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London Forum Updates

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Community engagement in design and decision making

Posted on: 4 March 2020 at 12:03:31
London Forum informed its members in October 2019 about new National Design Guidance
Civic societies and residents' groups should familiarise themselves with the supporting information that was published here.
The section on 'Effective community engagement on design' is important and societies should check that their local Council is following the guidance and making available the opportunities for community engagement that are described.

Issue of New London Plan delayed by Secretary of State

Posted on: 22 February 2020 at 19:47:08
The Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State (SoS) for housing, communities and local government, has announced a second delay in delivering his comments on Sadiq Khan's response to the Inspectors' report on their examination of the New London Plan (NLP). The Minister was to have informed the Mayor of his views and recommendation in January 2020 but has now set a date of Monday 16th March for his comments on the Mayor's 'Intend to Publish' version of the NLP.
Changes to that version as a result of any SoS' recommendations are likely to be few and London Forum members should familiarise themselves with its contents and ensure their Council has the local policies in place to support its implementation and to take advantage of NLP policies which give local authorities control over what is built and where.
That will require context and character analyses of the borough and comprehensive Site Allocations in the Local Plan with design codes and assessment of infrastructure requirements.
Several pieces of best practice and supplementary planning guidance are expected to support the NLP.
London Forum had published an assessment of the NLP Inspectors' recommendations and comments on the Mayor's response.
Subsequently, London Forum issued comments on the directions the Secretary of State issued for changes to the London Plan.
An open meeting held in December 2019 explored the implications of the NLP and the ways in which densification of the suburbs could be achieved in a sustainable way.

LB Harrow approves 1,226 homes where 800 expected

Posted on: 27 January 2020 at 15:39:13
Officers advised that, due to the borough's housing targets being set to increase following the adoption of the New London Plan this Spring, the scheme would be "appropriate and welcomed".
The height of buildings will be 18 storeys instead of the 10 storeys anticipated in 2015. An article from 'Planning' is here.
Other boroughs may be changing their Local Development Plan's Site Allocations to meet housing targets and densify London's suburbs.

Rise of local political parties and independent groups

Posted on: 25 January 2020 at 20:34:30
An article in PlanningResource on this subject is interesting for what is happening in local authorities around London as community groups displace political party elected members.
Could this happen in London?

One in fifty homes may be short term lets in London

Posted on: 24 January 2020 at 23:59:12
New research from London Councils suggests one in every 50 homes in the capital is let on a short term basis, raising fresh concerns about the impact on London’s housing stock and communities.

Policy and legislation changes expected in 2020

Posted on: 23 January 2020 at 21:50:15
An article in PlanningResource suggests what should be expected from the Government based on the Queen's speech, the Tory manifesto and their other announcements.

Volume housebuilders blasted over design quality

Posted on: 23 January 2020 at 21:43:11
A study by the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London, and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) claims that three-quarters of new houses are either of ‘mediocre’ or ‘poor’ quality design.
Councils are rejecting poorly-designed housing schemes only to see them approved on appeal, "fatally" undermining the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), according to the study.
The conclusions of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, when available soon, will be relevant.

Historic England contacts in London and South East

Posted on: 11 January 2020 at 18:04:08
There has been a lot of staff changes in the last few months in the London and South East department of Historic England.
The latest reponsibilities have been advised to London Forum, as follows.
Emily Gee – Regional Director: London and South East
Tom Foxall – Head of Region: London and South East (Development Advice)
David English – Development Advice Team Leader London (with a focus on statutory planning policy and strategic issues)
Michael (Mike) Dunn – Development Advice Team Leader London (with a focus on specific statutory development/listed building proposals)
Simon Buteux – Partnerships Team Leader London (with a focus on non-statutory work such as Heritage at Risk and High Streets Heritage Action Zones)
Sarah Gibson – Listing Team Leader London and South East
Rachael McMillan – Stakeholder Engagement Adviser London and South East
For the moment David English has suggested contacting him in the first instance at 020 7973 3700 and he will pass queries to the right person.
See Historic England's technical advice publications at

Historic England Planning Bulletin December 2019

Posted on: 20 December 2019 at 22:22:05
The latest HE bulletin is here.
It has an appendix giving links to Historic England's Good Practice Advice notes, many of which may be useful for London Forum's members in their liaison with their local Council on historic asset protection and development.

Queen's speech December 2019 and planning changes

Posted on: 20 December 2019 at 15:02:03
Best wishes for Christmas and for 2020 to all London Forum's members.
The Conservative Government has described its intended legislation and policies in the Queen's speech with a more detailed explanation here.
There will be a White Paper on revising the planning system and another one on social housing. Consultation will be held on a new type of 'First Homes' at 30% discounted prices, funded by developers.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has published new guidance on 'Assessing financial viability in planning'.
Changes have been made to Planning Practice Guidance, of which civic and community groups should be aware.
There are two reports, one covering

  • The housing needs of different groups of people;

  • Minimisation of planning conditions;

  • Estate regeneration;   and

  • Planning enforcement

The other report covers new planning guidance on light pollution.

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