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MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR IBP – International Building Press FINALIST 2017 (non-weekly)


Issue 105 April–June 2018

Issue 105 April–June 2018

THE DRAFT NEW LONDON PLAN DISSECTED – Peter Eversden page 34; Leader page 5; Kim Vernau page 12; Planning in an Age of Uncertainty page 42; Housing distribution and planning – Paul Cheshire page 54; OPINIONS from Sherin Aminossehe, Kim Vernau, Paul Finch, Jay Das, Martin Tett, Hank Dittmar, Tchaik Chassay, Jesse Honey and Tom Venables, Esha Banwait, Steve Edge THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO DEVELOPMENT IN THE CAPITAL

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page 5 LEADERS Planning and delivery are related but not synonymous; Calling for the ‘Golden Thread’ 9 PICTURE FEATURE The oldest skate spot in the world set for revival


10 OPINIONS Housing | Julia Park 11 Life in the civil service | Sherin Aminossehe 12 The draft London Plan | Kim Vernau 13 The mayor and developers | Paul Finch 14 Green belt | Jay Das 15 Permitted devlopment offices-to-homes | Martin Tett 17 Small builders | Hank Dittmar 18 Architecture | Tchaik Chassay 19 Strategic planning | Jesse Honey and Tom Venables 20 Safer streets | Esha Banwait 21 Renting and community | Steve Edge 22 ANDY ROGERS Saying what you mean is not always the same as meaning what you say 24 BRIEFING Draft revisions to the NPPF – Indigo Planning 28 PLANNING PERFORMANCE Applications made and decided little changed; commercial permissions down nine per cent


32 NEIL PARKYN Transports of delight 27 LETTERS From Grant Lipton, co-founder of Great Marlborough Estates; Peter Eversden MBE, chairman, London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies; Andrew Rogers, chairman Association of Consultant Architects Planning Action Group 34 BRIEFING THE DRAFT NEW LONDON PLAN DISSECTED Peter Eversden 37 CLIPBOARD 41 ¡PILLO! 42 LONDON PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT FORUM Planning in an Age of Uncertainty

A MAGIC ROUNDABOUT FOR OLD STREET Competition entry by Es Devlin – CLIPBOARD page 37

52 REGENERATION Liz Peace: The Old Oak and Park Royal challenge Continues next page >>> Issue 105 April–June 2018





60 A METROTIDAL VISION Mark Willingale 65 GARDEN CITIES Drummond Robson and Gary Young 71 LEGAL Three year housing land supply: Dalee Kaur and Rachel Holt; 73 Agents of change: Amy Truman 75 PLANNING FOR AN AGEING POPULATION Lars Christian 81 BOOKS ‘Urban Waterfront Promenades’ reviewed by Anthony Carlile’ 83 ‘Ornament is Crime’ reviewed by Alfred Munkenbeck; 84 ‘Big Capital. Who is London for?’ reviewed by Darryl Chen

OLD OAK COMMON: Victoria Hills page 42 and Liz Peace page 52

85 PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT REFERENCE GUIDE Contacts in all London boroughs 88 SUBSCRIPTION FORM 89 SIR TERRY FARRELL Making best use of London’s industrial land: Katerina Karaga of Farrells 91 ADVICE – Consultants and services

ISSN 1366-9672 (PRINT) ISSN 2053-4124 (DIGITAL) Issue 105 April–June 2018

Publishing Editors: Brian Waters, Paul Finch and Lee Mallett, Editorial, subscriptions and advertising: Tel: 020 8948 2387/ 07957871477 Email: Contents ©Land Research Unit Ltd or as stated Available only on subscription: £99 pa

A METROTIDAL VISION – Mark Willingale page 60 Provides a licence for five copies by email See subscription form or buy online at Planning in London is published quarterly in association with The London Planning & Development Forum by Land Research Unit Ltd Studio Petersham, Gorshott, 181 Petersham Road TW10 7AW Contributors write in a personal capacity. Their

views are not necessarily those of The London Development & Planning Forum or of their organisations. Correspondence and contributions are invited for consideration. The editors reserve the right to edit material and letters supplied.

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Affiliated members: Planning Aid for London London Metropolitan University

 Made on a Mac The London Planning and Development Forum (LPDF) The LPDF was formed in 1980 following an all-party inquiry into the development control system. It selects topics to debate at its quarterly meetings and these views are reported to constituent bodies. It is a sounding board for the development of planning policy in the capital, used by both the public and private sector. Agendas and minutes are at To attend please advise hon. secretary Drummond Robson: The LPDF is administered by: Honorary Secretary: Drummond Robson MRTPI,


Planning in London

41 Fitzjohn Avenue, Barnet, Herts EN5 2HN Tel: 0208 449 3113 Fax: 0208 440 2015: Chairman: Brian Waters MA DipArch (Cantab) DipTP RIBA MRTPI ACArch P.ACA FRSA Principal: The Boisot Waters Cohen Partnership Honorary Treasurer: Alastair Gaskin Member bodies Association of Consultant Architects Association of London Borough Planning Officers/Planning Officers’ Society London Councils British Property Federation



Planning and delivery are related but not synonymous Plans don’t make things happen: they set the scene for real players to make proposals which can be delivered within the planning context created

Planning in London has been published and edited by Brian Waters, Lee Mallett and Paul Finch since 1992

Two speakers made the same point at the recent Cambridge University Land Society/ National Planning Forum planning conference: planning is not about writing documents, but about delivering necessary change. At first glance, this sounds a reasonable enough proposition. What is the point of planning if nothing subsequently happens? There is a problem, however, in thinking that a plan as such involves delivery. Planners do not actually design things; they do not in general purchase land; they do not procure contracts; they do not oversee construction; nor are they responsible for who occupies the buildings and environments that may be created in the ways they envisaged. This is an observation, not a criticism. Architects and cost consultants are in the same boat: they may work on projects for ages and see them abandoned or replaced. They become involved in delivery as part of an overall team, but their core activities are about analysis and proposal, not actually building stuff. Politicians, of course, like to pretend that the grand plans for which they are responsible are all about delivery. Sometimes they may be, where land is publicly owned and where the politician is able to fund what they want built on it. But in general this is not the case, as the example of the draft London Plan shows. There is no explanation as to who will in reality build all the houses envisaged, merely a belief expressed that the private sector will do everything possible to provide a sufficiency of numbers. As if by magic this will happen, complementing the activities of housing associations, and give us unprecedented numbers of additional units over the next two decades. Nothing about construction capacity or materials supply. Nothing about where and how transformational prefabrication systems will come into being, or be given guaranteed production runs. Nothing about the shortage of skilled labour. Nothing about mortgage finance. (A cynic might describe the London Plan as little more than a wish list, based on the same mistaken belief, held by Mayors Livingstone and Johnson, that taxing housebuilders via Community Infrastructure Levy, Crossrail Levy and 40 per cent-plus ‘affordable’ targets will somehow generate more supply because they are such attractive incentives.) Nothing about a dirigiste public sector-led construction programme, even though Mayor Khan has sites, planning powers, compulsory purchase powers, and a big chunk of taxpayer money to get things moving. So where is the delivery plan? One might ask the same questions of the proposed amendments to the pretty robust National Planning Policy Framework. By definition this is a strategic document: that is to say it deals with what and why, not how and when. This is quite proper and understandable, but some are describing the ‘new improved’ version as a magic wand which will make things happen. Plans don’t make things happen: they set the scene for real players to make proposals which can be delivered within the planning context created, whether positive or negative. Good plans enable, bad plans merely create >>> hurdles to necessary construction. Exhortation is not the same thing as starts on site. ■

Issue 105 April–June 2018



Calling for the ‘Golden Thread’



Our planning system has to become robust in seeing that what is built is what was permitted. This means bringing Building Regulations approvals closer to planning approvals and retaining the original designers

Acknowledgement: Richard Harrison, Immediate Past Presisdent of the Association of Consultant Architects/AJ


