The New Outer London Commission

February 17, 2009

I note the Outer London Commission has had its first meeting . The associated documents make for interesting reading in relation to our project. In particular:

Outer London: Realising its potential

Point 11: see the recognition that the outer suburbs are not just a dormitory, and contribute to London’s regional economic development.

Point 14: demonstrate the vision that employment must be physically accessible and that this is tied in with sustainability: ” What matters is that jobs are easy to get to…, are located to meet local aspirations and broader policy objectives eg reducing CO2 emissions”.

Point 22: the recognition of the importance of smaller town centres and that these need to be walkable: “Addressing the unique circumstances of London, the London Plan is more rigorous than national policy both in resisting inappropriate out-of centre development and in encouraging partners to work together … partners should work to ensure that it becomes more sustainable in terms of public transport access and, in appropriate locations, evolves into functionally balanced town centres.”

Point 23: also recognition of the importance of parking; this is something that has come up quite frequently in our detailed case studies.

Point 30: alongside a focus on 4-5 hubs, the intention is to identify smaller town centres that serve as exemplars of best practice.

Outer London: Economic data and statistics

This paper also makes interesting reading. It compiles statistics from a variety of sources that attempt to tease out the particularities of the outer London boroughs. Note the following in particular:

– The report highlights the uneven distribution of different economic sectors: “relatively large shares of Croydon’s and south eastern London’s employment [is in] in financial services. Amongst Outer London areas, creative jobs are most predominant in the western and south western zones and wholesale activities provide large shares of employment in the western wedge”.

– There is also interesting data on very small firms, using ONS inter departmental business database to locate VAT registered enterprises by employment size band – showing that the largest number of firms with <4 employees in the borough of Barnet and the smallest, in Barking and Dagenham (note, not normalised by population).

– Also notable are the statistics on commuting patterns, which show that outer London suburbs are recipients of significant numbers of in-flows. We knew this already, but what is interesting that this is presented as a surprising finding: “even Outer London boroughs depend significantly on non-resident workers – 39% of Croydon’s workers do not live in the borough, 50% in Kingston.”

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