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London Forum Updates

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Publications on planning and housing Sep/Oct 2018

Posted on: 29 October 2018 at 14:10:50
The following publications provide updates:-
A report by the RIBA on the Government's proposals for building upwards.
Historic England's planning bulletin October 2018.
A new procedural guide for planning appeals.
An update from the Chief Planner in MHCLG on planning changes.
A debate in the House of Lords on the case for more affordable homes.
A conference report of the 'Future of Metroland'.
A survey of the use by planning authorities of Community Infrastructure funds.
An article on the effectiveness of Neighbourhood Plans.

Peers debate the need for truly affordable new housing

Posted on: 26 October 2018 at 21:27:28
There was a debate in the House of Lords on 25th October 2018 on the need for more homes that people can afford to rent.
It was a good discussion and worth reading. The opening remarks by Lord Shipley sum up the current situation of lack of homes that people can afford comprehensively.
There was a statement by Lord Horam, Conservative, that the days of the Housing and Planning Act were "dire".
Baroness Warwick as the chair of the National Housing Federation, the trade body for housing associations in England said "Everyone should be able to access a good-quality home that they can afford either to rent or to buy, but so many cannot." "This is a real crisis." "Public funding for social housing has been declining for decades: 40 years ago, it was £18 billion a year. In 2015-16, it was just £1.1 billion. Over the same period, the housing benefit bill grew from £4 billion to £24.2 billion a year."
Lord Rooker, Labour, said "The first [requirement] is the restoration of the affordable housing programme, cut by 60% in 2011 when the funding for social rent was completely removed. We also have to start to use our brains. I was on the original Standing Committee in the Commons when rent allowances became housing benefit. We warned at the time of the possibility that this subsidy to private landlords would get out of hand—it is now £24 billion."

James Murray responds to questions on London housing

Posted on: 9 October 2018 at 14:07:49
Answers to questions by the Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, James Murray, about homes in the capital can be seen here.

Response to the Mayor's Sports Strategy

Posted on: 8 October 2018 at 17:32:20
London Forum has made some comments on the Mayor's Sports Strategy.
Other London Forum responses to Government, GLA and Transport for London consultations and evidence to Commons Select Committees can be seen here.

Potential funding problems for some London boroughs

Posted on: 31 August 2018 at 15:49:50
The London Communications Agency has reported that the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has predicted that the government could make inner London borough councils bear greater costs for the delivery of statutory services, as the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) considers consultation responses to its Fair Funding Review.
The Review is designed to determine how resources should be allocated to local authorities from April 2020. The IFS contends that inner London boroughs, which often set low tax rates (such as Wandsworth and Westminster), will be assessed by the Government as having lower spending needs and thus less wanting of central government funding.
The IFS interpretation of the Review’s direction is an interesting one, but should only be treated as an interpretation given the number of other factors the Review considers that could determine final funding allocations, such as employment density and so on. That said, the fact the IFS  has led with these predictions poses questions for those London boroughs that have historically chosen to keep council taxes low, many of whom often have high assessed spending needs.

'Planning' publishes a set of comments on the new NPPF

Posted on: 30 August 2018 at 15:06:23
There is a set of articles published here by PlanningResource which explain and review the implications of various parts of the new National Planning Policy Framework. They include comments by RTPI, RIBA, TCPA and others.

Forum response to 'Who pays for transport services?'

Posted on: 29 August 2018 at 21:58:23
London Forum's comments on this subject can be seen here.
We have expressed concern also to Transport for London about the reductions proposed for bus services which London Forum thinks are contrary to policies for more people to travel by public transport instead of by car.

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".

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