Planning in London

The Grenfell Tower fire has demonstrated that the current procurement system for consultants and contractors does not generate best safety, value or quality because of a universal focus on capital cost. The construction industry is now in agreement that this focus is flawed and must be fundamentally changed. A number of issues have been raised by the Hackitt Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety. One broad area of change we can expect is in clarifying roles and responsibilities for ensuring that buildings are safe. As Judith Hackitt says in her interim report: “There needs to be a golden thread for all complex and high-risk building projects so that the original design intent is preserved and recorded, and…any changes go through a formal review process involving people who are competent and who understand the key features of the design." What is also now being questioned is the relevant skill and competence of those who carry out the procurement. They need to consider whether the project contracts encourage the ‘Golden Thread’ – are the chosen forms of contract appropriate for the nature of the project: are they adversarial or collaborative, do they encourage social value as well as economy and innovation? In future, it would seem the procurement process must integrate the security of this thread from design commencement to construction completion and thereafter in occupation. So what else should a robust and effective procurement process achieve? To begin with, the process needs to ensure the required performance. This puts performance specification in doubt when used as a means of saving on consultants’ fees because it often results in specialist contractors’ design development not being adequately and independently checked for compliance. It’s likely there will be a drive to raise levels of competence for design development and to enforce this through both planning and building regulation. It may become a requirement for Building Regulations approval to be achieved before commencing site work on each element (despite the current move against precommencement planning conditions). This will need to be set out at the project procurement stage along with adherence to approved designs and discouragement of change during construction. Procurers will need to ensure that design changes are referred back to the original design team for acceptability of every proposed change. Under this improved form of procurement, handover should only occur when all ‘life safety’ systems are complete and to ensure this, procurement will need to more clearly define ‘completion’ and appoint an individual or organisation with professional independence from the contractor to certify completion. This is the key to achieving the ‘Golden Thread’. On traditional contracts it is the role of the architect. One consequence of the Grenfell disaster, the end of PFI and the collapse of Carillion should be to re-establish this role for all contracts however large. To fix the failures of lowest-cost methods of procurement, the industry will have to mandate adequate quality control by all parties as part of the procurement process. This will have to be built in from the outset. ■


The oldest skate spot in the world set for revival

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has awarded Long Live Southbank and Southbank Centre a community growth and development grant of £700k to develop the Queen Elizabeth Hall Undercroft as an extended skate space and inclusive new children and young people’s creative education centre. The Undercroft, on London’s South Bank, will receive this grant as part of the Mayor of London’s £70 million Good Growth Fund, which drives investments in community growth and develop-

ment across the capital. The Mayoral announcement sees £24 million allocated to 27 projects across the capital, from over 200 submitted funding bids. The upcoming reconfiguration of the existing Undercroft sees an extension of this internationally renowned skate space, including improvements to lighting and a restoration of original 1960s banks and concrete paving. The creation of a new educational centre will sit alongside this, enabling children and young people to engage in wide-rang-

ing learning and creative activities curated by Southbank Centre. The collaborative development will benefit local residents and wider communities including visitors to London and the capital’s cultural landscape as a whole. This funding grant builds on the joint crowdfunding campaign for this space, launched by Long Live Southbank and Southbank Centre in June last year, which has seen support from the international skateboarding community, general public, businesses and philanthropists. >>>

Issue 105 April–June 2018



Issue 103 October-December 2017


Issue 105 April–June 2018



Where's the ambition? Julia Park thinks an ambitious government could do so much more looking at the draft NPPF and Oliver Letwin’s initial report on housebuilding A senior civil servant once told me that the hallmark of a good policy is that everyone is equally aggrieved by it. This sums up the low expectations of our politicians and, eventually, ourselves. Much of what we hear is either managing expectation or damage limitation. The view is that as long as no one reacts really badly, it’s going well. On that basis, the new draft NPPF is a success. Developers don’t like the prospect of making viability appraisals public or the suggestion that they are landbanking. Councils resent the fact that they are held responsible for housing delivery, but their own efforts to build are thwarted. Housing associations are content not to be criticised. And architects are resigned to the fact that they won’t get a look in. Sure enough, the draft NPPF doesn’t mention architects or designers at all. It does talk about architecture and design but fails to make the link with design professionals. Other words that aren’t used include urban design, homelessness and social housing. Perhaps Grenfell hasn’t made much difference after all. There are, as various commentators have said, some welcome changes. Viability appraisals will no longer be required where applications conform to local planning policy, and starter homes have been watered down to 10 per cent of major developments. Paragraph 129 suggests that, ‘Permission should be refused for development of poor design that fails to take the opportunities available for improving the character and quality of an area and the way it functions, taking into account any local design standards in plans or supplementary planning documents’. The quid pro quo that, ‘..where the design of a development accords with clear expectations in local policies, design should not be used by the decision-maker as a valid reason to object to development’, puts the onus on planners to pin down what good design looks like. Support for design review is lukewarm. ‘Local planning authorities should ensure that they have appropriate tools and processes for assessing and improving the design of development… In assessing applications, local planning authorities should have regard to the outcome from these processes, including any recommendations made by design review panels’. Hardly a ringing endorsement for what is often the only input from a qualified design professional that many schemes receive. Accepting that they are very different documents, it’s difficult not to make comparisons with the new


Planning in London

draft London Plan. The latter is bursting with ambition and a conviction that quality counts. Buildings are expected to be designed by professionals and post-planning retention of the architect is actively encouraged. Commitments to provide more social housing and social infrastructure, to promote inclusivity, improve air quality, reduce car usage, eradicate homelessness and achieve zero carbon are evident throughout. The downside is that, at 526 pages, the draft plan is almost eight times longer than the NPPF. The NPPF is weak in comparison. The only mention of parking – the scourge of suburban streets – is to prohibit local authorities from setting maximum parking standards. You come away with the impression that lots more Poundburys (squashed up a bit to increase density), a few mansion blocks, plenty of permitted development and some upward extensions will do fine: just get on with it. While a standardised approach to assessing housing need has always seemed sensible, I’m still baffled by the idea that, in areas of poor affordability, local authorities are required to build more housing than they actually need. Presumably, the thinking is that over-supply will bring down prices. True in theory, perhaps, but as these are generally the areas that are already struggling to meet demand, it’s hard to see how forcing them to build even more than they need is helpful. Identifying ‘deliverable’ land for development and identifying housing need are two completely separate exercises and the results are very unlikely to align neatly in any given area. The glossary explains that, ‘to be considered deliverable, sites for housing should be available now, offer a suitable location for development now, and be achievable with a realistic prospect that housing will be delivered on the site within five years’. It’s difficult to believe that any land meeting these criteria would be languishing unnoticed or unused. The government is leaving itself scope to react to Oliver Letwin’s Review of Build Out. His approach and his preliminary thoughts, set out in a letter to Hammond and Javid, are forthright. He feels that limited availability of skilled labour, building materials and capital, constrained logistics on site, delays caused by utility companies and difficulties of land remediation and provision of local transport infrastructure are all capable of causing delay at ‘stage 2’ (the build-out phase that starts with an implementable planning permission) and these will be

Julia Park is head of housing research at architects Levitt Bernstein

investigated further. But Letwin has already concluded that they are not the primary determinants of build rates. Instead, he blames the absorption rate, ‘..the rate at which newly constructed homes can be sold into (or are believed by the house-builder to be able to be sold successfully into) the local market without materially disturbing the market price’. He notes that the sale price of new homes is largely dictated by the price of comparable second-hand homes (a fact that would be unthinkable for every other industry you can imagine) and contests that the supply of affordable housing is constrained by the rate at which cross-subsidy becomes available from the open market housing. This bit puzzles me. Surely it’s in everyone’s interest for housing associations to take their share and pay their way as soon as possible? Perhaps there is a perception that having the affordable housing occupied early puts off buyers? So much of the problem comes back to the way in which land is traded. It would help if planning authorities produced a detailed brief for all major sites as soon as they became available so developers knew exactly what would be acceptable and could gain planning permission quickly and easily. Even better if local authorities who assemble land gained planning approval before selling it on. Better still, to develop it themselves. An ambitious government could do so much more. I keep wondering why Homes England couldn’t be funded to set up regional factories capable of producing thousands of architect-designed, tenure-neutral, modular homes with options to customise, use local labour to prepare the sites and construct the necessary infrastructure and transfer them to local authorities and housing associations to rent and sell. Then I remember that not only do we not have any big thinkers, we have a secretary of state who has just returned £817m (earmarked for housing) to the Treasury because it wasn’t needed. ■ First published in BDonline, with kind consent


