Editor: We can all be pleased that the London Plan has been signed off. We now have a clear plan that all of London can work to.

City Hall, London

City Hall, London

Source: Shutterstock/pcruciatti

It is good to see that housing remains firmly on the agenda at a time when London needs to do all that it can to attract and retain a talented and diverse workforce in the city.

It is also good to see a plan that codifies meaningful environmental measures, equal to the scale of the climate challenges we face. Disagreement on housing densities appears to have been resolved and the mayor will be pleased that green belt remains intact.

So it’s good that we have a settled plan, but the eventual approval of the document begs two much more fundamental questions. First, how can the plan be used as a clear and compelling prospectus for investment, encouraging growth and inspiring domestic and global confidence in the city, its citizens and its economy?

The twin black swans of Brexit and Covid challenge London’s prosperity and nearly 30 years of global pre-eminence, just at the time when the focus of central government is on levelling up communities outside London. If London is to remain a vibrant, liveable city rich in culture, diversity and opportunity for all communities, while also remaining an economic power-house that funds its own growth and supports wider ‘levelling-up’, then London must continue to attract investment; and this plan must underwrite it.

Second, what lessons can we learn to avoid repeating the unedifying and confidence-corroding, year-long Punch and Judy show between the government and City Hall in setting a plan for London?

While politics and due process must remain paramount, so too must constructive, ordered and timely decision making, whatever the political allegiances of City Hall and government and however sincerely points of principle are held. A better process for determining a plan should be within the parties’ grasp.

Peter Hogg, London City executive and UK cities director, Arcadis