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London Forum Updates

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Planning future high streets


Posted on: 29 June 2020 at 19:22:27
A research paper has been published on how the state of high streets reveals key issues facing the economy after Covid-19.
Important points about the Government's new town centre use classes have been published.
Michael Bach for London Forum has commented on the problems that will be introduced by a broad new Use Class E.
There is a report by HGH Consulting covering a recent 'Planning Futures' webinar on planning the post COVID-19 High Street.
The Grimsey Review on the future of High Streets has been updated for the emergence from lockdown. It is a comprehensive report and proposes "An exciting new model now ready to be developed and implemented by inspired local leaders." There are 27 recommendations which civic and community groups should study and discuss with their Council.
The High Streets Task Force held a 'Reopening the High Street' webinar on 19th June 2020. Ian Harvey, Director of Civic Voice, participated in that webinar and called for greater collaboration to redefine our high streets. A recording is available here.
Councils across England are sharing £50m of Government funding to support the safe reopening of high streets and other commercial areas. Details are here. The money will allow local authorities in England to put in place additional measures to establish a safe trading environment for businesses and customers.
To support those changes and others arising from the Transport for London and boroughs' 'Streetspace' programme (see the 18 June 2020 update on the next page) the Government issued design principles for 'Safer Public Spaces' and also 'Gear Change' on improving facilities for walking and cycling.
In the 2020 edition of the Journal of The London Society is a article on revival strategies for the high street by Lucy Bullivant.
A report was published 'Ensuring a Thriving Retail Economy' following a survey of retail and other businesses in Chiswick in West London. It was found that high rents are identified as a key reason for businesses failing and that business rates favoured large stores over small ones.


Community engagement in plan making


Posted on: 29 June 2020 at 19:09:56
An opinion piece by Catriona Riddell recommends more honest and transparent relationship between councils and their local communities.
She writes that "A new contract of engagement is needed to ensure that plans are prepared in collaboration with all sectors of the local community, using their extensive knowledge and experience of the places where they live and work to inform priorities from the start."


Right to lobby Councillors on developments


Posted on: 29 June 2020 at 16:26:06
A Court decision means that from 11th June 2020 communities have the right to lobby Councillors sitting on a planning committee about any scheme and the Councillors should read any documents submitted.


The case for retirement housing


Posted on: 29 June 2020 at 16:12:17
Further to the update below on this subject of 13th June, the Planning magazine has published an article on what local authority planners could do to encourage more schemes to come forward.


Post pandemic considerations


Posted on: 21 June 2020 at 11:42:32
There are two recent publications that can help to inform debate and planning for a post pandemic London.
In an RIBA Journal article several contributors comment on the potential office design revolution and what our future workspaces might look like.
The London Society has started a debate 'WhenThisIsAllOver' about what will change and what should done differently in the post-virus, post-lockdown world. Twenty five blogs submitted to them on various subjects can be read here.


Borough on-line planning meetings


Posted on: 21 June 2020 at 11:28:19
London Forum produced a report on the way Councils were conducting on-line planning committee meetings in the first two months of Covid-19 lockdown.
The details and recommendations were sent in a letter to borough planning people and a positive response was received from many of them.
Standards expected will be monitored by civic and community groups.


New MHCLG Chief Planner Joanna Averley


Posted on: 20 June 2020 at 16:54:23
A new Chief Planner has been appointed in Government, as here.


'Streetspace' programme guidance by UDL


Posted on: 18 June 2020 at 10:08:10
Urban Design London (UDL) has been holding webinars on how streets could be re-designed and reconfigured as traffic is managed.
Videos of the webinars can be seen here.
There will be a a round up of best practice on 30th June 2020. To book for that session email info@urbandesignlondon.com 


Report/proposals: 'Action on Empty Homes'


Posted on: 17 June 2020 at 15:41:07
Action on Empty Homes has studied the problem of homes not used and has produced a report and proposed actions that the Government and Councils could take.
London Forum's members should discuss this with their local authority.


Revisions to England's planning system


Posted on: 17 June 2020 at 13:59:08
The Government is proposing amendments to the planning system. A White Paper on the subject was proposed in 2019 and may be seen in the next few months.
London Forum has considered the suggestions that the Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick, and Policy Exchange have made for such changes and has prepared some draft 'Red Lines' which will be reviewed when further proposals are published by the Government.
London Forum wrote some months ago to the Secretary of State to oppose Permitted Development Rights (PDR) for 'building upwards'. The response left concerns about possible PDR for raising buildings other than blocks of flats.
London Forum will continue to make representations to Ministers and to the new Chief Planner in MHCLG, Joanna Averley, who was appointed on 16th June, as reported in Planning.
The retiring Chief Planner, Steve Quartermain, covered many matters of interest in his valedictory letter to local authorities.

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