Shape the way the country is run Sherin Aminossehe, new Head of Offices for Lendlease and recently chief executive officer at the Government Property Unit, Cabinet Office, gives us the private sector hitchhikers’ guide to the civil service It’s been nearly seven years since I had to swim through a flood in Jeddah. What is the relevance of that flood? It is what made me question where I was working, and set me on the path that took me to the civil service. Just over six years later, I have ventured to pastures new in the private sector. Reflecting on leaving and my time in the Cabinet Office, I remembered that I am frequently asked what I would tell private sector entrants into the public sector – who ask as if it were an exotic foreign country. So here for the first time (with apologies to Douglas Adams), is the private sector hitchhikers guide to the civil service, in nice, friendly letters: 1) It’s not that complicated (honest!)… you haven’t just landed on an alien planet. People are people and deserve the same respect that you gave your co-workers in your last place. Everyone just wants to deliver a good job. 2) …but realise that you’re not in Kansas anymore and that it’s not exactly the same. There is no real profit motive here, it is genuinely about the greater good of the country (what better motive than that?).Collaboration is the key word in Whitehall and persuading departments that your wonderful idea is really beneficial for their businesses too is how to get things done. 3) Then there are ministers… we hear about them in the press, we see them promoted, demoted, elected and also lose seats. They are not some special breed (see point 1) but coming from a service industry and dealing with clients helps – espe-

cially clients who call you at the weekend and suggest that you might want to radically change the project you have spent months refining. Speaking truth to power really does work though. 4) …and acronyms… I once went from a CEX meetings to MfGRE to MCO then saw the NAO and the GIAA to talk about NPM becoming the GPA and discussing its relationship with DDCMS, DCLG, DWP, BEIS, CO, DEFRA and…I rest my case. If you’re confused just ask someone to translate. People think civil servants use language to confound. No, it has become second nature and as easily as a bilingual speaker I slip between English and my mother tongue, you too will be able to go between English and Acronym Mandarin (AM) in about 6 months. 5) …and bureaucracy… Yes things can move slowly, but there are legitimate shortcuts once you understand the system. Do always question if there is another way to get things done as there usually is. Remember that government is held to a different standard, and that rules are there for a reason and I have yet to come across a private sector firm who allows their employees to randomly spend whatever they want from their company coffers. 6) ...and numbers… lots of big ones in fact. I was proud to lead a unit that had oversight of £352bn of assets, identified a disposal pipeline worth £5bn to deliver housing, delivered £3.6bn in capital receipts, over a £1bn in cost savings and also worked with over 250 councils to generate 44,000 jobs, releasing land for 25,000 homes, raising £615 million in capital receipts from sales, and cutting running costs by £158 million. 7) Finally: diversity matters this isn’t about lip service or recreating the same team you had previously or, even worse, recruiting identikit people. The civil service truly embraces difference and the talent and innovation it brings, good people are not just mini versions of you. So you have got to the end of the list and you’re still not put off. Congratulations, you’re about to enter into a great workplace, where you will literally be able shape the way the country is run. I can guarantee that there is no other place like it. Someday I may be back and until then, goodbye and thanks for all the fish. ■

Sherin Aminossehe was at the helm of the UK’s largest land and property estate. She held the dual role of chief executive officer at the Government Property Unit, Cabinet Office and Head of Property Profession for the Civil Service. As part of her work for the largest owner of real estate in the UK, Sherin was charged with leading, devising and executing the property strategy for the sitting government, which included working with government departments to look at how they could use their portfolios effectively to create efficiencies and growth. Through the creation of the One Public Estate programme, Aminossehe has also been a strong part of the Government’s social change agenda with a particular focus on creating more homes and jobs. She was previously a vice president at architectural firm HOK, leading large masterplanning, rationalisation and regeneration projects across the world. She is currently Head of Offices for Lendlease, where she is in charge of shaping some of the company’s largest regeneration projects, including the £2.4bn International Quarter London in Stratford.

Issue 105 April–June 2018



Draft London Plan – the challenges of planning and design quality The new London Plan is arguably the most far reaching and visionary document to have been drafted for the city for some time says Kim Vernau The Mayor’s new London Plan addresses major challenges affecting the provision of housing and sustainable transport networks for the city, setting out the key policies to guide London’s spatial development for the next 20 to 25 years, including a framework for local plans across London. Consultations on the draft closed last month. The scope and level of support for affordable housing outlined in the plan importantly acknowledges that this is a key deliverable for meeting London’s urgent housing need. Modern Methods of Construction are also recognised within the plan. Embracing the role of techniques such as offsite construction has a vital role to play in supplying quality homes Londoners want to live in, while also addressing problems arising from shortages of skilled labour in the construction workforce. The strategic objective of the new plan is to shape how London will evolve and develop as a growing city, delivering increased housing numbers while maintaining a high quality of design. However, one of the key challenges that still needs to be addressed is the ongoing crisis in quality of design in design and build procurement, resulting in problems in the life-cycle of buildings. Issues concerning design quality stem from design information not being completed at the tender stage, or significant variations being required after the appointment of the contractor, resulting in significant costs to the end-client. As a result of this separation of design and construction, the contract can be seen as adversarial. Robust expert monitoring during the course of the build is therefore a critical requirement in order to prevent subsequent construction defects. The proposed implementation of area-wide design codes in the Government white paper – Fixing our Broken Housing Market – will be key to ensuring that a high quality of design can be achieved going forward. Those areas where developed and adopted design codes are already in operation are among the most successful at build-

12 Planning in London

ing new homes, enabling architects, planners and other experts to draw up proposals which reflect and deliver on local priorities. The plan also sets out a vision for a more socially integrated city, focusing on health, jobs for existing communities, excellent data communications and sustainable mixed use developments. Future developments in London should be economically sustainable, with the new plan supporting a commitment to build 50% of new homes that are affordable, and contributing to a zero carbon rating by 2050. Feedback on the consultation so far has highlighted that not all outer London boroughs share the same objectives as those set out in the plan, with criticism that there needs to be a greater recognition of the differences between the development needs of inner and outer London. Increases in housing targets and a prescriptive approach to planning have already given rise to objections.



Kim Vernau is CEO of BLP Insurance

In those areas where the outer suburbs have a conglomeration of towns and villages the intensification of the suburban pattern of development, as envisaged by the plan, could bring damaging and irreversible change to the character of those towns and villages. Furthermore, London is often the shopping destination of choice for residents in outer London, and public transport connections and car parking standards need to be addressed, not ignored. There is also no clear detail outlined in the plan for the protection of conservation areas, local heritage designation or the settings of listed buildings. The catch-all GLA Design Guide fails to provide the subtlety necessary to preserve the character of towns and villages that comprise outer London. To expect each Borough to write individual design codes for all these areas would be unrealistic. These issues need to be clearly stated and considered in respect of new developments. At the heart of the overall success of the plan is the requirement for the provision of quality new build homes on both infill and smaller sites, where the necessary transport infrastructure is already in place. Unlocking the role of small and medium sized builders and developers will also be critical to delivering new homes in London. The new London Plan is arguably the most far reaching and visionary document to have been drafted for the city for some time. However, there are still a number of key challenges to be overcome, and its future progress merits widespread attention from the planning, construction and real estate sectors. ■


Believe it or not, Mayor Khan loves the world of property The mayor is certainly not anti-property. For anyone who lived through the decades where the phrase ‘office development’ was a red rag to a Labour bull, the transformation in attitude is truly remarkable The last London Labour mayor, Ken Livingstone, had an ambivalent attitude to commercial property. On the face of it he was a supporter of key projects, such as the Shard. But did he ever really like developers? On the evidence of his behaviour at a well lubricated dinner at Mipim a few years ago, not at all. In his cups he turned on his hosts and told them he would issue so many planning permissions that they would all go bust. Though it was true that he supported plenty of projects, the fact was that Ken only ever had negative planning powers, ie he could call schemes in and threaten or indeed issue planning refusals, but he had no power to grant permissions over the heads of local planning authorities. Everything changes, and these days the London mayor has both positive and negative planning powers, and moreover can exercise compulsory purchase orders as he sees fit. Given that the mayor also has political control over land owned both by his legacy corporations and the activities of the London element of the Homes & Communities Agency, it might make you wonder why there isn’t more about housing delivery in the recently published London Plan. On what basis, especially given the track record of the previous two mayors, can one imagine that the private sector will ever deliver sufficient housing to meet past, present and future demand? The clue may lie in the Greater London Authority legislation requiring the major to have, or produce, a ‘spatial development strategy’. That is not quite the same thing as a housing delivery strategy. As it hap-

pens, the new draft London Plan is a sound document, excellent on design and transport, and longterm in its general outlook (it is supposed to last until 2041). It makes all the right noises about housing, sets out appropriate targets and envisages review of the plan in 2029, which is probably just as well. Does anyone think that the targets will be met in the anything like the near future? Unfortunately, the lust for the magic 50 per cent affordable element in private sector developments, and even some public/private joint ventures, is having a malign effect on many schemes across London which are being delayed, put on hold or even dropped because the sums simply do not add up. As the old question has it: ‘Would you rather have 20 per cent of something, or 100 per cent of nothing?’ There is a conspiracy of silence pervading this subject, because no-one wants to make political enemies by shouting about the waste of time and money, and the slow-down in actual delivery, of much-needed new units. Yet the mayor is certainly not anti-property. For anyone who lived through the decades where the phrase ‘office development’ was a red rag to a Labour bull, the transformation in attitude as demonstrated in the new London Plan is truly remarkable. The mayor loves offices. He wants them in the opportunity areas. Wants them in town centres. He wants them in the ‘central activities zone’. He wants them in what previously might have been thought of residential and retail-led character areas like Covent Garden ad Soho. Good lobbying from somebody . . .

