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London Forum Updates

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Funding for more trees and better open spaces


Posted on: 16 September 2017 at 09:45:18
Greener City Fund, offering up to £9 million to support local community groups, schools, boroughs and charities to plant more trees and create and improve green spaces across the capital has been launched by the Mayor of London. The first round of Community Tree Planting Grants and Community Green Spaces Grants are now open for application. There’s £1 million of funding for the first round, and grants of between £5,000 - £50,000 are available. Apply by 29 September for the Tree Planting Grants and 20 October 2017 for the Green Space Grants.


Mayor's affordable housing guidance and strategies


Posted on: 22 August 2017 at 09:44:06
Sadiq Khan has published as 'Homes for Londoners' his Affordable Housing and Viability Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG). See details here
There are encouraging aims for the delivery of at least 35% affordable housing and the provision of homes affordable to rent by those on the London Living Wage. The Mayor intends to support boroughs in analysing the credibility of developers viability assessments. The SPG sets out situations in which the Mayor may call in or direct a planning refusal. These situations include where the Mayor "considers that opportunities for affordable housing may have been missed for reasons such as the unsatisfactory provision or insufficient scrutiny of viability information".
Some concern arises that the guidance may lead to smaller dwellings and higher densities of development. The SPG states “Build-to-rent can be particularly suited to higher density development within or on the edge of town centres or near transport nodes.”
Also, on space standards in the London Plan which apply to all tenures, the SPG indicates to boroughs that the London Plan “provides flexibility to consider innovative designs where they meet identified need and are of an exceptional design and standard”. Boroughs are advised to take a flexible approach to local polices on the size of apartments.
London Forum's members should report any schemes where the guidance may result in too many small homes or buildings that do not relate to their context.
 
The Mayor has published for consultation until 2nd October 2017 a draft Transport Strategy which London Forum's members should consider and make response.
There is a London Assembly call for evidence, with the same closing date, on the subject of Future Transport
 
On 11 August Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, published his draft London Environment Strategy.
The public consultation on this strategy is open until 17th November 2017. 
With the air pollution and other enviromental issues that affect London now, it is important that civic and community groups examine the Mayor's proposals and make comment.
 


Sadiq Khan's talk on London's 'Good Growth' development


Posted on: 6 August 2017 at 19:24:55
Sadiq Khan gave a speech at a conference at the LSE and joined a panel to discuss how London's future development should be managed by 'Good Growth' policies which will be in the Replacement London Plan. There is a video of the event.


New Governance Code


Posted on: 6 August 2017 at 09:03:46
A Charity Governance Code has been published by the Charity Governance Code Steering Group which is a cross-sector collaboration with an independent chair, Rosie Chapman. The group’s purpose is to review, develop, promote and maintain the Code for the sector. The steering group’s members are ACEVO: Charity Leaders Network Association of ChairsICSA: The Governance InstituteNCVO: National Council for Voluntary OrganisationsSmall Charities CoalitionWCVA: Wales Council for Voluntary Action. The Charity Commission is an observer on the group.
The Commission's own full guidance on all aspects of setting up and running a charity is here.


Unlawful nursery on public open land


Posted on: 2 August 2017 at 15:25:47
In a judgment handed down on 28 July 2017 Mrs Justice LANG declared that a purported disposal by way of a 15 year lease by Wandsworth Borough Council of a building and land on Wandsworth Common to a limited company intending to operate a private pre-school childrens’ nursery on the site was unlawful.
LANG J. held that the purported disposal would be inconsistent with the statutory trust under which the Council holds the Common pursuant to section 10 of the Open Spaces Act 1906, and that it was outwith the Council’s powers regarding the uses to which it could put an Open Space such as the Common under the terms of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government Provisional Order Confirmation (Greater London Parks and Open Spaces) Act 1967. In particular, the purpose of the proposed disposal did not constitute ‘public recreation’ within the terms of the Schedule to the 1967 Act, and neither was it an ‘indoor facility for any form of recreation whatsoever’ under Article 7(1)(a)(v) of the Schedule. Furthermore, a letting to a commercial company such as the interested party could not be regarded as being within the scope of Article 7(1)(a)(vi) of the Schedule.
This is the only decided case in which a local authority purporting to act under the terms of the 1967 Act has been challenged successfully and prevented from doing so. The detailed judgment constitutes important guidance and has very considerable practical implications for local authorities keen to generate income from Open Spaces in ways that are lawful, and for environmental groups and local residents anxious to ensure that any such income generating activities by local authorities are kept strictly within lawful bounds.
 
R (on application of Alexander Muir) -v- Wandsworth Borough Council


'Good Growth' and London's historic environment


Posted on: 1 August 2017 at 23:06:02
Historic England has reported, with examples, on the way historic buildings have been integrated into new development. The paper sets out the real benefits of embedding an understanding and appreciation of our historic environment in the delivery of positive change, towards the Mayor's policy for 'Good Growth'.
Recommendations for the Replacement London Plan are made by Historic England.


Reducing emissions and preparing for climate change


Posted on: 1 August 2017 at 16:15:14
Parliament's Committee on Climate Change has produced a report and recommendations on this subject.  The Committee concluded that two related plans are required by law and they are needed now.


Planning reform proposals


Posted on: 1 August 2017 at 16:12:00
The House of Commons Library has published a document on this subject to inform MPs of the changes to planning policies that the Government has indicated could be made.


Historic England comments on keeping public parks open


Posted on: 31 July 2017 at 23:46:53
The response made to the Government's consultation on this subject by Historic England can be seen here.


£85m Liveable Neighbourhoods scheme launched in London


Posted on: 29 July 2017 at 22:02:51

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Transport for London (TfL) have announced a £85.9 million Liveable Neighbourhoods programme that aims to transform town centres and neighbourhood into more attractive and accessible public spaces.
The programme will give boroughs the opportunity to bid for funding for long-term schemes that encourage walking, cycling and the use of public transport.
It will provide grants of between £1 million and £10 million to a wide range of community-supported projects. These could be the creation of green space, new cycling infrastructure or the widening of pedestrian routes to improve access to shops and public transport.
The programme is part of Khan’s Healthy Streets approach. It featured in his draft Transport Strategy which is out for consultation until 2 October 2017.
Khan said: “I’ve set out bold plans to transform the way Londoners move around our city to improve our health, air quality and future prosperity. London’s boroughs are key partners in delivering this vision and through this new funding we can make a real difference by supporting the projects that local people want to see. This will ensure that the improvements really work for our local communities, transforming our town centres and successfully encouraging many more Londoners to walk, cycle or use public transport for the good of their health and our environment.”

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