Approaching city from Greenwich

London Forum Updates

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Chief Planner's letter on planning changes

Posted on: 8 April 2021 at 15:27:56
The MHCLG Chief Planner, Joanna Averley wrote in April 2021 to local authority planners about measures that will remain to ease the path out of lockdown.
The letter refers also to a Government response to the August 2020 consultation on 'Changes to the Current Planning System' with a decision not to raise the small sites threshold below which developers do not need to contribute to affordable housing. So, Chapter 5 of the National Planning Policy Framework still applies.
The Government has delayed its decision on whether or not to extend the current Permission in Principle to major development.

Jenrick backs bid to continue on-line planning committees

Posted on: 1 April 2021 at 21:59:17
The emergency measures introduced in 2020 that allowed boroughs to conduct planning committees on-line have not been renewed and meetings would not be able to be held that way after 6th May 2021. They were popular with communities and a recent survey of London Forum's members indicated how they would like to see such committees operating in future and some safeguards, as here.
The lawyer Zak Simmons has published his reaction to the ending of 'virtual' planning committee meetings.
There is a Government consultation on the subject in a call for evidence for 12 weeks from 25 March 2021.
On 8th April 2021 the Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Robert Jenrick, announced the Government would back a legal bid launched by the Association of Democratic Services Officers (ADSO), Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) and Hertfordshire County Council to have the virtual meetings continue. The Minister said "we believe there is a case to be heard". Details are here.

Tall buildings policy in the March 2021 London Plan

Posted on: 1 April 2021 at 11:17:40
London's boroughs have been given more control of the location of tall buildings by Policy D9 in the new London Plan introduced in March 2021. An article by Joey Gardiner explains the implications. London Forum members should ensure their Council is taking advantage of the policy.
The 'Homes for All Londoners' draft guidance for the new London Plan is being finalised now. London Forum has expressed concern to the GLA about one part of it on daylight to homes which could influence the design of tall buildings that are approved in future. The story was picked up by The Telegraph in an article.

New London Plan from March 2021

Posted on: 5 March 2021 at 20:27:22
The Mayor published the final version of the replacement London Plan, first seen in 2017, on 2nd March 2021. It provides the basis for revision of Local Plans with the introduction of design codes. The GLA web site has key points about the new London Plan with a link at the end to the full document.
Policies for Green Belt in the new London Plan and in the NPPF have been extracted, as here.
The GLA has issued amendments to the plan in light of changes by Government to the Use Class Order.
There is an interactive on-line Planning Data Map of London which can show any of the London Plan's designated parts, such as Opportunity Areas, Metropolitan Open Land, etc.
Civic and community groups should examine Chapter 3 of the Plan and consider London Forum's briefing on the 'Homes for All Londoners' draft guidance for developing small sites, as in the Plan Policy H2.
The GLA has published the guidance documents that have to be taken into account with the new London Plan. There will be consultation in summer 2021 on guidance for Air Quality Positive,  Fire Safety,  Transport Land,  Urban Greening Factor
The lawyer Simon Ricketts published a blog on the replacement London Plan and Litchfields has commented also on it.

National Model Design Code

Posted on: 30 January 2021 at 20:10:05
A consultation was launched by Government with a closing date of 27th March 2021 on a Model Design Code and associated revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
London Forum's response to the consultation is here.
The introduction of design code standards will support the implementation by boroughs of the replacement London Plan and its guidance for the use of such codes by boroughs for suburban densification of small sites by more 'Homes for Londoners' for which London Forum provided a summary.

Guidance on Good Quality Homes for All Londoners

Posted on: 13 December 2020 at 21:10:13
The Mayor published proposals on this subject to support the suburban densification and small site housing policies in the imminent replacement London Plan and sought responses from communities, boroughs and other stakeholders.
London Forum has summarised for members the content of the draft guidance and it submitted a response by the consultation closing date of 15th January 2021.
The Mayor's guidance on this subject will become a London Plan Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) document in the summer of 2021. The state of all London Plan SPGs is here.
The newer guidance documents listed, particularly the 'Good Quality Homes for All Londoners' one, and new policies in the replacement London Plan require considerable work by boroughs' planning staff to introduce the necessary local policies and guidance. 
The relevant replacement 'Publication' London Plan policies for that have been extracted - see Policies D2 for infrastructure and D3 for DesignPolicy H2 for Small Sites and Policy D9 for Tall Buildings.
Those policies and the guidance above require there to be context and character analyses and design codes for areas and sites in Local Development Plans to control what is allowed to be built and where, including housing types and definition of where tall buildings would be allowed and of what height.
Civic and community groups should be able to work with their local authority to get the required local policies in place. Without them, there is a danger of 'presumption in favour of development' resulting in approval of schemes not intended or required.

HCLG Committee work including on PWP

Posted on: 30 November 2020 at 15:04:10
London Forum responded as here to the call for evidence by the HCLG Committee on the Planning White Paper 'Planning for the Future'.
Several London Forum members were invited to join HCLG discussion groups on the subject.
Lisa Fairmaner, Head of the London Plan team, and others gave evidence to that committee, as here
The HCLG Committee's web page will be updated with reports on this inquiry and others, with any Government response, under 'Publications'.
The Committee had a reply from the Government to their proposals made after an earlier inquiry on the need to deliver more social housing. You will see the unsatisfactory response to their recommendation 6 and to others.

New database of all planning applications

Posted on: 26 November 2020 at 15:13:51
The GLA has launched a new database that includes data about all development proposals in London - see The Planning London Datahub.

Planning Aid for London re-launched

Posted on: 26 November 2020 at 12:27:28
Planning Aid for London will be issuing quarterly newsletters to those who subscribe on their web site.
They report that "In partnership with the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), PAL has been awarded a grant from Trust for London in June. We have expanded our advice line service, and have started to work with community groups on planning in their local area. Long-term casework support for community groups seeking to influence development and planning in their neighbourhoods will be available again from early next year."

Mayor sets out a social housing programme

Posted on: 24 November 2020 at 21:21:19
The most acute housing need in London is for low-cost homes to rent. The Mayor has secured an agreement with the Government to allow more than half the £4 billion Affordable Homes Programme for 2021-26 to be used to fund social rented homes. See here.
Conditions are described for developers wishing to bid for funds.

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