Paul Finch OBE is director of the World Festival of Architecture and joint publishing editor of Planning in London

Of course like many planning documents, there is an undertone that somehow this critical employment property type is in some sense the product of the planning system and needs protection from malign influences – ironically, in this case, people who want to convert redundant offices to apartments. You might have thought this would be a matter for celebration, given the housing shortage, but not a bit of it. Thoughtful planners, of whom there are plenty, quietly acknowledge that as long as we have a massive imbalance of offices and housing, there will be market forces trying to restore the balance. If you think as-of-right conversions are a bad idea, the answer is to build more housing – ie do some positive planning and delivery, rather than trying to stifle conversions through negative development control. A good question which the mayor might take advice on is why, given that office developers operate in the same planning, building regulation and financial regime as housebuilders, do we have a shortage of housing but no shortage of offices? It is, first, because the office market operates without many of the financial penalties imposed on housebuilders particularly in relation to ‘affordable’ provision; and second because office developers are not expected to run out a social programme in the same way as home-builders. By the way, when was the last time an office building went up in flames like the Grenfell Tower? ■


First published in Proiperty Week, with kind consent

Issue 105 April–June 2018



Is London's green belt under threat? The difficulty of finding suitable sites for development drives a process of planning by appeal says Jay Das

Jay Das is a partner with Wedlake Bell solicitors

Many people in the villages of Oxfordshire will question the value of statements which maintain that our green belt is sacrosanct. Significant housing is proposed in green and leafy suburbs of the country much to the disdain of locals and particularly so in what is being referred to as the "brain-belt" between Oxford and Cambridge via Milton Keynes. There may be good reason for this with two premier universities located at each end, but the economic rationale which justifies the need for new housing rarely sits well with existing residents. It has however been universally accepted that England suffers from a housing crisis and the government has accepted that the acute shortage of housing means that some 300,000 new homes are required to be built every year to provide homes which are "affordable" to the general public. Those who are responsible for delivering these units in the industry estimate that some 45 per cent of this housing need is in London and the South East. Local planning authorities are required to assess the need for housing in their area based upon future predictions of population growth. Local authorities are then required to identify where and when those new homes will be delivered. This means they have to identify sites within their local areas where these new homes can be built. In many local authority areas if the numbers of homes which are needed in their area are to be delivered, sites outside existing settlement policy boundaries and in the green belt


Planning in London

have to be identified on a planned basis. Failure to do so means the local authority cannot meet its housing requirements and would not have sound local plans to protect them against unplanned development in the countryside/green belt. Many Councils find they do not deliver the numbers of housing needed and therefore have come under increasing pressure at appeal where planning permission is granted in the green belt on land not allocated in their local plans. When one is considering London many areas will already have been developed and unless there are identified opportunities to redevelop existing developed areas, new sites have to be found. In the event there is insufficient land within the existing town boundaries which can be identified the local authority still has to explain where and how the demand for new housing will be met. The Mayor's London Plan accepts that some 22 per cent of land in London is in the green belt. However at the same time protection of the green belt continues in policy statements in London. The initial purpose of the green belt was to prevent towns and cities merging and in the case of London, the towns and cities outside of London merging with London and as such some academics challenge the validity and relevance of protecting the green belt in London. The prospect of being able to provide sufficient numbers of housing in the areas of need (some 135,000 new homes annually throughout London

and the South East) on existing or previously developed land has been questioned. In recent months the London Mayor has published his London Plan and the government has published its proposed revision to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The historic approach to protecting the green belt has been largely confirmed by both policy documents. Some of the detailed changes in the policy documents may provide avenues for those looking for opportunities to develop in the green belt or Metropolitan Open Land in London (which has a similar protection status in planning policy terms), however, in large part the sanctity of the green belt is being maintained. The general rule is that development on the green belt is not permitted unless very special circumstances exist to justify such exception. There is the possibility now that in the event that the development plan is out of date and the planning authority has not delivered sufficient numbers of housing that exceptions can be made on previously developed land on the green belt if either affordable housing or Starter Homes are provided and there is no substantial harm to the openness of the green belt. In addition local planning authorities will be required to identify and set out ways in which the impact of removing land from the green belt can be offset through compensatory improvements to the environmental quality and accessibility of the green belt. My experience of the planning process suggests that by and large the majority of developers and local authorities would prefer to promote housing on allocated sites as the cost and delay of fighting appeals to secure homes on the green belt are prohibitive and the outcome uncertain, however the difficulty of finding suitable sites for development drive this process of planning by appeal which leaves all parties involved at loggerheads. ■


The impact of pd officeto-residential conversions Permitted development rules which allow office to residential conversions to bypass the planning process are having a detrimental impact on communities says Martin Tett The case has been well and truly made that we desperately need to build new homes and tackle the country’s housing crisis. It is one of the most pressing issues facing the country, and the Prime Minister has recognised this by making it a centrepiece of government policy. One way of creating new housing is through the conversion of offices into residential units. This can be entirely the right thing in some instances, when communities are able to weigh up the various considerations to take on board. But the permitted development rules which allow these conversions to bypass the planning process is having a detrimental impact on communities, by creating substandard housing, with no requirement for any of it to be affordable or to consider local infrastructure such as roads, schools and health services. Under permitted development developers are not committed to Section 106 agreements whereby they have to make contributions to essential local infrastructure. Not only is this a problem for communities, but it gives developers an incentive to prioritise office to residential conversions over developments that need to go through the planning system. Not having to go through the planning process is denying local residents the chance to have their say and voice any concerns, and stopping councils from checking whether or not a development meets certain housing standards, or whether a proportion is affordable. In some parts of the country, in particular London, we are seeing new homes appear which in many cases would not have been given planning permission. Take Croydon for example, which has seen the highest number of office to residential conversions under permitted development in London. According to Inside Housing, one conversion contains a flat measuring 14.9 square metres – less than half the London Plan’s advised 37 square metres. Another five are less than 20 square metres in size, while 80 per cent of Croydon’s conversions also include no outdoor space. We are concerned that this could be the tip of the iceberg. The LGA recently carried out its own analysis to

look at the prevalence of office to residential conversions carried out under permitted development. We found that this accounted for nearly one in 10 of all new homes in England over the last two years. Since 2015, a total of 30,575 housing units have been converted from offices to flats without having to go through the planning system. This has led to the potential loss of 7,644 desperately-needed affordable homes. Nationally, office to residential conversions under permitted development amounts to approximately 8 per cent of new homes. But in some parts of the country, it is around two thirds, with for example 61 per cent in Sutton during 2016/17. In Hounslow and Harlow the number was more than half. For the LGA and councils, we are

We are calling on the Government to scrap permitted development now clear as to what we would like the Government to do: abolish the permitted development rules around office to residential conversions and hand back control to councils and the local communities they represent. This is also not just a housing issue. Losing office space is bad for business. It can risk hampering local plans to grow economies and attract new businesses and jobs to high streets and town centres. A local area aspiring to regenerate itself is also not going to be an attractive proposition for new businesses if it is blighted by poor quality housing. In London, the problem is especially acute. Figures compiled by London Councils showed that between May 2013 and April 2015, 834,000 square metres of office floor space was swallowed up by permitted development conversions. At least 55,000 square metres have been lost through just 12 schemes alone. Eleven London boroughs also reported at least 10 separate fully occupied office spaces being converted. The numbers are quite stag-

Cllr Martin Tett Is leader of Buckinghamshire County Council

gering and show that office to residential conversions under permitted development are spiralling out of control. There are steps councils can take to address this. They can serve Article 4 directions to revoke permitted development. But this requires the approval of the Secretary of State, and can be a cumbersome, lengthy and uncertain process. Permitted development is preventing local communities from shaping the area they live in. This is why it is vital that all new developments should go through the local planning system. By allowing permitted development, the Government wanted to make it easier to create new homes. Our view is clear – planning is not a barrier to housebuilding, with councils approving nine in ten planning applications. Councils, which are answerable to their residents, have to have an oversight of local developments to ensure they are good quality and help to build prosperous places. Councils will do everything they can to help get the country building the homes it so badly needs. But this must not be at any cost. Homes need to be decent and fit for purpose, affordable, and with the right infrastructure in place. Unfortunately under the current rules, this is something many local areas are not seeing, which is why we are calling on the Government to scrap permitted development now. ■

Martin has been Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council since May 2011, having joined the Council in 2005. His responsibilities include overall policy direction and strategy, financial strategy, communications, external relations with Government and representative bodies. He leads on the county stance on HS2 and economic development. Prior to becoming Leader he was Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment.

Issue 105 April–June 2018



Help Shape the Future of London ! !

