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Head of London Sport calls for sector’s experts to influence London Plan

Experts from the sport and physical activity sector have a major role to play in delivering the mayor’s London Plan, according to chief executive of London Sport Tove Okunniwa.

The draft plan, made available for consultation yesterday (1 December) by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, was welcomed by Okunniwa, who highlighted the importance of considering 'active lives' when making improvements to the capital’s infrastructure.

“The draft London Plan is a welcome reaffirmation of the Mayor of London’s commitment to embedding physical activity and sport into the lives of Londoners, and the infrastructure of London itself,” said Okunniwa.

“It makes clear the complex interrelations that govern and dictate the way Londoners live their lives. Housing, transport, clean air, leisure, culture and the streets and paths we walk, cycle and run along are bound together in a web of complementary – and sometimes competing – networks.

“The challenge is two-fold. To developers, planners, commercial enterprises and representatives from all areas to make a seat at the table for experts in physical activity and sport, and to think creatively about their role in shaping the future of the city.

“And to the world of physical activity and sport, to make ourselves available for those conversations to take place – to be generous with our insight and knowledge, and to be flexible in shaping our own priorities to fit into the context of our city.”

As reported this week, the 524-page draft London Plan sets out Khan’s vision for urban development and offers firm guidelines for architects and developers in a host of areas.

Okunniwa said specific recommendations around sports and recreation facilities are promising.

“The recognition of the challenges facing existing facility demand make a compelling case for the importance of addressing the capital’s facility stock,” she said.

“The solutions will be found not only in new construction, but in ensuring that access – and flexibility of access – are considered within the context of Londoners’ lives. Sensible planning around opening hours, transport links and adaptability are just as important as the development of the facilities themselves.”

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