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London Forum Updates

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Westminster City Council on-line planning committee

Posted on: 16 April 2020 at 17:23:25
This event on 14th April 2020 was the first by the Council to be held using Microsoft Teams and can be seen by clicking on 'Join Anonymously' here.

Planning Inspectorate announces 'virtual' work methods

Posted on: 16 April 2020 at 10:02:53
Details of the way the Planning Inspectorate will deal with appeals, Local Plan examination and other work during the Covid-19 lockdown is described here.
There is a link to its principles for working using telephone or video conferencing which states "We want to ensure everyone involved including local communities can participate fairly." London Forum awaits further details on that.
However, site visits to appeal sites may not be held if "the proposed written representations appeal can be properly decided on the basis of digital images." That is of concern because such images are usually taken with wide angle (24mm) lens, rather than the way the eye would see a proposed development which is the equivalent of a 50mm focal length lens. Communities should challenge inacurate visual representations.

Historic England Advice Note on Tall Buildings (HEAN 4)

Posted on: 11 April 2020 at 17:02:00
Historic England is updating its 2015 advice note on tall buildings.The consultation on a revised version is here.Since the update of 12th March advising members of this, the closing date for comments has been extended to 28th May 2020.Societies are asked to consider the draft revised advice note and to send comments to

RBK&C holds Planning Committee by Microsoft Teams

Posted on: 11 April 2020 at 15:36:12
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea held a planning decisions event online on 9th April 2020. Details are here.
It is one of the first to be held that way. The cases were not complicated and in some boroughs they are the kind that are decided under delegated powers. See the note below of 3rd April 17:03 on that.
The event can be viewed here.
Use the "Join anonymously" link under "Sign in" to watch the proceedings.
London Forum would welcome feedback to on Council on-line committee meetings held in your borough.  

Virtual Local Authority meetings - by R Harwood OBE QC

Posted on: 6 April 2020 at 11:22:45
Some useful details of how laws influence the holding by Councils of virtual meetings have been issued in a note by Richard Harwood OBE QC.  See the information here.
Note also the update below on this subject of 3 April 2020 at 17:03

CLG Committee scrutiny of affordable housing delivery

Posted on: 4 April 2020 at 21:20:29
The Communities and Local Government Select Committee has been re-established as here.
One of its inquiries, commenced last year, is on long-term delivery of social and affordable rented housing.
London Forum will send written comments, which the Committee invites until Monday 4 May 2020. Civic, resident and amenity societies in London should consider contributing views to the Committee also.

Boroughs to hold planning & other meetings 'virtually'

Posted on: 3 April 2020 at 17:03:33
The Government has introduced legislation which will be effective from Saturday 4th April to allow local authorities to hold meetings fully on-line or partially so, with external access.
London Forum and Civic Voice have exchanged emails on this subject, including advice notes by London based legal planning experts. Civic Voice has published a blog today on this subject here.
Further information is in extracts from PlanningResource articles here.
London Forum's members are asked to note the blog content and to discuss with their Council how the process will be applied and what engagement there will be for local people and how that will happen.
Summaries on the way these new methods are being applied in your part of London should be sent to
Societies may notice more use of local authority delegated powers for decisions. Their Council should be asked for notice of such pending decisions so that ward Councillors could be approached to 'call-in' for planning committee consideration any pending delegated decisions that do not seem to be reasonable.

Historic England's Local Authority Strategic Framework

Posted on: 3 April 2020 at 11:32:54
Historic England is consulting on developing a strategic framework to focus the support they give to local authorities in effective decision-making, place-shaping and management of the local historic environment.
They have put several questions, as in section 2 of the document here.

Affordable Housing Commission has published its report

Posted on: 2 April 2020 at 14:33:40
The Commission found that the underlying cause of so many households struggling with disproportionate housing costs is the switch into the private rented sector – which has more than doubled in size in less than twenty years – from both social renting and from home ownership. The scaling back – indeed the halving – of the social housing sector has pushed more people into the private rented sector where there is less security and significantly higher rents.
Their report’s recommendations propose ways of rebalancing the nation’s housing to secure more social rented housing and more affordable home ownership, for those for whom private renting is not the best option.
An Executive summary is here and the full report here.

Estate ballots - are they working? - AJ report

Posted on: 2 April 2020 at 12:48:30
A report on a review of estate regeneration ballots has been published in the Architects Journal.

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