London needs to build new villages to avoid an overpopulation crisis by 2041, warns Planning Committee

Kathryn Gaw
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London's housing crisis could be about to get a lot worse (Source: Getty)

Population growth is set to make London as dense as Rio de Janiero by 2041, amid concerns there is not enough space for new housing.

The London Assembly's Planning Committee has warned the city’s population is likely to grow by approximately 1.5m people over the next 20 years, compounding the ongoing housing crisis.

It is believed between 49,000 and 62,000 new homes will be needed annually to cope with this increase, but there is currently only space for 42,000 per year.

The Committee has published a report, titled "Up or Out: A false choice. Options for London’s growth", suggesting that the next Mayor will have to choose between building "up" by creating more skyscrapers in the city centre, or building "out", by increasing the density of some suburbs while preserving London’s green spaces.

A spokesperson for the Committee told City A.M. that the situation is “urgent” and we need to think about building whole new villages and towns in the South East of England, as well as building more intensely in London’s suburbs.

Nicky Gavron, former deputy mayor of London and chair of the London Assembly Planning Committee, said:

Whoever wins the Mayoralty, Londoners will expect leadership to make sure the capital doesn’t stand still. We need bold new ideas to accommodate our growing population in a way that is sustainable and improves quality of life.

This pressing issue should be at the very top of the next Mayor’s inbox. Inaction is not an option.

The report comes just days after the London Land Commission published a list of 40,000 publicly owned sites across the capital which have the potential to hold at least 130,000 new homes.

London currently holds an average of 5,206 people per square kilometre, compared with Rio’s 6,850. By contrast, New York has a population density of just 2,050 people per square kilometre.

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