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London Forum Updates

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Press releases of Mayor Sadiq Khan

Posted on: 2 June 2016 at 10:27:57
The announcements made by Sadiq Khan on appointments made for his team and policy statements on various subjects can be seen here.

Historic England - new heritage publication

Posted on: 2 June 2016 at 10:19:09
A report 'Heritage and Society 2016' published by Historic England presents facts and figures which illustrate the benefits the historic environment brings to society.
A copy can be downloaded from here.

Housing and Planning Act and its implications

Posted on: 24 May 2016 at 16:34:20
Despite all the briefings that London Forum produced for MPs and Peers on the issues that could arise if the Housing and Planning Bill was not altered, it received Royal Assent on 12th May with few amendments made.
Most of the concerns given below in an earlier update and here remain.
Some comments have been published by various organisations and attention is drawn to the following:-
An insight by Glocal Counsel,
Comments by Boyer Planning,
A 24dash article on the implications for ALMOs and Councils

Consultations - Libraries, Starter Homes, etc.

Posted on: 29 April 2016 at 13:53:39
There is a consultation running until 3rd June 2016 on the Government's 'Ambition for Public Libraries in England 2016-2021'.
However, the document states that it is not intended to dictate what library services each local authority must deliver and how. London Forum's members have been concerned about library closures and should respond to the consultation.
The Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 makes clear that "It shall be the duty of every library authority to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons desiring to make use thereof".
See also 
The Government is consulting until 18th May on the regulations to support the Starter Homes clauses in the Housing and Planning Bill. The introduction of Starter Homes for sale, unaffordable by many people under 40 for whom they are intended, was challenged by Peers when they debated the Bill.  The Government should not dictate that such homes will be the priority for delivery on all brownfield sites.
There is another consultation on the Department for Transport's draft cycling and walking investment strategy which closes on 23rd May. The views of communities and others are sought on innovative projects and programmes.

Planning permissions for London new builds drop 64%

Posted on: 29 April 2016 at 13:24:36
Alarming figures have been published in a press report here.
It is reported that boroughs in London rejected four in 10 possible new homes this year, up from two in 10 in the first quarter of 2015.

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.

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