If you want to help promote the debate on the capital’s future, join the London Society. As a member you get priority booking and discounted rates for our walks, talks, debates and lectures. You will see inside important buildings (some not generally open to the public) on our tours. There will be opportunities to attend social events held in some of London’s most interesting locations. And if you join now we'll send you a FREE copy of the London Society Journal (worth £7.50) and you can get a free ticket to hear Sir Terry Farrell give this year's Banister Fletcher lecture in November. To join – and get your free Journal – visit


Can London meet its housing target by building small? The mayor needs to do more to support community builders says Hank Dittmar One of the singular aspects of the post-recession housing crisis in Britain has been the absolute dominance of the large PLC housebuilders, and the resistance of their business model to government efforts to increase supply. Even government has begun to admit that increasing diversity of suppliers is necessary. Councils are beginning to get back into the provision of housing and there are signs that the build-to-rent sector is finally becoming a real thing. Much less attention has been paid until lately to the collapse of small builders after the recession, with the number of small firms declining by more than 80 per cent over the past 25 years, with one-third failing between 2007 and 2009, according to the Home Builders Federation. The Institute for Public Policy Research found that this industry collapse was due to a “toxic triangle” of factors: ability to access land, denial of credit and finance, and the complexity of the planning process imposing excessive costs on smaller firms. Local plans can tend to overlook small sites as it seems to be easier to convince an inspector that a plan is deliverable if one can show a larger urban extension site on the edge of town with one willing landowner. The slant in planning has been increasingly towards urban extensions to small cities and market towns and “opportunity sites” in London, where large numbers of houses can be built with one or a few volume builders. Analysts are now focusing on the potential for smaller projects to contribute to housing numbers, while reinforcing the viability of neighbourhoods. Former Conservative planning minister Nick Boles has called for policies to encourage small builders, community builders and self-builders, as has progressive think tank IPPR. The Supurbia project in London, sponsored by HTA and its chairman, RIBA president Ben Derbyshire, has looked at invisible suburban intensification through permitting homeowners to add accessory units. The draft London Plan, which is out for comment until March 2, makes a significant commitment to small sites, projecting that 38 per cent of

the 65,000 homes to be built in the plan period will be on sites of 25 homes or less. The bulk of these – more than two-thirds – are expected to be in London’s suburbs. In order to meet this very ambitious target, the draft plan proposes that boroughs should identify and allocate sites, develop area-wide design codes for small projects, provide permission in principle or adopt local development orders for specific sites, and adopt a presumption in favour of infill development and intensification near public transport or in high PTAL zones. The plan sets out small site targets for each borough. These changes in planning policy would, if adopted by boroughs, begin to address the fact that it is often as complex, expensive and time consuming to get planning permission for a dozen houses as it is for a few hundred. This is an unfair burden for small and first-time builders. To support the effort, the mayor has launched a small site register, which will make small, publicly owned sites available to small developers and self-builders. The pilot website currently only lists 10 properties, of which three are directly on the North Circular, but it is expected that more sites will be added. It remains to be seen if the boroughs contribute in the manner envisaged by the London Plan. The 38 per cent target is a huge challenge, and I doubt it can be achieved without going beyond the policies already proposed. What’s needed is a concerted effort to stimulate an SME and selfbuilding sector in the country. This will require programmes to recruit, train and provide accessible credit to small and first-time builders, whether they are white van traders looking to become

We publish this article in tribute to important urbanist Hank Dittmar who died at 62 last week

Hank Dittmar was the longest serving Chief Executive for the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community

developers, homeowners or architects and planners who want to make a difference. Some friends of mine in the States formed the Incremental Development Alliance (IDA) to address just this gap. A part of a loose movement for Lean Urbanism, seeking to make small possible again, the non-profit IDA aims to cultivate 1,000 small developers with cities that support them. The group does one-day incremental development workshops to introduce the basics about development, as well as more intensive “boot camps” which allow prospective developers to present their projects to seasoned developers. Architect and developer Roger Zogolovitch, whose eight-unit Weston Street project with AHMM has just launched, has argued that we should all be developers, in a 2015 monograph. He proposes what he calls the “oil can” approach, rather than another reinvention of the planning system. Three such tools can be taught to neophyte builders and local authorities: appropriate thresholds which recognise the lower potential harm from small projects; work-arounds and patches which meet requirements in a less burdensome way; and hacks, the tactics experienced developers and planning consultants know about, but start-ups don’t. Along with the positive changes in the draft London Plan, the mayor should promote an effort to recruit, train and provide technical support to small builders and self-builders, as a way to level the playing field. As the potential for small development grows, architects and town planners should become developers themselves. ■ >>> First published in BDonline, with kind consent

Issue 105 April–June 2018



Architecture should be celebrated New buildings should be launched with ceremony just like ships says Tchaik Chassay When new buildings appear from behind hoardings, different emotions can arise; delight, horror, depression. The memory of what was there before is often quickly deleted. The place has a new shape, the space around it, altered for ever. A very significant event has taken place and while people may feel many things, too often nobody is talking about it! Are we so concerned about Brexit, Russian assassinations or how to manage till the end of the week not to notice changes in our midst? Only a very few buildings are launched. Ships are launched – a big fanfare, champagne popped, speeches, dignitaries, celebrities, the construction team, all there to celebrate a momentous event. Why not for buildings too? The completion of a building is the culmination of a process lasting years, similar to film making in terms of time and budget. Yet a new movie is promoted and premiered and reviewed, discussed an given ratings. This only happens to a handful of buildings, usually public

ones. When a movie is finished there is always a screening for all the people involved in the making. Their names are on the credits. What of all the people involved in making a building? No credits, no moment of fulfilment. Perhaps most importantly, no pause for reflection before the next project is embarked upon. True, many awards are given for good buildings of all types. But this rewards only a tiny proportion of the buildings that arrive on our streets. An even smaller number get the carbuncle award. I propose that every new building should require a completion certificate presented at a completion ceremony. This event should be attended by The local Mayor, the councillors from the planning committee, planning officers, design team, the press and even celebrities (the only way to get public attention these days). All involved will then look at the results of their

Tchaik Chassay’s Wembley building as permitted ABOVE LEFT but as built RIGHT His Blackbird Hill, Neasden building as permitted BELOW LEFT but as built RIGHT


Planning in London

Tchaik Chassay runs Chassay Studio architects

endeavours. The building should be appraised, whether positively or negatively, so that the new shape in our community is processed, and lessons taken on board. Much happens in the lengthy process between inception and completion of a project. Good and bad things. Planning is the critical point where the public intervenes. Councillors that recommend planning permissions should see the outcome of their decisions; it is nearly always different from what they saw in the committee room. Focusing on the end product and reviewing its strengths and weaknesses will better inform the decisions made. It would also help the public to take more interest in their changing surrounds. Architecture matters. Designs will be improved if we can make the process better. We debated at the ACA (Association of Consultant Architects) how to maintain design quality through the planning process and I showed examples where finished buildings showed little resemblance to the design that received planning permission. Having given up their time those councillors on the planning committee were deceived, conned even. Have they ever looked? Do they know that they approved a blue/grey brick and got a liverish red instead? Focusing on the completed work will help better decisions to be made, and then stood by. Taking a moment out of our busy lives to celebrate, appraise and enjoy a building on its completion is a chance to bring together all involved in its making, including the stakeholders, the public and its potential users. It is an opportunity to create more pride in the process and more investment in the outcome, as well as connecting the community with a new part of its landscape. Let architecture make a splash not a ripple. ■


Why the Oxford-Cambridge Arc matters for London’s city region Jesse Honey and Tom Venables call for more strategic planning The future success of London and its city region is challenged by an increasingly acute vacuum in strategic planning. The latest Draft London Plan is very detailed, but shows limited evidence of thinking beyond the GLA boundaries, despite recent census data demonstrating that London’s commuting relationship with its hinterland is as strong as ever - over a million people cross it every day in both directions. Four years ago AECOM produced its London Manifesto 2065 which showed that local plans across the South East are collectively a million homes short of target based on housing demand, this makes the draft London Plan’s lack of regard for the area outside its boundaries even more troubling. If, as we are told, there are to be no significant changes to national Green Belt policy, then there is one part of the South East in particular that could help to meet the demand displaced from London, as well as offering a strong case for growth in its own right: the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge Corridor, located beyond the Green Belt. The potential of the Corridor has been recognised in recent months by a number of players, including the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), which considers that it could become ‘the UK’s Silicon Valley’- a world-class centre for sci-

ence, technology and innovation. The case for such a vision has only strengthened if we are to compete globally post-Brexit. It was for this reason that the National Planning Forum, hosted by AECOM in London this February, took the strategic planning of this Corridor as its theme. AECOM’s recent study for the NIC highlighted that alongside new rail, roads and jobs, more than one million new homes would be needed across the Corridor by 2050. This is almost three times faster than current development rates. Analysis of case studies from the English planning system and across the world suggested that this speed of development can only be achieved through the provision of large-scale new settlements, with a landowning, locally-led development corporation responsible for each. To deliver this joined up thinking – and strategic planning – will be vital. Our conclusions were subsequently endorsed both by both the Chancellor in the 2017 Budget and Communities Minister Sajid Javid. The most appropriate delivery model seems to be a publicprivate partnership, rather than the publicly-funded post-war new town approach. The key attraction of the development corporation model is the speed and quality of delivery it offers, as witnessed in places like Milton Keynes and Almere in the Netherlands. However, the Corridor can only realise its full potential through strategic and (sub)-regional planning coming back onto the agenda. Encouragingly, this is already happening, and not just through combined authorities. For example, AECOM has over recent months helped to develop several Growth and Infrastructure Frameworks for county councils around London, each of which aims to improve on the traditional infrastructure planning model by integrating the planning of housing, infrastructure and utilities across multiple local authorities into a single process. These collectively demonstrate an increasing gap in

