Last week at City Hall the Mayor published the draft London Plan. One of the key responsibilities of the Mayor and all London Boroughs are with the shared responsibility of strategic planning for London.
The London Plan sets out an integrated framework for the development of transport, economic, environmental, housing and social development with the aim of bringing together a coordinated response to some of the big challenges facing London.
In Southwark, like many other boroughs, housing transport and social development rank high on the agenda for all residents, community groups, businesses and elected representatives.
Reading through the draft London Plan, there are a number of new measures to be announce and consulted on, that I believe will make a real impact and lasting difference to the lives of many people in Southwark.
We are already seeing bold measures to help deal with the long running and deadly issue of air pollution. If we are to truly deal with cleaning up the dirty air, we need to ensure that we reduc-e the reliance of cars and encourage people to use public transport. The London Plan includes proposals for any new housing development in parts of London connected by good public transport, to be car-free, except for disabled parking. Large parts of Southwark have access to excellent transport links and it is great to see examples of reduction of parking and an increase in cycle parking developments already in action from Southwark Council.
Across London, childhood obesity levels are higher than the national average. Overweight children are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease and strokes as adults. In Southwark, childhood obesity levels are one of the highest in the capital and work is already being done to help tackle this issue. It is important that we help young people have access to health balanced diets in school, with the free school meals for primary aged children and elsewhere. One only has to walk across Southwark to count the number of different takeaway fast food outlets. In some parts of the UK, ¼ of takeaways are within five minutes walk from a school. For the first time, the London Plan will introduce guidance to put restrictions around new fast-food outlets. New takeaways will not be permitted within 400m walking distance of an existing or proposed primary and secondary school.
There are just two examples of policy proposals that I hope Southwark residents will respond to during the consultation period.
Visit www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/planning/london-plan/new-london-plan/download-draft-london-plan to view the draft London Plan.
Florence Eshalomi is the elected London Assembly member for Southwark and Lambeth.