Letter: Planning shambles at the heart of London

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Sir: There has been a lot of talk recently about a strategic authority for London ('Does London need central rule?', 10 May), but it seems that the discussion revolves around the recreation of the Greater London Council.

No other major European city operates a system where there is no defined framework for planning between constituent areas of the city. It is no surprise that London is losing ground on its competitors when there is no single elected body responsible for London-wide planning. What makes London different from Paris, Rome, Berlin, Brussels, Edinburgh, Birmingham? Why does the Government believe that the 32 London boroughs are able to undertake strategic planning independent of each other where all the other cities need a single authority?

John Gummer, Secretary of State for the Environment, in his document 'Making the Best Better' did not mention a single authority for London, yet when the replies were collated, 31 per cent of people mentioned a strategic planning body.

The Government is once again putting its dogma before the needs of the people. Unless that changes soon, we shall see London relegated from its position as a world leader to an also ran.

Yours sincerely,


MP for Leicester East (Lab)

House of Commons

London, SW1