Twilight view of London Eye and other ladnmarks from Waterloo Bridge

London Forum Updates

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Review of SuDS application and effectiveness

Posted on: 29 August 2018 at 17:31:25
Following a review of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), the Government has concluded that local planning authorities need to be satisfied that clear maintenance arrangements are in place for the lifetime of a development.
Sharing good practice and innovation can also influence the uptake of SuDS in new developments.
There is potential for industry bodies to address skills and knowledge gaps.
National Guidance will be issued later this year.
See the report on the SuDS review here.

Permitted conversion of office blocks must be stopped

Posted on: 27 August 2018 at 13:38:58
An article in the Guardian makes clear that substandard homes are being created in converted office blocks. The Government made such changes 'permitted development' so local authorities cannot prevent them unless they have applied planning controls by a process of Article 4 Direction.
London Forum urges community groups to ask their Council the following questions:-
Have you prepared your Article 4 Direction to prevent the loss of town centre workspace in time for the 31 May 2019 deadline for taking action?
How much town centre office floorspace have you lost in the last 5 years?
Where will you find the replacement office floorspace as part of the objectively-assessed need in your Local Plan if almost all sites are ear-marked for housing?
Most London Boroughs have an economy of small firms and the growing shortage of workspace for them is driving out small enterprises. The Government suggests the replacement of offices with housing is good for the high street. Where is the evidence? At one person/13sq metres it is still not as high a density as people working in town centre workspace.
It is time to draw the line – market cherry-picking of town centre offices is damaging to the local economy.

Rowan Moore's article on the harm of new towers

Posted on: 15 August 2018 at 11:02:23
The article published in The Guardian is titled "Will skyscapers sink to new depths in British cities? - Councils are under pressure to build higher but campaigners say new towers will ruin historic skylines".

Minister criticises draft replacement London Plan

Posted on: 15 August 2018 at 10:23:56
The Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has sent a letter to Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, which criticises the draft London Plan which will be examined by Inspectors early next year.
The Minister warns that he may intervene before the Plan is published if there are "any inconsistencies with current national policy" even though he states that "the draft London Plan will be examined against the previous [2012] National Planning Policy Framework."
Brokenshire does not believe that the Mayor's assessment of housing requirements "reflects the full extent of housing need in London to tackle affordability problems." As a result, the Minister has demanded that the published replacement London Plan at the end of 2019 is then reviewed immediately.
The Government is not offering any policies or funding beyond that in the Spring 2018 budget that will help to achieve 47% of all new homes in the capital to be of the low-cost rent type that the draft London Plan is seeking.
However, boroughs will be allowed to borrow more to build additional council houses.
The draft London Plan's policy for limiting car parking spaces in new developments is also criticised which seems to be consistent with past Government interference in London's planning and its imposition of harmful permitted development and other policies not suitable for London.
It is hoped that the Minister will devise some policies in future to limit the number of unaffordable market homes built as investment properties in London for overseas buyers, with many left empty. Also, to find ways of getting approved developments built more promptly.

Social housing Green Paper

Posted on: 14 August 2018 at 20:36:31
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government states that the green paper aims to rebalance the relationship between landlords and residents, tackle stigma and ensure social housing can act as a stable base and support social mobility.
However, it proposes that the Government wants to ensure social tenants can "get on in life" and so "buy their own home". The proposals would encourage more Right-to-Buy and reduce social housing stock to rent.
Shelter’s chief executive, Polly Neate, said the green paper was “full of warm words but doesn’t commit a single extra penny towards building the social homes needed by the 1.2 million people on the waiting list.”
More funding will be necessary to the GLA to achieve the required quantities of new low-cost rent homes in London because developers seem not able to deliver them in the numbers needed. Boroughs using the proceeds from Right-to-Buy would not be sufficient to supply enough of that type of home.
The Minister and one's own MP should be given comments on this Green Paper that can be downloaded from here.

Changes to the draft London Plan and its examination

Posted on: 14 August 2018 at 19:38:55
An updated version of the draft London Plan is available here with new maps here.
See also a table of the minor suggested changes to it with reasons given and the details of the public examination (EiP) of it from next January and the documents that are associated with it.
There will be opportunities to respond to the key matters that the EiP Inspectors will publish in September and in November.

House of Commons Library briefing on Heathrow

Posted on: 20 June 2018 at 23:23:39
A useful House of Commons Library briefing paper on Heathrow airport and its plans to expand capacity with a third runway can be seen here. There is a link to a full report.

'Streets for All' updated

Posted on: 15 June 2018 at 23:50:14
Following public consultation, the national and regional 'Streets for All' documents have now been updated and reissued, providing practical advice for anyone involved in planning and implementing highways and other public realm works in sensitive historic locations.
The London version is here.

Environmental Principles and Governance after EU Exit

Posted on: 15 June 2018 at 23:05:55
This new piece of legislation will mark the creation of a new, world-leading, statutory and independent environmental watchdog. The consultation until 2nd August seeks ideas on what functions and powers the new environmental watchdog should have to oversee environmental law and policy.

Revitalising town centres: a handbook for Councils

Posted on: 15 June 2018 at 22:58:22
The Local Government Association has published a handbook and an accompanying online toolkit to offer guidance on how to approach the revitalisation of town and city centres.

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