Boris calls on outer london boroughs, as Superhub concept bites the dust

Boris The Mayor of London called on outer London to engage with the OLC now in order to help the preparation of his London Plan, at the same time distancing himself from concentrating solely on development of ‘superhubs’.

Speaking at a conference, and in response to a question from Melissa Clarke of LB Brent, Boris Johnson made it clear that no selection of ‘superhubs’ has been made – Brent Cross has not been chosen over Wembley, he confirmed.

Indeed, he, and other GLA and OLC (Outer London Commission) speakers at the Outer London Summit worked to distance themselves from the superhub concept, prefering to use ‘growth hub’ as a descriptor for something which is more than a metropolitan centre.

“There has been no choosing of superhubs. Now is the time for Brent to engage with the OLC”, Boris told Melissa. “We need to have ways of promoting successful growth hubs without discriminating against (development in) other centres”, he went on.

William mckee Generally he, and Will McKee, Chair of the OLC, who also spoke, preferred the concept of a “constellation of centres” to superhubs, which they now both refer to as “growth hubs”.

McKee said the OLC accepted that focussing just on the superhub idea was unacceptable to Outer London, and that plans to develop London’s many town centres to ensure their continued success were an essential part of any long term future for the whole city.

“We need to focus on a constellation of centres, hubs and corridors characterised by heterogeneity, not just on growth hubs”, said McKee. He went on to make clear that his thinking is not restricted to town centres either  – “Park Royal is a hub” he said.

This concept of a spread of different ‘stars’ in a constellation is likely to drive the OLC’s report, due in July, which will provide the base material for the Mayor’s London Plan, due to go into consultation in the autumn.

It will be a welcome relief to many in West London who had raised concerns over concentrating solely on superhubs, a move which was felt likely to destroy the successful polycentricity that serves the sub-region so well.

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