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ACTION NEEDED BEFORE LONDON'S SUBURBS ROT

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If London's suburbs were apples, many of them would be bruised and past their sell-by date, a leading consultant in...
If London's suburbs were apples, many of them would be bruised and past their sell-by date, a leading consultant in urban studies today said.

Speaking at a London Assembly meeting, Nicholas Falk, director of the Urban and Economic Development Group, warned that intervention was needed to ensure that the apples - the capital's suburbs - did not rot.

Tony Arbour, chairman of the assembly's planning and spatial development committee, said: 'The future of many of the capital's suburbs is at risk. If something is not done to revitalise them, they may become merely dormitories. We want to keep them as vibrant communities.'

Members of the committee heard there were a number of ways in which suburbs could be made more sustainable and revitalised. The role of local centres should be protected so smaller suburban shopping centres are able to compete with larger centres. Residents should have pride of place, which should be encouraged by local authorities.

The committee was told that existing housing should be improved and development should be sustainable. Newcomers to the area should be absorbed in such a way as to preserve the character of the neighbourhood.

In addition, the ideal suburb should provide jobs, as well as homes.

Dr Falk's presentation will inform a London Assembly investigation into London's suburbs to be carried out early next year.

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