City of London seen from Southbank

London Forum Updates

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Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission report


Posted on: 11 March 2020 at 18:25:30
A report 'Living with Beauty' has been published by the commission set up by the Government to examine beauty as a policy objective.
Their recommendations are most welcome on how local authorities should plan for acceptable design of buildings in their report section 6 and how communities should be engaged by effective collaboration in planning and decision making in section 7. This provides another basis on which civic and community groups in London can insist that their Council plans and liaises properly.
The Commission's policy proposition 14 to "permit intensification with consent" is applicable to the planned densification of land use in outer London.
The Commission has warmly endorsed the recently published National Design Guide which was covered in the update below of 4th March and which also proposes better community participation.
London Forum will expect the Commission's proposals to be included in the forthcoming Government proposals for changes to the planning system.


News from Historic England


Posted on: 8 March 2020 at 21:07:53
There are several useful reports and recommendations by Historic England here.
 
An important one for civic and community groups to use is the report on 'Carbon in the Built Historic Environment' which has general applicability for embedded energy in buildings when repair or replacement is considered.


A map and a list of Neighbourhood Plans in London


Posted on: 8 March 2020 at 17:43:22
The location and status of Neighbourhood Plans in London can be seen here.
 
Whether it is for the next revision by their borough of the Local Plan or in preparation for proposing a Neighbourhood Forum, it is important for communities to clearly document and update proposals for the kind of development they want to see in their area and the issues that need to be resolved.


Community engagement in design and decision making


Posted on: 4 March 2020 at 12:03:31
London Forum informed its members in October 2019 about new National Design Guidance
 
Civic societies and residents' groups should familiarise themselves with the supporting information that was published here.
The section on 'Effective community engagement on design' is important and societies should check that their local Council is following the guidance and making available the opportunities for community engagement that are described.


Issue of New London Plan delayed by Secretary of State


Posted on: 22 February 2020 at 19:47:08
The Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State (SoS) for housing, communities and local government, has announced a second delay in delivering his comments on Sadiq Khan's response to the Inspectors' report on their examination of the New London Plan (NLP). The Minister was to have informed the Mayor of his views and recommendation in January 2020 but has now set a date of Monday 16th March for his comments on the Mayor's 'Intend to Publish' version of the NLP.
Changes to that version as a result of any SoS' recommendations are likely to be few and London Forum members should familiarise themselves with its contents and ensure their Council has the local policies in place to support its implementation and to take advantage of NLP policies which give local authorities control over what is built and where.
That will require context and character analyses of the borough and comprehensive Site Allocations in the Local Plan with design codes and assessment of infrastructure requirements.
Several pieces of best practice and supplementary planning guidance are expected to support the NLP.
London Forum had published an assessment of the NLP Inspectors' recommendations and comments on the Mayor's response.
Subsequently, London Forum issued comments on the directions the Secretary of State issued for changes to the London Plan.
An open meeting held in December 2019 explored the implications of the NLP and the ways in which densification of the suburbs could be achieved in a sustainable way.


LB Harrow approves 1,226 homes where 800 expected


Posted on: 27 January 2020 at 15:39:13
Officers advised that, due to the borough's housing targets being set to increase following the adoption of the New London Plan this Spring, the scheme would be "appropriate and welcomed".
The height of buildings will be 18 storeys instead of the 10 storeys anticipated in 2015. An article from 'Planning' is here.
Other boroughs may be changing their Local Development Plan's Site Allocations to meet housing targets and densify London's suburbs.


Rise of local political parties and independent groups


Posted on: 25 January 2020 at 20:34:30
An article in PlanningResource on this subject is interesting for what is happening in local authorities around London as community groups displace political party elected members.
 
Could this happen in London?


One in fifty homes may be short term lets in London


Posted on: 24 January 2020 at 23:59:12
New research from London Councils suggests one in every 50 homes in the capital is let on a short term basis, raising fresh concerns about the impact on London’s housing stock and communities.


Policy and legislation changes expected in 2020


Posted on: 23 January 2020 at 21:50:15
An article in PlanningResource suggests what should be expected from the Government based on the Queen's speech, the Tory manifesto and their other announcements.


Volume housebuilders blasted over design quality


Posted on: 23 January 2020 at 21:43:11
A study by the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London, and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) claims that three-quarters of new houses are either of ‘mediocre’ or ‘poor’ quality design.
Councils are rejecting poorly-designed housing schemes only to see them approved on appeal, "fatally" undermining the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), according to the study.
The conclusions of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, when available soon, will be relevant.

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