W re D

Jesse Honey is Associate, Design, Planning + Economics and Tom Venables is Regional Director, Design Planning + Economics at AECOM

infrastructure funding and a much greater need to plan effectively across authority boundaries. This kind of silo-busting is one example of an effective lever for accelerated sub-regional growth. Other levers identified in our report for the NIC include greater use of devolution deals and combined authorities; central government intervention and support where appropriate, particularly commitments for early strategic and local infrastructure funding; and greater use of innovative delivery mechanisms. Such mechanisms might include Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) and land value capture and/or increasing the capacity of the construction industry, for example through automation, off-site assembly and modular building. However, confining such mechanisms to the Corridor alone would be a missed opportunity. If the South East as a whole is to grow and prosper post-Brexit, we must urgently reconsider the links between its component parts and across its boundaries. The Corridor would not offer the potential it does without London; having a global city only forty miles to its south-east drives its growth at least as much as the world-class reputations of its universities. Strategic, cross-boundary regional planning is needed across London and its city region more than ever. ■ AECOM’s response to the London Plan can be found here: Our report to the NIC can be found here:

Issue 105 April–June 2018





A more liveable London Providing a safer street environment must be a priority says Esha Banwait

With London’s rapidly growing and densifying urban environment, the creation of safer streets is fast becoming a necessity. Under the existing London Plan, more than 50,000 planning approvals are granted per annum and we should ensure that the capital’s growth enables a more sustainable and healthier city. There is a particular need to provide a safe and inviting environment for pedestrians and cyclists around main roads, major junctions and key transport hubs. The London Assembly’s report, ‘Hostile Streets – Walking and Cycling at Outer London Junctions’, identifies current problems affecting the capital’s infrastructure and puts forward solutions. The report, published in December 2017, highlights how some roads in outer London fail to offer a basic level of service. Examples cited include crossings inaccessible to wheelchairs and buggy users as well as incomplete cycle lanes that throw people out into fast-moving traffic. This lack of safe street facilities restricts permeability and the usability of the street environment for all members of the public. Whilst such problems have the potential to affect all parts of the population, TfL has found that such issues most affect people residing along main roads. As a result, these areas should be identified and targeted for works to improve road safety. Interestingly, the lack of a readily usable and inviting street environment not only affects the ability to get from point A to point B, but also impacts on health. TfL has identified health inequalities faced by people residing in such areas to include pollution, physical inactivity and obesity, curtailed independent mobility for children and young people, risk of road traffic collisions, community severance and social isolation. Perhaps the most obvious contributor to a dangerous street environment, especially for pedestrians and cyclists, is fast-moving traffic. As a consequence, TfL has recommended lower speed limits, but speeding is far from being the only problem – incomplete cycle superhighways, busy junctions without pedestrian phases in sig-


Planning in London

nal lights, and interrupted pedestrian crossings can also present significant hazards. Further threats to safety also come from sources not mentioned in the report, such as poor storm-water drainage systems or street lighting. Such infrastructure is vital in guaranteeing people’s welfare during periods of bad weather, which can cause junctions to experience heavy water build-up as well as reducing visibility for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. Unsafe road traffic systems can be found throughout the capital, but prominent examples include Gallows Corner in Havering and Croydon Fiveways. The current and emerging London Plan seeks to improve the current situation by fostering requirements to create an inclusive environment but there are concerns about TfL’s compliance with the Equalities Duty, which emphasises that London’s streets must be accessible by all – including those who are disabled or visually impaired. For this to be achieved, there needs to be profound change. At present, there is still a culture of allowing schemes that do not fit with the Mayor’s safe streets vision to go ahead. For instance, there are several primary schools straddled by the A4 and M4 flyover near Brentford which face extremely hectic pedestrian crossing environments. The large network of major roads and junctions, full of fast-moving traffic, contributes to a hostileenvironment for children. To prevent further hostile environments from being created as part of London’s continued growth, a change in attitude is required. The methodology and recommendations Sail Street SE11, Lambethfor improving street health set out in the report is headed in the right direction. Where appropriate, however, it could go further to achieve healthy street objectives by embedding these priorities early on in the planning process. In addition to ensuring that an inclusive street environment is catered for, Local Planning Authorities and TfL should seek to ensure that walking and cycling needs are met to boost both the number of cycling trips made and people’s

Esha Banwait is a principal planner at Nexus Planning

health. For example, in the case of major strategic development schemes, legal agreements could be used as mechanisms to complete cycle superhighway routes as well as enhance pedestrian crossings, eliminate staggered crossings and improve junctions overall where necessary. The implementation of changes to traffic rules, appropriate and durable road markings, improved signage and street lighting, and the incorporation of tactile surfaces and cat’s eyes to our transport infrastructure would also contribute to safe, usable and inviting environments for pedestrians and cyclists. The mobility of Londoners is one of the capital’s great strengths. In order to further improve London, providing a safer street environment must be a priority. This, along with the changing culture at TfL, now prioritising people over cars, is necessary to secure a more liveable future environment for London. ■


Generation Rent & the problem of community The impermanence of renting is proving particularly problematic for inner city communities says Steve Edge

Saturday morning. Brixton, London. 1967. The dull thud of boot on ball is followed by an excited cheer as a group of children celebrate slotting a football between the two jumpers thrown down as makeshift goalposts on their local street. Down the road, a car revs into life, a bonnet slams shut, and a set of jump leads are returned to their owner with an appreciative smile and a promise to return the favour soon. Door knockers are knocked as neighbours pop next door for a chat, lawnmowers hum gently in the background, and further cheers ring out as another goal flies in between the jumpers. In the midst of all this, a nine-year old Steve Edge emerges with his brothers and cousins for a piece of the action. This isn’t just a picture of Steve’s childhood. It’s a picture of a community in its prime, a community of young families, elderly couples, single parents and newlyweds, a community of labourers, librarians, nurses, accountants, actors, artists and small business owners. While their backgrounds, occupations and incomes may differ greatly, these people have one thing in common: they all live in rented accommodation. Fifty years on, and renting is experiencing a major resurgence. The influx of PRS (Private Rented Sector) accommodation in the UK has been driven by rising house prices and a lack of social housing, but also by a significant shift in values from one generation to another. Today’s young professionals aren’t putting down roots as quickly as their parents or grandparents did. And this isn’t only because they can’t afford to buy houses or start families. It’s also because they value flexibility: the flexibility to move cities or even countries for jobs and opportunities, the flexibility to return to university or travel without the burden of house maintenance and mortgage payments. It’s this flexibility that makes renting an attractive option. But this impermanence is proving particularly problematic for inner city communities. The tendency to value flexibility over stability – paired with the fact that rising rents are forcing existing communities apart – results in a situation where it isn’t uncommon for people to change accommodation

year by year. This in turn means people aren’t committing, or simply can’t commit, to a given neighbourhood for a sustained period of time. Together with the diminishing amount of social housing, this is leading to the breakdown of communities in many cities across the UK. What’s more, this trend isn’t set to change any time soon. It’s predicted that by 2025, over 60% of 20 – 40 year olds will be renting. These figures may be shocking. And they’ll certainly be worrying for many aspiring homeowners. But they aren’t anything new. In the post-war period, less than a third of UK households were homeowners, and of those born in 1958, 48% spent at least part of their childhood in social rented housing. But despite the prevalence of renting at this time, communities flourished. As part of the 1958 cohort, Steve experienced this first hand, growing up in a strong, diverse community of renters in London. Of course, the key difference today is that it’s PRS, not social housing, that occupies the bulk of the rental market. But this doesn’t mean that today’s PRS developers can’t learn from the success of social housing communities like Steve’s, and lead the way in addressing the breakdown of communities in cities across the UK. As it stands, developers are missing the mark when broaching the subject of community. All too often, hoardings and adverts for newly built PRS developments bear sunny images of beaming models, accompanied by generic marketing messages like ‘a vibrant new community’ or ‘discover your new lifestyle’. Messages such as these are widespread across UK cities, yet beyond selling the apartments and houses, few developers have any intention of nurturing a sense of community. The trend for developers to fabricate communities through marketing messages and sell lifestyles that they will rarely follow through on is worsening the problem. And audiences are getting wise to it. In order to relate to their customers and spark some wider positive change when it comes to building communities, developers need to shift the focus. Instead of imposing empty lifestyle messages and promises of community, they must consider what a

