Tower Bridge seen from River

London Forum Updates

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Update to members and associates and best wishes for 2015

Posted on: 7 January 2015 at 18:56:30
Over the Christmas and New Year holiday period, there have been various pieces of news and recommendations that community and civic groups may find of interest and some for discussion with their local authority.
They are available on this site for you, as follows:-
Campaign for a Greater London National Park -
Select Committee report on operation of NPPF -
    They have commented that "local authorities should be encouraged to
        review their green belts as part of the local planning process."
An article on homes built for overseas investors -
Action sought on air pollution by MPs' committee -
Law Commission's 'Right to Light' proposals  -
Street Design manual -
Briefing on street design campaigning -
A guide to free schools -
New sustainable urban drainage proposals -
RTPI report on the benefits of devolution -
Revised tall buildings guidance -
Charles Wagner on tall buildings and heritage -
New London Model at NLA
New London Architecture centre has announced that it is building a new, fully interactive model of central London's buildings. The New London Model will cover a larger area of the capital than the current display and include new regeneration areas such as Earls Court, White City and Old Oak Common, as well as more accurate depictions of key projects. Digital technology, projections and films will enhance areas and schemes throughout central London, highlighting all aspects of London’s physical environment. The model itself will be revealed for the first time as the centerpiece of the London Stand at MIPIM this year, with a full interactive launch to take place in the NLA galleries at The Building Centre, Store Street, off Tottenham Court Road, at the end of March.
A film by London Councils about saving London's High Streets is here.
Urban Design London's events are here  London Forum members can request a free place by responding to this link and mentioning London Forum. Events may be fully booked by staff of boroughs who sponsor the events but that does not happen frequently.
If you have been involved in design reviews, UDL would like to hear from you here.
For those suporting parks and open spaces there is a general meeting for such groups on Monday 19th January 2015 6pm - 8pm Committee Room 5 at City Hall (downstairs by the cafe), 110 The Queens Walk, London, SE1 2AA (10mins walk from London Bridge tube station).   All welcome!
The campaigning for rent caps increases. You can watch an interview from TV on the reasons and aims here.  You can sign a related petition and share it with others.
Civic Voice has launched a Design Award. To make entries see here.
You can obtain the Civic Voice's manifesto for the incoming Government.
Other information is posted frequently on London Forum's Twitter account here   Please look at recent entries there for updates on other subjects.  It would be useful if you found someone in your organisation to 'follow' London Forum's postings on Twitter and you might publicise the availability of the tweeted news items to your officers and your members.
London Forum will be seeking renewal of members' subscriptions in the next few weeks. Please make your treasurer or main London Forum contact aware so that payments can be made promptly.
I wish you success in all your endeavours in 2015.
Peter Eversden

Autumn Statement summary by London Councils

Posted on: 11 December 2014 at 10:19:20
London Councils' report on the 2014 Autumn Statement is here.

Discussion paper on review of the Green Belt

Posted on: 10 December 2014 at 14:11:40
A paper was produced for a London Society event to consider if the Green Belt should be examined for revision.
It was published by Jonathan Manns and is on this web site here.
In his blog, Andrew Lainton gives the background on this subject and his comments here.

The Right to Custom Build

Posted on: 10 December 2014 at 13:49:30
A consultation here on Right to Build closes on 18th December 2014.
It requires Councils to make plots of land available to those wishing to build their own home. The implications are explained in a blog by Chris Brown available here. He is critical of some aspects of the scheme and points out that the Government has included a proposal to remove affordable housing obligations from S.106.

'Euston Cross' proposal for HS2 publicised again

Posted on: 24 November 2014 at 18:26:54
Andrew Lainton in his blog has drawn attention here to the proposal by members of the House of Lords for an alternative station for HS2 in Central London avoiding the problems of direct routing of HS2 into Euston station.
See also other recent news posts on key issues in his blog.

Clarification: permissions & licences for Tidal Thames

Posted on: 23 November 2014 at 17:24:26
An explanation of the organisations that could be involved in granting permission for developments on the Tidal Thames has been added to this web site here.  Thanks to Peter Makower of the West London River Group for the details.

Profiles on heritage resources in local authorities

Posted on: 21 November 2014 at 14:47:53
English Heritage has published details on this subject for London boroughs here on:-

  • Whether there is a Heritage Champion.

  • Whether there is a Historic Environment Record (and is it online).

  • Whether there is a list of locally important heritage assets.

  • Number of designated heritage assets.

  • Number of designated heritage assets classed as 'at risk'.

  • Number of planning applications, listed building consents and parks and garden consents.

  • Data on Heritage Lottery Fund grants made within the local authority area.

The information in each profile can be used to enable local groups to engage with services in support of local heritage. For example through aiding engagement with local Heritage Champions, or supporting community action on developing or updating the local list of buildings of heritage importance.

Housing Minister: Councils can use NPPF not Local Plan

Posted on: 20 November 2014 at 16:59:06
The Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis, has announced that planning authorities do not need to update their Local Plans because decisions on planning applications can be made on the basis of the policies in the NPPF.   See the details and comments here.
This latest madness by DCLG means that London’s boroughs would not need to update their Local Plans to conform to the NPPF and the latest version of the London Plan. Communities want boroughs to devise policies and Development Plan Documents which define what should be developed and where and for what purpose, to spatially address the NPPF, London Plan and Opportunity Area Planning Framework policies for local development to be sustainable. Without that happening, it would be difficult to prevent harmful changes.
Some London boroughs have not achieved an approved plan in the last ten years, since they were instructed then by Government to do so before September 2007. Will some local authorities in the country now give up planning and rely on national policy and guidance, which has little to do with places?
Decisions on planning applications made just on the basis of the NPPF content may give some developers the opportunity to build what they like for maximum profit, rather than deliver what local authorities need.
Brandon Lewis does not seem to have mentioned the London Plan which should form the basis of the core strategy for every borough and is part of the development plan for decision making, together with the Local Plan and the NPPF.
The Government’s statement that if a Local Plan is out of date, the default answer to a planning application is ‘Yes’ has not been withdrawn. This leaves confusion about development control.
The earlier interference by Government in local decision making by relaxation of planning controls has been serious, as described in the links within the 'Adverse effects of permitted development of offices' item on the next page. There are other papers on that subject here and here and here and here.
It is important that community groups keep up the pressure on their MP and any Members of the House of Lords and Ministers that they know, for Government to stop dictating how development decisions will be made locally. Recent changes and proposals by Government mean that the Localism Act was largely meaningless.

Greg Barker to chair Sustainable Development Commission

Posted on: 16 November 2014 at 19:49:36
Boris Johnson has announced here that he has appointed Greg Barker, MP, as new Chairman of his London Sustainable Development Commission, and tasked him with helping the capital meet the environmental challenges posed by a population that is set to increase by 37 per cent to more than 11 million people by 2050.
London Forum expects that there should now be more focus on sustainable urban drainage, on addressing traffic congestion and air pollution and ensuring the required infrastructure is delivered. It is expected also that the Mayor's Infrastructure Delivery Board will take input from civic and amenity societies.

Housebuilding initiative on National Grid land

Posted on: 16 November 2014 at 19:41:02
A new partnership that is expected to create 14,000 new homes across London and the South East has been welcomed by Boris Johnson. National Grid and Berkeley Group have established a joint venture to develop major residential and mixed-use development schemes. Known as St William Homes LLP, the initiative brings together access to a significant portfolio of brownfield land owned by National Grid Property in key areas of housing need.
See more details here.

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