Greater London To Get First New Borough In 60 Years

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Greater London To Get First New Borough In 60 Years

It's true that London redrew its boundaries on 1 April 1965, but it's also true that we wrote this article especially for 1 April 2024...

Slough from above
Slough will be part of Greater London next year, along with Reading... but not Windsor. Image: alwye via creative commons

For the first time since 1965, London is getting a new borough.

On 1 April 2025 — precisely 60 years since the the implementation of the London Government Act, which created the 32 boroughs we know today — a tranche of Berkshire will be absorbed into Greater London, becoming the 33rd London borough (34th if you count the City of London).

The shock news was made official this morning in a joint statement from Greater London and Berkshire officials, and means that, as of next spring, approximately 30% (146 square miles) of Berkshire — including Slough and Reading — will become part of Greater London.

Windsor, however, will remain part of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, with "dramatically extended powers TBD" afforded to the Royal Family, who own a property here.

A map showing greater london's expansion plans
The abstention of Windsor and Maidenhead will leave the Reading, Wokingham and Bracknell areas cut off from the rest of Greater London. The area will not be a true exclave, however, as a section of the M4 and Elizabeth line will also be subsumed into Greater London

Said Ima Lyon, the GLA's Deputy Head of Expansion: "London has stood still for too long, and it's time the metropolis branched out once more. To bring an area that's given us everything from the Grand National to Ricky Gervais sitcom The Office into the Greater London fold is beyond exciting. We know that the people of Berkshire will understand."

Perhaps not all of them. While behind the scenes at City Hall, there is a genuine sense of excitement, denizens of the affected borough have taken to social media in their droves to vent. On X (formerly Twitter), one Readingite posted: "FFS do we all hav to eat avacados now? If they bring in ULEZ Im going to be f***ing furios."

Another Berkshire resident said "Can't believe they're just snapping our county in half like this. What are we, a Twix?!".

The GLA, however, claims that their redrawing of the boundaries is fair: "We haven't been greedy," stressed Ima Lyon, "We've left them Newbury."

People walking up the Long walk to Windsor Castle
Windsor will remain part of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. Image: Diliff via creative commons

Names for the new borough remain unconfirmed, although 'Burnham' has been mooted (nothing to do with the Mayor of Manchester; Burnham Beeches is an area of land to the north of Slough that's already owned by the City of London Corporation). Another, less likely, rebrand would be a portmanteau of the new borough's two major conurbations, Slough and Reading — 'Sledding' (a touch of the winter sports about it). At least the other possible portmanteau, 'Rough', has been left well alone by officials.

So why the new borough, and why now? The most obvious reason is that — with a population fast approaching nine million — Greater London simply isn't big enough to cope anymore. Said one City Hall official: "We've got to the point where we've basically run out of London. We need to make more of it. That's where Berkshire comes in."

A big bold purple Elizabeth line roundel
The success of the Elizabeth line is partially to blame. Image: Londonist

The Elizabeth line has also played a part in the decision; TfL has been particularly happy with ridership on the western section of the line, with figures far exceeding initial expectations. And, as we've already mentioned, 2025 will mark 60 years since the London Government Act, which brings a sense of timeliness to the proceedings.

Could this be the beginning of more expansion for Greater London in the coming years and decades? Whispers of the London Borough of Elstree and Borehamwood are already on the grapevine.

In the meantime, there is much planning to do ahead of next April — especially given that London's newest borough will be London Borough of Culture in 2029. Well, it did give us The Office after all.

Last Updated 01 April 2024

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