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London Forum Updates

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National Model Design Code


Posted on: 30 January 2021 at 20:10:05
A consultation has been launched by Government with a closing date of 27th March 2021 on a Model Design Code and associated revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
The introduction of design code standards will support the implementation by boroughs of the replacement London Plan and its guidance for the use of such codes by boroughs for suburban densification of small sites by more 'Homes for Londoners' for which London Forum provided a summary.
Civic Societies and community groups are asked to study the Model Design code and proposed NPPF changes and respond to this consultation.


Replacement London Plan implementation


Posted on: 29 January 2021 at 18:45:37
The Secretary of State wrote to the Mayor confirming that he is content for the Mayor’s new London Plan to be formally published, with no further changes.
It should be almost the same as the 'Publication London Plan'. 
The Mayor will now progress to formally publish the plan. This will take a few weeks, in order to allow for statutory notifications to be issued alongside other administrative tasks.
This replacement London Plan and the associated guidance for new homes on small sites and densification of outer London should give boroughs more opportunity to adopt policies and design codes to control development, including the height and location of tall buildings.
The Government started a consultation at the end of January 2021 on a Model Design Code and associated changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). They will support the new London Plan implementation.


Guidance on Good Quality Homes for All Londoners


Posted on: 13 December 2020 at 21:10:13
The Mayor published proposals on this subject to support the suburban densification and small site housing policies in the imminent replacement London Plan and sought responses from communities, boroughs and other stakeholders.
London Forum has summarised for members the content of the draft guidance and it submitted a response by the consultation closing date of 15th January 2021.
The Mayor's guidance on this subject will become a London Plan Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) document when the replacement London Plan is finalised and introduced. The state of all London Plan SPGs is here.
The newer guidance documents listed, particularly the 'Good Quality Homes for All Londoners' one, and new policies in the replacement London Plan require considerable work by boroughs' planning staff to introduce the necessary local policies and guidance. 
The relevant replacement 'Publication' London Plan policies for that have been extracted - see Policies D2 for infrastructure and D3 for DesignPolicy H2 for Small Sites and Policy D9 for Tall Buildings.
Those policies and the guidance above require there to be context and character analyses and design codes for areas and sites in Local Development Plans to control what is allowed to be built and where, including housing types and definition of where tall buildings would be allowed and of what height.
Civic and community groups should be able to work with their local authority to get the required local policies in place. Without them, there is a danger of 'presumption in favour of development' resulting in approval of schemes not intended or required.


New London Plan introduction saga


Posted on: 13 December 2020 at 18:39:14
Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote on 9th December 2020 to housing secretary Robert Jenrick stating that, having not heard from the minister since the Government prevented the publication of the New London Plan in March 2020 and demanded further changes to it, he now intends to publish the plan for adoption. 
The Minister responded the next day to Sadiq Khan with further directions on the earlier changes and two more amendments, one on industrial land and the other for the suitability of new tall buildings for their location.
The Mayor responded by sending to the Minister a 'Publication London Plan' which includes the changes he was directed to make.
If that plan is published in the coming months, revision of borough Local Plans should be initiated promptly, before the outcome of the Planning White Paper is known as that may have a longer implementation period than the Government had proposed.
The New London Plan gives opportunities for boroughs to have in their Local Plan design codes plus area and site specific definitions of requirement in order to control development. They will have new powers also to determine by policy their local housing size mix, to plan a wider range of tenure types and to implement a more progressive policy for affordable housing.
A blog on the delayed introduction of the New London Plan is here.


PDR - town centre uses to housing plus extra infrastructure


Posted on: 6 December 2020 at 14:56:08
The Government announced new permitted development rights to allow buildings included in its newly-created Class E in town centres, such as shops, banks, other financial institutions, lawyers, architects, accountants, financial advisers, creches, day nurseries, day centres, GP surgeries, health centres and indoor sports facilities and gyms, to convert to housing without needing planning permission.
The consultation includes further flexibility for extensions for schools, colleges, universities and hospitals (Class M) to provide extra capacity on existing sites.
London Forum's response can be read here.
There is a briefing on the proposals by Associates at Forsters.
The Planning magazine had a good article by Joey Gardiner covering the potential problems of the Government's proposed planning freedoms.
Extracts from blog 'The most radical planning reform of the year' on the proposals by the lawyer Zack Simons can be read here. He has produced comments on the complexity of the proposals also.
These proposals, as with existing permitted development, take away the ability of Councils and their communities to control what happens and where. It could result in harm to district and town centres and to conservayion areas.


HCLG Committee work including on PWP


Posted on: 30 November 2020 at 15:04:10
London Forum responded as here to the call for evidence by the HCLG Committee on the Planning White Paper 'Planning for the Future'.
Several London Forum members were invited to join HCLG discussion groups on the subject.
Lisa Fairmaner, Head of the London Plan team, and others gave evidence to that committee, as here
The HCLG Committee's web page will be updated with reports on this inquiry and others, with any Government response, under 'Publications'.
The Committee had a reply from the Government to their proposals made after an earlier inquiry on the need to deliver more social housing. You will see the unsatisfactory response to their recommendation 6 and to others.


Report on the new Use Classes


Posted on: 28 November 2020 at 16:49:34
 
A report on a series of practical problems with the new Use Classes regime, raising concerns over its longer-term impact, has been published here.


New database of all planning applications


Posted on: 26 November 2020 at 15:13:51
The GLA has launched a new database that includes data about all development proposals in London - see The Planning London Datahub.


Planning Aid for London re-launched


Posted on: 26 November 2020 at 12:27:28
Planning Aid for London will be issuing quarterly newsletters to those who subscribe on their web site.
They report that "In partnership with the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), PAL has been awarded a grant from Trust for London in June. We have expanded our advice line service, and have started to work with community groups on planning in their local area. Long-term casework support for community groups seeking to influence development and planning in their neighbourhoods will be available again from early next year."


Mayor sets out a social housing programme


Posted on: 24 November 2020 at 21:21:19
The most acute housing need in London is for low-cost homes to rent. The Mayor has secured an agreement with the Government to allow more than half the £4 billion Affordable Homes Programme for 2021-26 to be used to fund social rented homes. See here.
Conditions are described for developers wishing to bid for funds.

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