Steve Edge is head of Shoreditch-based branding agency, Steve Edge Design

real community of renters looks like, and set the scene for this to grow naturally. As someone who grew up in a thriving community where renting was the norm, Steve is well placed to address the topic. He understands that communities are based on something shared: a shared place, a shared way of life. The role of the developer or housebuilder isn’t to half-heartedly impose empty ideas of community, but to lay the foundations for communities to grow from the ground up. It’s about channelling this understanding into today’s market – a market which desperately needs to support and nurture real, healthy communities in the growing number of PRS developments across the UK. As the problem of failing communities escalates, there is a unique opportunity for developers to buck the PRS industry trend, actively foster new and existing communities, and place themselves at the forefront of positive social change in what can be seen as a cold, hard-hearted sector. ■ BELOW: Steve Edge fishing

Issue 103 October-December 2017




Saying what you mean is not always the same as meaning what you say The meaning of words is especially important when dealing with planning matters Andy Rogers reiterates I have written several times before to suggest that the meaning of words is especially important when dealing with planning matters (as distinct from the importance of the visual when dealing with design). Resisting the temptation to refer yet again to Humpty Dumpty’s habit of making words mean whatever he fancies, I have gathered together some recent appeal and court decisions that might cast light on the (sometimes surprising) meanings that the planning system throws up from time to time. When is a village not a village? This was discussed by an appeal inspector when determining whether an infill site could be developed in Abbots Langley, which is located in the green belt. Paragraph 89 of the NPPF, which deals with exceptions for building in the green belt, allows “limited infilling in villages”. The council claimed that Abbots Langley is too large to be classified as a village and is a small town*. But the appeal was won, partly because the inspector ruled that - being surrounded by countryside - the settlement looked and felt like a village; and partly because the council itself described it as a village on its own website. [Note when dealing with appeals - always consider the possibility that a council has misdirected itself.] Which prompts me to ask: What constitutes “limited” infilling? (dictionary definition: within limits, narrow, restricted). The inspector in that case noted that although there is no specific guidance on the limits that should be used, the everyday use of the word applied and so three houses on an infill site was sufficiently restricted to be allowed as “limited”. When does a basement affect the open character of the green belt?


Planning in London

Here the current position is confused. An appeal inspector in Worcestershire considered that a proposed basement would result in a house that was so much larger than the original (already extended) dwelling as to be in conflict with the fundamental aim of green belt policy “to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open”. But an inspector dealing with a similar appeal in northwest London came to the opposite conclusion as the extension would neither have a material effect on the external appearance of the building nor on its visual bulk in the green belt.** When is a nursery school not a school? My dictionary defines a nursery school as “a school for very young children between the ages of two and five”. But an inspector considering a permitted development application for a nursery school extension disagreed, deciding that the definition of “school” should not include registered nurseries, where the main use was childcare. Class M.1.(g)(i) of the General Permitted Development Order only applies when existing buildings are predominantly used for education. But as there is no clear definition of the term education, the inspector ruled that a nursery school does not provide it. Are children residents? Here the appellant argued that his property in Ealing should be considered as a small house in multiple occupation (HMO) because there were only six adults living there, although some had children. The High Court ruled that the definition of residents should be the same under the

A colourful Wendy House

…this song is considered a perfect gem, And as to the meaning, it’s what you please.– C S Calverley, 1872

Use Classes Order 1987 as for the Housing Act 2010 so that children (and presumably babies) count as persons forming part of a household and therefore are defined as residents. When is a hay store not an agricultural use? The answer is when it is used for feeding horses that are kept for leisure and hobby purposes - not for breeding or grazing. The appeal turned on whether the exclusion of agricultural or forestry buildings on brownfield land in the green belt (which cannot be redeveloped under exceptions allowed in the NPPF) should be extended to a hay store and tack room. The inspector decided they could be redeveloped as they were not agricultural or forestry buildings. When is an office not an office? According to a south coast council, when it’s used for administration by a local authority. A change of use to residential using permitted development rights (Class O of Part 3 to Schedule 2 of the GPDO) was proposed for an office block in Weymouth formerly occupied as council offices. A certificate of proposed lawful use was refused on the grounds that the block had multiple other uses (and based on a previous case concerning the old County Hall in London), but this was rejected by the inspector as the main use was clearly as offices. When is a tree not a tree? The answer is when it’s a shrub or a seedling. This is the subject of extensive legal cases and was comprehensively covered by Martin Goodall in his blog of 21 December 2015. In summary, a sapling is a young tree but a seedling is only potentially a tree and therefore doesn’t count. The cases mostly concern tree preservation orders (TPOs) but the relevant legislation fails to define “tree”. Conversely, a tree in a conservation area is clearly defined and only protected if its trunk is at least 75mm in diameter.

Do projecting bay windows, flues or chimney breasts have side elevations? The answer apparently is, only if they project more than about a foot. One council had refused a certificate of lawful development for an extension (under Class A of Part 1 to Schedule 2 of the GPDO) because a projecting flue was considered to have a “side elevation”, albeit only 0.3 metres long. The second council claimed that that the shallow angled sides of a bay window, 0.5 metres in extent, were effectively “side elevations”. Both inspectors took the common sense view that a bay window, chimney breast or flue should not be considered to have a “wall forming a side elevation”, as described in Class A.1(j) of the Order.

When are antennae not antennae? The answer is when they are mounted on masts. Lewisham council had decided that antennae raised above the roof of a block of flats in Brockley were permitted under Part 16 of the GPDO, being an allowed form of telecommunications equipment. But a judge has ruled that as the antennae were on tall poles, which are “radio masts” and are not included as pd, they should not have been granted a licence. And finally When are children’s Wendy houses obtrusive to the setting of a listed building? (see image) When they are finished in vibrant colours, according to a Suffolk council. But an appeal inspector decided they were not

How has food production, distribution, storage, preparation, consumption, waste and culture changed London’s built environment? How has London changed food? What does the future hold?

F ood Ci t y

obtrusive, because: brightly painted equipment comprises “typical domestic paraphernalia”; such items are “to be expected in the rear garden of a residential dwelling”; playhouses have a short life span so can be considered temporary; and the colours were “limited only to the parts that face inwards towards the garden”. *However paragraph 86 of the NPPF (paragraph 139 of the draft revised NPPF) seems to suggest that such settlements should be excluded from green belt designation altogether. **Paragraph 144 c) of the draft retains the disproportionate rule, currently in paragraph 89 of the NPPF. ■ Speakers/panelists include: Ben Rogers - writer and policy thinker, with a particular focus on cities, citizenship, social capital, public service reform and the built environment. Kate Hofman - CEO and co-founder of GrowUp Urban Farms which produces sustainable fresh fish, salads and herbs in cities using a combination of aquaponic and vertical growing technologies. Carolyn Steel - architect, lecturer and writer who has combined architectural practice with teaching and research into the relationship between food and cities, running design studios at the LSE, London Metropolitan University and at the Cambridge University School of Architecture. Joanna Lewis - Strategy and Policy Director for Soil Association Food for Life, an award-winning national programme which is about making good food the easy choice for everyone, whoever and wherever they are. Donald Hyslop - Chair of Borough Market and works as the head of regeneration and community partnerships at TATE. His work involves building new audiences for the museum, often in marginalised and excluded communities. He is also Chair of Better Bankside, the business-led regeneration body for SE1. ‘Pota-toes’ still life © Carl Warner

6.30-8.30 PM Tuesday 24 April 2018 Borough Market, London SE1 1TL Tickets incl. food tasters: CULS APEC Forum

book at

Issue 105 April–June 2018



briefing March 2018

Draft Revisions to the NPPF Billed as “new, fairer effective planning rules” to unlock land for housing delivery. The emphasis of the revisions provide greater focus towards housing delivery compared to the previous emphasis on promoting economic growth. The document does not include some key headline measures such as a use-it-or-lose it policy for developers failing to implement land with planning permission, or the threat of government taking over plan-making powers from under-performing “special measures” authorities. We expect these policies will be set out in pending guidance and legislation expected later this week.

