Twilight view of London Eye and other ladnmarks from Waterloo Bridge

London Forum Updates

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Assessing proposals for building upwards

Posted on: 8 August 2021 at 12:30:02
LB Barnet applied a reason for refusal of extra floors on a house, which the Government made permitted development (PDR), which is here.
See more on PDR in updates below dated 12th July, 23rd June and 8th April.

New NPPF and final NMDC

Posted on: 23 July 2021 at 10:44:42
Christopher Pincher Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government) made the following statement on 20th July 2021.
"We have today published the response to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and National Model Design Code consultation. The updated NPPF has been published at and the response to the consultation is available at:"
There is a document showing NPPF changes from the 2019 to the 2021 version.
The UK Green Building Council has criticised the NPPF as here and here.
The lawyer Zack Simons has written on five important things that he thinks are missing from the July 2021 NPPF version. London Forum has proposed to MHCLG that a national policy on tall buildings is needed also.
The latest version of the NMDC and associated guidance is available here.
The Government has launched an Office for Place to support local planning authorities in developing design codes and delivering good design.
Robert Jenrick's speech on all the above emphasised the importance of beauty.
The Place Alliance has carried out research into the design skills, resources and design governance approaches in local authorities. There are other useful reports on their web site in the 'Place Quality Research' pages.

Chief Planner's July 2021 newsletter

Posted on: 16 July 2021 at 11:20:38
Joanna Averley provided an update on Government planning activities to local authorities. It includes new fire safety rules for development.

More details on high street PDR

Posted on: 12 July 2021 at 19:47:51

The Mayor has published a strategic evidence report supporting boroughs wanting Article 4 Directions to control commercial to residential permitted development conversions (Use Class E to C3). Details are here and here.
The GLA report relates to the 2021 London Plan and new government policy on Article 4s and supports geographically targeted Article 4s for the whole of the Central Activities Zone and Northern Isle of Dogs; for strategically significant office locations beyond the CAZ; for town centres and high streets and for industrial areas, including creative production space.
Meanwhile, despite the permitted development right (PDR) for change of uses in town centres, the Government has published proposals for the future of high streets, in 'Build Back Better High Streets'.
In July 2021 the House of Commons HCLG Committee's critical report on PDR was published. Extracts can be read here.
Further to the update below of 23 June 2021 on this freedom for almost any conversion, there are warnings about potential loss of local infrastructure and an article on that subject by RTPIThere was an article in PropertyWeek that the new Class MA PDR "could meet the housing crisis head on".
However, the Arts Council has reported on how arts and culture could bring people and pride back to our high streets.

Latest Healthy Streets Scorecard published

Posted on: 6 July 2021 at 13:12:07
The Healthy Streets Scorecard shows the health of each borough’s streets. Councils and communities should work together to make improvements.

Historic England's planning bulletins

Posted on: 3 July 2021 at 23:11:01
The June 2021 planning update by Historic England (HE) is published here.
London Forum members can request to subscribe for HE's planning bulletins by emailing

Statements of Community Involvement

Posted on: 28 June 2021 at 10:25:30
Civic Voice has published an interim report by the University of Reading on a scrutiny of the quality of local authorities' Statements of Community Involvement. SCIs in LB Southwark and LB Brent are to be examined further. 

PDR - town centre uses to housing

Posted on: 23 June 2021 at 10:38:53
There was a briefing on this subject here and a paper published by the House of Commons Library on permitted development and change of use.
The permitted development rules may result in the loss of shops, social infrastructure facilities and local services. London Forum proposed that prior approval applications for town and district centre change of use should be added to the GLA Planning London Datahub for monitoring. That was agreed but it's accuracy depends upon boroughs uploading data.

Listed Building consent HE advice

Posted on: 23 June 2021 at 10:28:22
A new Historic England Advice Note no. 16 on Listed Building Consent is published at 
It gives general advice for owners of listed buildings about Listed Building Consent as an application process; how to judge whether proposals need consent or not; how to achieve certainty on the need for consent; how to make informed applications; works which may or may not need listed building consent depending on how the works are proposed to be carried out.

HCLG committee investigations

Posted on: 10 June 2021 at 18:10:46
Parliament's Housing, Communities and Local Government committee published its report on evidence it received for its examination of the Government's 'Planning for the Future' White Paper (PWP) and its recommendations.
London Forum responded to the PWP consultation as here and finds the HCLG committee's recomendations meet many of its concerns.
The HCLG committee interviewed Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP, Minister for Housing, on Permitted Development Rights, as here.

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