There's some discussion in Epsom, we hear, about whether or not they should leave Surrey and join London proper. It's one of the many areas engirdling the city where more people work within the 32 boroughs + City than in their home towns.
This got us thinking. Which other towns just over the border could London subsume?
Epsom and Ewell
Let's start with the borough which started this discussion. It pokes up out of Surrey like it's tapping the London borough of Sutton on the shoulder, asking to be let in. We could swipe the northern half without even building on green belt, and it'd smooth out a kink in the south west corner. Cons: the map of London would no longer have the flaccid penis of Kingston hanging off it.
The tube already goes there — and is being extended, with two new stations — so we might as well claim it for our own. The trouble is, Watford doesn't actually abut London, but we have a solution for that...
Ever since Londonist Editor-at-Large M@ Brown moved to the area he's not shut up about the prospect of the Future London Borough of Elstree and Borehamwood. It makes sense: it's right next to Barnet, just fill in a bit of the Arkley green belt / golf course and it's a continuous urban conurbation.
"Greenbelts don't prevent urban sprawl; the sprawl just hops over them, increasing commuting times outside them and house prices inside. Good-quality, high density living prevents sprawl."
Chilterns and Three Rivers
Again, based on the tube theory, we could annexe these bits of Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire for Amersham, Chesham, Chalfont & Latimer, Chorleywood and Rickmansworth. For the first time, residents would be able to vote for the London Mayor — and be able to influence (in theory) tube fares. It must be very annoying being at the mercy of another political district for how much it costs to get to work. Come join us.
Dartford and Thurrock
It'd bring the Dartford Tunnel under the control of Transport for London — maybe the toll could be paid by Oyster? We'd also get Lakeside and Bluewater: we'll leave it up to you as to whether that's a plus or minus.
Sometimes, when we're arguing about what counts as London, one of the options is everything within the M25. To which end, we'd welcome Loughton with open arms. Not only is it next door to Waltham Forest borough, it nestles up to Epping Forest — owned by the Corporation of London. And if Epping felt like joining in, we wouldn't let something as silly as a road get in the way.
Actually, you're alright.