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London Forum Updates

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Interview with the Rt Hon Robert Jenrick

Posted on: 7 May 2021 at 17:04:50
In a recent interview, Robert Jenrick spoke about how communities could work with their Council to devise design codes in Local Plans to influence "beautiful" development and "gentle densification". On tall buildings, he urged local Councils to decide where they should be located.

Sadiq Khan's pledges from May 2021

Posted on: 6 May 2021 at 20:51:48
Sadiq Khan's commitments were published here.

Join London Forum to support us

Posted on: 25 April 2021 at 10:34:27
If you are reading this page from a URL in Twitter or LinkedIn, please consider joining London Forum to support us in our work. We have memberships for individuals, companies, civic societies and resident associations - see 'Join Us' above.

New flight paths to be introduced

Posted on: 22 April 2021 at 21:25:19
John Stewart reports on Performance Based Navigation (PBN) for future flights paths being planned by 'Our Future Skies'. PBN is well-suited to provide noise respite. Curved and high level airport approaches could be implemented to reduce flights over any one community.

Delivery contracts to boost housebuilding

Posted on: 20 April 2021 at 18:56:15
Planning permissions should include a legally-binding "delivery contract" setting out "an agreed contractual trajectory of housing delivery" with penalties for developers and councils that breach them, according to a think tank report by the Centre for Policy Studies, welcomed by the housing minister, Christopher Pincher.

Convert private rented homes to social housing?

Posted on: 16 April 2021 at 19:04:35
"The private rented sector is unwilling and unable to house those in greatest need. As landlords seek to exit that sector, the government should purchase their properties for social rented housing", writes Lord Richard Best, chair of the Affordable Housing Commission (AHC) which recommended a £1.3bn National Housing Conversion Fund.

Status of Local Plans in London

Posted on: 15 April 2021 at 15:03:54
Commercial estate agents Bidwells has published a Spring 2021 update on Local Plans in boroughs. It is clear that several Councils have out of date policies and are locked into the process of preparation, consultation, examination and adoption of changes which will make it difficult for them to modify plans in the near future for design codes and for whatever is the outcome of the Planning White Paper. In March 2020, the Government set a clear deadline of December 2023 for all authorities to have up-to-date Local Plans in place.
Civic and community groups should work with their local authority to help devise new local policies to plan development and control its type and location. In some cases, supplementary planning documents may be a way to achieve that in the short term.

PDR - town centre uses to housing

Posted on: 8 April 2021 at 17:30:14
The Government proposed in December 2020 new permitted development rights to allow buildings included in its newly-created Class E in town centres, such as shops, offices, banks, other financial institutions, lawyers, architects, accountants, Post Offices, creches, day centres and indoor sports facilities and gyms, to convert to housing without needing planning permission.
On 31st March 2021 the Government issued a press statement announcing new planning laws which introduce most of the proposed changes but with more limits and conditions for prior approval. Those were in a report on the responses it had received, its comments on them and the new rules.
They include a Class MA in the General Permitted Development Order, granting deemed planning permission for change of use from commercial and business use (Class E) to residential (Class C3) from 1st August 2021.
The Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee has commenced an inquiry into the impact and affects of permitted development and seeks responses to its questions by Friday 30th April 2021. Civic and community societies should respond.
London Forum's critical response to the original consultation was submitted as here and a letter was sent to the Secretary of State about the proposals. There is a blog by Jennie Baker for Lichfields which gives comprehensive details about the new Use Class MA and another by Martin Goodall here. Comments by Zack Simons and Joey Gardiner are here. 
These proposals, as with existing permitted development, take away the full ability of Councils and their communities to control what happens and where. It could result in serious harm to district and town centres.

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.

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