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London Forum Updates

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Virtual Local Authority meetings - by R Harwood OBE QC

Posted on: 6 April 2020 at 11:22:45
Some useful details of how laws influence the holding by Councils of virtual meetings have been issued in a note by Richard Harwood OBE QC.  See the information here.
Note also the update below on this subject of 3 April 2020 at 17:03

CLG Committee scrutiny of affordable housing delivery

Posted on: 4 April 2020 at 21:20:29
The Communities and Local Government Select Committee has been re-established as here.
One of its inquiries, commenced last year, is on long-term delivery of social and affordable rented housing.
London Forum will send written comments, which the Committee invites until Monday 4 May 2020. Civic, resident and amenity societies in London should consider contributing views to the Committee also.

Boroughs to hold planning & other meetings 'virtually'

Posted on: 3 April 2020 at 17:03:33
The Government has introduced legislation which will be effective from Saturday 4th April to allow local authorities to hold meetings fully on-line or partially so, with external access.
London Forum and Civic Voice have exchanged emails on this subject, including advice notes by London based legal planning experts. Civic Voice has published a blog today on this subject here.
Further information is in extracts from PlanningResource articles here.
London Forum's members are asked to note the blog content and to discuss with their Council how the process will be applied and what engagement there will be for local people and how that will happen.
Summaries on the way these new methods are being applied in your part of London should be sent to
Societies may notice more use of local authority delegated powers for decisions. Their Council should be asked for notice of such pending decisions so that ward Councillors could be approached to 'call-in' for planning committee consideration any pending delegated decisions that do not seem to be reasonable.

Historic England's Local Authority Strategic Framework

Posted on: 3 April 2020 at 11:32:54
Historic England is consulting on developing a strategic framework to focus the support they give to local authorities in effective decision-making, place-shaping and management of the local historic environment.
They have put several questions, as in section 2 of the document here.

Affordable Housing Commission has published its report

Posted on: 2 April 2020 at 14:33:40
The Commission found that the underlying cause of so many households struggling with disproportionate housing costs is the switch into the private rented sector – which has more than doubled in size in less than twenty years – from both social renting and from home ownership. The scaling back – indeed the halving – of the social housing sector has pushed more people into the private rented sector where there is less security and significantly higher rents.
Their report’s recommendations propose ways of rebalancing the nation’s housing to secure more social rented housing and more affordable home ownership, for those for whom private renting is not the best option.
An Executive summary is here and the full report here.

Estate ballots - are they working? - AJ report

Posted on: 2 April 2020 at 12:48:30
A report on a review of estate regeneration ballots has been published in the Architects Journal.

Government Chief Planner Steve Quartermain's newsletter

Posted on: 2 April 2020 at 11:39:34
Steve Quartermain has stepped down after 11 years in the role.
He has issued his final planning update newsletter 

Using heat from the Underground and cooling it

Posted on: 30 March 2020 at 22:47:54
In the first project of its type, warm air from the Underground is being used to heat homes.
More than 1,000 homes in Islington are now being heated by air from the Northern line via an energy centre located in what is left of the City Road tube station, which closed in 1922. The system can also be reversed to channel cool air into Tube tunnels.
TfL has said that is has identified a further 56 sites where the system could be implemented. 

Government proposals for allowing skywriting

Posted on: 30 March 2020 at 16:04:22
There was a consultation on permitting skywriting and skytyping here.
London Forum has commented on the proposals and the Guardian had an article about it.

Restoring drinking fountains for water bottle re-use

Posted on: 28 March 2020 at 21:10:15
An achievement of an organisation and a Councillor in Chiswick, west London, in restoring an old water fountain near to an Underground station may inspire societies to consider what they can do locally - see here.
The planning for it could be started whilst waiting for Covid-19 to be history!

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