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London Forum Updates

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Stronger charities for a stronger society


Posted on: 26 March 2017 at 11:47:01
The House of Lords Select Committee on Charities has published its report on this subject.  Some of it is more applicable to voluntary groups providing services than to civic and amenity societies but its content should be read and considered by all community groups.
It is important that London Forum's members review their objectives, corporate governance, constitution, SWOT analysis, activities, public benefits of their work and succession planning.  Those needs were reviewed and discussed in an open meeting for members in 2016.
More information and guidance is on the Charity Commission's web site.


Chancellor agrees some devolution for London


Posted on: 8 March 2017 at 15:34:40
Planning reports that in his Budget statement to Parliament, chancellor Philip Hammond told MPs that he had "reached a deal with the mayor of London on further devolution".
The Budget document said that a memorandum of understanding with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and umbrella body London Councils "includes joint working to explore the benefits of, and scope for, locally-delivered criminal justice services; action to tackle congestion; and a taskforce to explore piloting a new approach to funding infrastructure".
The memorandum of understanding, published alongside the Budget document, said that the government has agreed to establish a joint taskforce bringing together the GLA, mayoral agency Transport for London, London Councils, the Department for Transport and the Department for Communities and Local Government "to explore the options for piloting a Development Rights Auction Model (DRAM) on a major infrastructure project in London".
The memorandum adds: "Should a pilot of DRAM be agreed, it will be jointly evaluated by London and the government to review its effectiveness and determine whether a similar model could be applied to other infrastructure projects."
According to a TfL report, dated February 2017, the DRAM mechanism would involve the introduction of a "periodic development rights auction, in which development rights over land put forward (voluntarily) by landowners are auctioned in assembled packages to a competitive field of developers".
The report adds: "Gains above a reserve price are shared between the participating landowners and the planning/auctioning authority. No development taxes (such as CILs or s106 payments) are payable under this scheme."
A statement from the mayor’s office said that the new funding model would "provide significant funding towards future projects – allowing them to be built quicker and with less reliance on Government funding".
More than five years ago, the previous coalition government proposed piloting a system of land auctions on public sector land, but the idea never got off the ground


Historic England's update on planning changes


Posted on: 25 February 2017 at 17:26:45
A very useful Planning Bulletin has been issued by Historic England which summarises various pieces of Government policy and gives links to proposals and consultations. It can be seen here.


MPs warn about 3rd Heathrow runway pollution and noise


Posted on: 23 February 2017 at 18:50:33
The environmental audit committee of the Commons has warned Ministers that building a third runway at Heathrow could result in worse toxic air levels, challenge the UK's carbon reduction plans and subject more people, businesses and schools to more noise for many years.
On 20th February 2017 the committee reported that "The UK has already breached legal NO2 limits in London for 2017. The High Court has ordered the Government to produce a new plan to tackle air pollution by July 2017, the conclusions of both of the Government’s air quality re-analysis studies are based on the previous, over-optimistic plan. The effectiveness of the Government’s new air quality plan will be integral to determining whether Heathrow expansion can be delivered within legal limits. We are concerned that the timing of the draft NPS consultation means the Government will be unable to carry out a comprehensive re-analysis of the air quality impacts, using the new air quality plan, before the consultation process is complete."
The committee reported "The headline cost and benefits figures in the Government’s announcement on Heathrow and the draft National Policy Statement assumed a black hole in the 2050 carbon budget that other sectors, such as energy or industry, would have to fill." and "The Committee on Climate Change has repeatedly urged the Government to draw up an emissions reduction strategy for aviation. The ICAO agreement means the Government no longer has any excuse not to do so."
They point out that air quality limits are not set out in the Draft National Policy Statement on airport capacity.  
For surface access the MPs comment that "The Government has not yet published a comprehensive assessment of the infrastructure requirements of an expanded Heathrow, including an outline of costs, responsibilities and accountability."
On noise, the committee commented that "If the Government plans to rely on future technical improvement to reduce noise impacts, then it must provide the aviation industry with support by setting a clear strategic direction for the industry and guarantee policy certainty for investment." Also, "We are concerned with the inconsistency of the metrics used to measure noise attitudes. The Government ..... bases its conclusions on the out of date 57 dB LAeq 16hr contour." and "We question whether Heathrow’s 20 year timetable for rolling out noise insulation is reasonable. We believe that communities affected by noise in 2026 should not have to wait 20 years for insulation."
The committee's latest report on Carbon Emissions, Air Quality and Noise for expansion of Heathrow by a third runway is here. Its sections and conclusions expand upon the extracts above. The 'conclusions' sections should be taken into consideration by those responding to the Government's draft Airports National Policy Statement.


