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London Forum Updates

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What Zac and Sadiq mean for London's housing and towers

Posted on: 25 April 2016 at 10:15:36
A useful article on this subject in The Telegraph is here.
Another article in The Telegraph is about what has changed during the Mayoralty of Boris Johnson and is here.

Amendments to the Housing and Planning Bill

Posted on: 24 April 2016 at 19:23:13
The details of the Housing and Planning Bill and its stages through the Commons are given in a Parliament briefing paper here.
London Forum's list of concerns about the Housing and Planning Bill have been notified below in this website page and by Twitter and made available for Members of the House of Lords for their consideration of the Bill.  Our response to the Government's consultation on implementation of its proposals (even before it becomes an Act) was sent also to Peers. Some good amendments here and here were raised in the Lords by several Members and other Peers were asked by email contact to support them. 
The Government has been defeated on some amendments.  See details by searching on the Lords Report stage's various dates here.
See the Shelter blog here and an emotional Mirror report here about those defeats. There is a list in Inside Housing of changes voted through by Peers. Also, see the latest news on the Planning Portal web site about amendments to the Pay-to-Stay provisionsand the 20% Starter Homes requirement There is a news item on the development viability challenge to confirm that it will end on 30th April and on MPs' backing for planning application fee increases. The limited third party right of appeal if a decision does not accord with a Neighbourhood Plan that Baroness Parminter initiated and which had a majority vote in favour is a good basis to argue that it should apply if a decision is contrary policies of the NPPF, the London Plan and the Local Plan.
London Forum will pursue that and other amendments by Peers as the Bill passes through the remaining Report and Third Reading stages in the Lords and the stage for consideration of amendments ('Ping-Pong') by both Houses.
The Government has tabled the following amendments:-
Firstly, mineral working will not be eligible for permission in principle.
Secondly, what are qualifying documents for permission in principle are to be laid down in the statute, and not left to regulations (they include local and neighbourhood plans).
Thirdly, a number of the regulations ministers will be able to make will be subject to the affirmative, not the negative procedure (that means that they will have to be debated in, and could be defeated by, either House, without the need for a Prayer) - that should help to allay Peers' criticism that they did not know the detail of what they were being asked to approve.
Fourthly, and most significant, the 'alternative providers' provisions for assessment of planning applications instead of the local authority doing so are to be temporary, and may not last for more than five years, and are to be the subject of a statutory review at the end of that period, the report on that review to be laid before Parliament.
The next stages of consideration of this Bill will follow fairly quickly.  London Forum's members are urged to make sure their MP and any member of the House of Lords living in their area will argue for amendments that, if not approved, would exclude community groups from being adequately involved in decisions under 'Planning in Principle'; could introduce third parties, rather than your Council, assessing planning applications; could force all brownfield sites to deliver high quantities of 'Starter Homes' for sale at up to £450,000 each for the under 40s, rather than affordable homes; could result in the sell-off of Council and Housing Association homes that Londoners on low to medium wages need; could cause eviction of a family from their Council home because a son living at home gets promoted and earns more money and could lead to the phasing out of secure tenancies.  That is in addition to the Government's harmful permitted development proposals which could lead to eviction of small and emerging enterprises, start-up business, social enterprises and light industrial firms from their premises.

Councils' statutory duties for libraries

Posted on: 20 April 2016 at 23:02:22
A House of Commons paper on the statutory duties of library authorities was published 15April2016: see

Councils get new powers to take down surplus road signs

Posted on: 19 April 2016 at 11:32:00
From 22 April 2016 the Government has given powers to local authorities to reduce the street clutter that is caused by unnecessary signs.

Need for MPs to oppose proposed permitted developments

Posted on: 11 April 2016 at 10:50:41
London Forum is urging all its member societies, communities and contacts to ask MPs to sign two Early Day Motions 1279 and 1328.
They are aimed at stopping the Government introducing changes which could result in the eviction of established businesses, the loss of industrial work space and the closure of all launderettes.
MPs who do not sign would appear to be condoning harm in their constituencies.
Details are here.

Improving Local Plans and community engagement in them

Posted on: 16 March 2016 at 21:21:37
The Local Plans Expert Group (LPEG) was established by the Communities Secretary, Greg Clark and the Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Brandon Lewis, in September 2015. LPEG was asked to examine how local plans can be made more efficient and effective.
The LPEG report and recommendations are available at and comments can be made by 27th April 2016 to the Department for Communities and Local Government, as a 'surveymonkey' response or by email to
London Forum members should consider their experiences with London boroughs' plan making and comment on the LPEG proposals with a copy to

Work of the Outer London Commission

Posted on: 15 March 2016 at 20:51:03
The Outer London Commission (OLC) has been conducting investigations since 2009 to analyse future requirements and to inform each revision of the London Plan.
Peter Eversden, London Forum's Chairman, is a member of the OLC.
Their latest recommendations can be seen here.

Latest list of concerns about Housing and Planning Bill

Posted on: 13 February 2016 at 00:23:27
See the details here about the issues that London Forum has with the Housing and Planning Bill.

Brandon Lewis' responses to MPs' questions and Housing Bill

Posted on: 6 February 2016 at 13:20:08
London Forum's members may find useful the answers below given by the Minister for discussion with their local MP.
As explained in previous briefings sent to its members, London Forum is concerned that the Housing and Planning Bill would result in enforced sale of social homes to subsidise the purchase of new homes and of Housing Association ones, the delivery of 'Starter Homes' for sale on brownfield sites that are to be called "affordable" even though they will be at a price few people under 40 (to whom they must be sold) could afford, the option for developers to have their planning application assessed by a third party instead of by the local authority and the introduction of 'Permission in Principle' as here 
Peter Eversden
Brandon Lewis' responses to MPs' questions on:-
Ensuring landlords carry out reasonable repairs here.
    and the same for Housing Associations here.
Buy-to-let longer tenancies here.
Housing Association Right to Buy compensation here.
Exemptions (WCC) for short term use of London accommodation here.
Older people's housing here.
Plans for home ownership here.

Rail passenger services in London and the South East

Posted on: 24 January 2016 at 12:46:48
The Department of Transport and Transport for London have published a consultation paper on this subject.  See also the tweets on this subject at the right of this page to see comments and a report by Centre For London which is available in full here.
The DfT, Mayor of London and TfL are interested to hear views on the ideas set out in the prospectus – in particular the six questions in various parts of it. To seek further information or provide feedback, including response to the questions, contact should be made by 18 March 2016 at

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