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London Forum Updates

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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.

Report on delivery of approved schemes

Posted on: 6 June 2021 at 15:11:32
Lichfields was commissioned by the Land Promoters & Developers Federation (“LPDF”) and Home Builders Federation (“HBF”) to undertake research into how the pipeline of sites for housing development compares with what might be needed to meet the Government’s ambitions for 300,000 net additional homes per year across England. Their report is here.

Government forces 'First Homes' delivery

Posted on: 6 June 2021 at 12:41:05
At least 25% of a developer’s requirement to build at least 10% affordable housing will need to be First Homes from 28th June 2021, so at least 2.5% of all homes built in a scheme would need to be First Homes.
First homes will be sold at a discount, available only for first-time buyers, of 30% at a minimum. There is a price cap, after the discount has been applied, of £250,000 or £420,000 in London.
In the consultation on MHCLG proposals for First Homes, the GLA responded that such homes would be unaffordable to most Londoners and the discount is likely to have a negative impact on developers' contribution to desperately needed low cost rent homes.
Planning magazine had an article on 'First Homes' and Property Week published comments on the perpertual discount trap that would apply.

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