BNP Paribas work on viability and tax


Posted on: 29 January 2017 at 17:06:17
The GLA and @jamesmurray_ldn have been asked for their reaction to the report here by @georgenturner of ourcity.london


Consultation responses given by London Forum


Posted on: 23 January 2017 at 14:14:35
London Forum submits responses to consultations of the Government, the GLA and national organisations.  Several have been submitted recently on bus services, with links as follows:-
LF response to consultation on West End buses
LF response to consultation on bus services Jan 2017
LF response on changes to bus services in Archway
Response to consultation on waiting and loading restrictions
LF response to TfL on air pollution
There is an Evening Standard report here about improvements in Oxford Street air pollution following the introduction of electric buses.


National Audit Office report on housing in England


Posted on: 19 January 2017 at 13:32:40
The NAO has published a report calling for transparency of the Government's plans for more homes and states "Housebuilding has not kept pace with need, and this is particularly acute in London".
The report can be seen through the NAO site here.


Peers challenge restrictions on conditions


Posted on: 19 January 2017 at 10:59:54
From Planning:-
18 January 2017 by Michael Donnelly 
The government is 'keen to engage' on controversial measures in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill to restrict the use of pre-commencement conditions, the peer guiding the bill through the House of Lords has told the legislative chamber.
Speaking yesterday during the bill’s second reading in the House of Lords, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth said that the bill would "build on the improvements we have made since 2010 to build more homes and give greater responsibility to local communities to decide what gets built and where".
However, peers flagged concerns about the bill, including over plans to restrict the use of pre-commencement conditions. Labour peer Lord Kennedy of Southwark said that such conditions "have an important role in securing sustainable development that is careful and considerate of local communities". "What we cannot do is inadvertently encourage inappropriate development by lowering our standards of acceptable development", he said.
In response, Lord Bourne said that the government was "keen to engage on pre-commencement planning conditions" on issues such as environmental protection and heritage protection.
"It will be appropriate to look at them at a later stage but issues about what colour roof tiles should be or what sort of windows should go in are not appropriate as pre-commencement conditions. I am very happy to look at how we should tackle such issues going forward", he said.
Lord Bourne also said that he was "happy to engage" on increasing protections for local pubs threatened with redevelopment.
Elsewhere, Liberal Democrat peer Lord Shipley said that, at a briefing held before the debate, the government had said it is to table amendments to the bill "on the primacy of neighbourhood plans, the right of parish and town councils to be consulted in drawing up local plans, and the housing needs of disabled and older people".
Lord Bourne also revealed that the the government’s intention is to publish its much-anticipated Housing White Paper before the bill reaches its report stage in the Lords.
"As I speak, I think that we are confident of landing that. It will cover issues such as the fees situation, brownfield registers and many others", he said. 
The bill’s report stage will come after it is considered at committee. Lord Bourne said he believed that the bill’s committee stage would start in the week commencing 30 January and there would be two sessions that week and two sessions the week after.


Government proposals for Public Library services


Posted on: 5 December 2016 at 12:34:47
A new report calls on local authorities to make use of the buildings, staff and services, and think innovatively to help increase reading, literacy and digital access in communities.
The report says library buildings should be used to provide access to a range of public services such as employment, health and learning opportunities to make sure libraries have a sustainable future.


New basements need planning permission


Posted on: 5 December 2016 at 11:37:01
The High Court appears to have determined that basements cannot constitute permitted development and must always have permission.  See summary here.

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