distinct and significant locations that have capacity for at least 5,000 new jobs and/or 2,500 new homes.

Opportunity Areas are the capital’s most significant locations with development capacity to accommodate new housing, commercial development and infrastructure (of all types), linked to existing or potential improvements in public transport connectivity and capacity. Opportunity Areas typically contain capacity for at least 5,000 net additional jobs or 2,500 net additional homes or a combination of the two.

Many Opportunity Areas overlap with Strategic Areas for Regeneration, and have the potential to promote inclusive growth that increases opportunity for all Londoners.

The Mayor will provide the support and leadership to ensure Opportunity Areas deliver their growth potential. He will promote and champion the areas as key locations for investment, and will intervene where required so that an ambitious, imaginative and inclusive approach is taken to accelerate and realise their growth and development.

Opportunity Area Planning Frameworks (OAPFs) can represent the first stage in a plan-led approach to providing significant quantities of additional jobs and homes, improvements to transport and other infrastructure, and better access to local services. The Mayor recognises that there are different models for taking these forward depending on the circumstances and development needs of each Opportunity Area, and for translating these frameworks into policy in Development Plan documents and Supplementary Planning Documents. Whatever model is used, frameworks must be prepared in a collaborative way with local communities and stakeholders.

A crucial part of London’s future success will be improving access within and into the capital. The major transport infrastructure that facilitates this acts as a vital catalyst, unlocking new areas for development, enabling the delivery of additional homes and jobs, facilitating higher densities, using the Healthy Streets Approach to create vibrant neighbourhoods that are appealing places to walk, cycle and spend time, and providing local people with access to the facilities and services that they need.

Through the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, the London Plan and other strategies, the Mayor has identified Opportunity Areas (OAs) set out in Figures 2.4 to 2.12. The growth corridors described below demonstrate the linkages between the OAs highlighting that they should not be planned in isolation. In order to meet London’s needs and ensure sustainable development, all stakeholders should seek to proactively promote and enable growth in these areas in line with the policies in this Plan. The Mayor will, and boroughs and other stakeholders should, develop effective cross-boundary working arrangements in order to unlock the full potential of the growth corridors within London.

The key growth corridors within London are set out below. Policy SD2 Collaboration in the Wider South East and Figure 2.15 include Strategic Infrastructure Priorities that link into the wider city region.

Supporting London’s growth

The Mayor will put in place resources and support – such as his Good Growth Fund – to ensure that the potential of London’s growth corridors and Opportunity Areas is maximised. The Mayor’s London Housing Strategy and Transport Strategy set out his policies to achieve this.

The London Housing Strategy sets out four principal approaches:

  1. Land assembly, where the Mayor will both directly assemble land for development and support boroughs, Housing Associations and other homebuilders to do so. This may be through direct investment or through supporting compulsory purchase of appropriate land. He will also focus resources on areas where land suitable for development is not coming forward.
  2. Investing in housing and infrastructure, where the Mayor will put in place funding mechanisms to unlock development. This could include working with Transport for London to ensure transport improvements lead to increased delivery of homes and jobs, and will build on the current Housing Zones programme.
  3. Diversifying the tenure mix of new homes, where the Mayor will provide funding to increase the number of new and affordable homes. This will include funding to support more innovative forms of housing delivery.
  4. Increasing capacity, where the Mayor will lead an improvement in the skills, capacity and building methods of the construction industry

The Mayor’s Transport Strategy seeks to ensure that dedicated public transport and walking and cycling provision are at the heart of planning for Opportunity Areas. It sets out that the Mayor will support growth in Opportunity Areas through transport investment and planning, and sets ambitious mode share targets.

In the Mayor’s Transport Strategy a number of priority infrastructure schemes have been identified that would bring significant regeneration benefits, including the potential to unlock substantial homes and jobs growth in specific Opportunity Areas. The development value in these areas can, in some cases, also contribute to the funding of the scheme. In order to support these priorities, the Plan sets out further guidance on these specific Opportunity Areas below, grouped by growth corridor. The general location of each one is set out in a series of diagrams. These also show indicative guideline figures for housing and employment capacity in each area. The capacity of many of these areas for new homes and jobs will increase significantly as a result of major public transport schemes and the improvements to capacity and connectivity they provide. Homes and jobs figures will be reviewed as infrastructure schemes are confirmed and delivery timescales become clearer so that they maximise the opportunities for additional growth. Where development proposals are emerging and transport investment is not yet fully secured, delivery of the long term capacity will need to be phased in a way that maximises the benefits from major infrastructure and services investment whilst avoiding any unacceptable effects on existing infrastructure before the new infrastructure is available.