Regional Bodies and the Mayor of London
Over the last decade, there has been a move away from regional planning and a greater focus on localism. Apart from 'saved' policies in some areas, regional spatial strategies have been withdrawn.
Some city regions in England are able to directly elect a mayor to lead a combined authority comprising a number of neighbouring local authorities who agree to work together on strategic issues. The powers of city-region mayors vary between regions and each region has a bespoke 'devolution deal' with central government which determines the powers and budget they control. As this type of devolution evolves, it is possible that city-region mayors will have a growing role in the planning system.
In London, the Mayor of London has significant powers in relation to planning, which includes the publication of the London Plan (ref. 1).
The Mayor of London
The Mayor of London is effectively the regional planning body for Greater London (the City of London and the 32 London Boroughs). His powers include a decision-making role in planning permission and listed building consent applications.
As well as being responsible for The London Plan (ref. 1) (the spatial development strategy for London) certain planning applications and related listed building consents must be referred to the Mayor due to their potential strategic importance for planning in London. The Mayor may direct the relevant London Borough to refuse such applications. The Mayor also has the discretion to assume jurisdiction over small numbers of planning applications and related listed building consent applications that are of strategic importance to London and to determine them in place of the borough (ref. 2) (ref. 1).