Sustainable development As with the existing NPPF, sustainable development, as a principle, is at the heart of the NPPF. The revised text has been reordered to reflect the plan-making and decision-making processes. The revision also amends the old paragraph 14 test clarifying specific protected areas where the presumption may not apply within a defined list.

Plan-making The glacial speed of preparing new local plans has been a long-standing complaint of developers and local authorities alike and resulted in the stalling of development in many areas across the country. The

revised NPPF seeks to address this through providing much more emphasis on the plan-making process. Local plans are still required to meet locally identified needs (as much as possible) as well as unmet needs from neighbouring areas. The Duty to Cooperate is retained in the NPPF, however, reference to the “Duty” has been removed. LPAs are to be required to prepare statements of common ground with neighbouring authorities and other relevant bodies. This joint working should assist with identifying infrastructure requirements and whether development needs of an LPA can be met elsewhere. We expect further guidance will be published through the PPG. 24

Planning in London

The general thrust of the revisions is to make local planning more straight-forward, with the LPA required to demonstrate the delivery of an “appropriate strategy” as opposed to the current test of “the most appropriate strategy” in the context of proportionate evidence. The revised NPPF also confirms that local plans should be reviewed every five years and updated as necessary, taking into account changing circumstances and national policy. This includes updating strategic policies if their applicable local housing need figure has increased. Transitional arrangements mean that the revised NPPF will only apply to emerging local plans which have been submitted after six months of the publication of the revised framework in its final form. In London (and for other spatial development strategies) the point of submission means the point at which a statement of intention is published to the Secretary of State (postexamination in public).

Decision making The general push for positivity in local decision-making is retained in the revised NPPF. The government has re-iterated its intention to restrict the use of unnecessary planning conditions, introducing a requirement that all pre-commencement conditions be agreed in writing with the applicant.

Viability The revised NPPF has been published alongside new proposed guidance on viability in planning. This includes a requirement that all viability assessments (where needed) should be made publicly available. Interestingly, the Planning Obligations consultation which has also been published alongside the revised NPPF raises the potential for affordable housing and infrastructure contributions to be set nationally and to be non-negotiable.

Guidance on Viability The PPG for Viability provides some clarity to the viability process including set definitions for key inputs such as Gross Development Value, Existing Use Values and Development Profits (confirmed at 20% return on GDV). Further detailed guidance will follow after the consultation.

Housing supply The standard methodology for calculating objectively assessed housing need is to be used in determining housing targets. The unmet need from neighbouring areas should also be taken into account as per existing policy. There is no update provided on the standard methodology consultation undertaken last year and we expect this to come forward within a further proposed guidance document.

Standard Methodology for Housing Need

Pa d Jo R p

The proposed standard methodology was consulted on last year in the Planning for the Right Homes in the Right Places Consultation. The standard methodology will simplify OAN calculations to provide a centrally based figure using the DCLG household forecasts adjusted for local house prices and local earnings. LPAs will now be required to identify 20% of all housing sites on small-sites of half a hectare or less. This could have significant implications for under-resourced planning policy teams, it also makes a bold assumption that this amount of small-sites are actually available in each authority area. Local plans will now provide a housing target for designated neighbourhood areas (areas identified for a neighbourhood plan). This figure will be prescriptive and will not be re-tested during a neighbourhood plan examination. The revised NPPF seeks to encourage and support the implementation of housing through a variety of measures. These include increasing five-year housing land supply (5YHLS) requirements through the implementation of a 10% buffer or clarification that a 20% buffer is required if housing delivery is persistently below the housing delivery test for a period of three years.

Housing Delivery Test The Housing Delivery Test assesses the actual delivery of housing through percentage measurement of the number of net homes delivered (including student houses and HMOs) against the number of homes required in a plan-making authority area. The implementation of the presumption in favour of sustainable development will happen where the LPA cannot demonstrate a 5YHLS, or the housing delivery test indicates delivery substantially below (75%) the housing requirement. If a LPA is to rely on a 5YHLS then it will need to prepare an Annual Position Statement in consultation with developers and others and this will need to have been considered by the Secretary of State.

Issue 105 April–June 2018




>>> The housing delivery test will also influence whether LPAs have to prepare action plans to address a shortage in housing delivery. This will be required where a LPA falls below 95% of its housing requirement over a three year period. To encourage faster implementation of planning permissions, LPAs are encouraged to impose shorter time limit conditions rather than the relevant default of three year period.

Affordable housing on small sites Interestingly, local authorities are precluded from applying affordable housing policies to small sites (not major development eg less than 10 units or 1,000 sqm floorspace). This provision aligns closely with the government’s small sites policy which many local authorities are currently not applying but will find it harder to avoid if the revised NPPF is brought forward.

Reference to garden city principles has been removed, instead promoting new settlements based on: Existing or planned investment on infrastructure Economic potential; and The scope for net environmental gains.

Affordable housing One of the most significant changes is to the definition of affordable housing, with much greater emphasis on finding routes to home ownership rather than support for the rental market. The revised definition confirms that affordable housing is for those “whose needs are not met by the market (including housing that provides a subsidised route to home ownership and/or is for essential local workers)”.

New definition of affordable housing • Removes the differentiation between affordable and social rent (affordable rent should be 20% below local market rent and provided through a locally registered provider); • Introduces starter homes as affordable housing; • Introduces other discounted market sales housing as a further affordable produce with an eligibility based on local incomes and house prices (there is no clarification on what this might be); and • Sets out other affordable routes to home ownership, including: • • • •

Shared ownership Relevant equity loans Low cost homes for sale; and Rent to buy.

Some of these definitions will require further clarification as it is not clear what, for example, low-cost homes for sale, could be. A more prescriptive approach to identifying housing needs and types for different parts of the community is proposed. This may open the door for the introduction of prescriptive affordable targets for alternative types of accommodation such as student housing and housing for older people. The government proposes a requirement that major housing development provides at least 10% of homes to be available through affordable home ownership.

Effective use of land Greater emphasis is provided on the requirement for effective use of land, particularly brownfield development. New policies support the implementation of minimum densities, particularly in town and city centres and locations with good public transport accessibility. This includes promoting the re-use of retail and employment land where there is a high housing demand, provided it does not “undermine key economic sectors or the vitality and viability of town centres”. More specific policies include: Extensions in height - promotion of upward extensions making use of airspace above existing homes so long as this is consistent with the prevailing height and form of neighbouring properties; and Taking a flexible approach to policies or guidance relating to daylight and sunlight where it would inhibit making efficient use of a site.

Design The revised NPPF provides a general thrust towards encouraging LPAs to provide more detailed design guidelines based on local context and promoting placemaking within communities. The policies generally provide more emphasis and support for local authorities to increase the design quality of development. The old paragraph 59 requirement to avoid unnecessary prescription or detail on design has been removed.

Heritage Despite some concerns that the policy might be fundamentally changed, heritage related policy tests are largely the same. However, reference to the optimum viable use test when considering less-than-substantial harm to a heritage asset has been removed - we believe this is due to simplification of the policy rather than any technical reasoning. 26

Planning in London

Green belt The government’s stance on green belt is unchanged and the rhetoric around the publication of the revised NPPF is that the green belt is not seen as a solution to deliver significantly more housing. There is more clarification on the exception test to ensure consistency for de-allocating green belt land through the local-plan making process. Exceptional circumstances will only exist where: There is insufficient brownfield or non-Green Belt land to meet identified needs; It optimises the density of development; and The plan has been informed by discussions with neighbouring authorities to explore whether more suitable land is available in neighbouring authority areas. Regarding development applications, only minor changes are proposed to the definition of what is not considered to be inappropriate development. This includes a lower-test for brownfield green belt development providing affordable housing and inclusion of change of use of land where it does not impact on openness or the purposes of including land in the green belt.

Economic development The revised NPPF provides far less emphasis on the need to promote economic development (for example, the existing definition for “economic development” is not included within the revised glossary). However, there remains significant weight on supporting economic growth.

Town centres An additional requirement is proposed for the sequential assessment test requiring town centre opportunities to now be “fully explored”. This could have significant implications for the level of evidence required to undertake the sequential test. A new requirement is introduced for LPAs to identify “edge of centre” sites for main town centre uses that are well connected to the town centre and where viable town centre uses are not available.

Other proposals A raft of other relatively small changes are included:

management with reference to Clean Air Zones and Air Quality Management Areas. The agent of change principle requiring that new development can be integrated effectively with existing businesses and community facilities without the existing business having unreasonable restrictions placed on them as a result of permitted development. Specific commentary on ground conditions and pollution.

Consultation timescales The deadline to provide consultation responses is 10 May 2018. The government’s intention is to publish the final version of the revised NPPF in the summer. The short period between the close of the consultation and intended publication suggests that very few changes are expected between this draft and the final version.

Supporting House Building Through Developer Contributions Alongside the NPPF publication, the government has published an additional consultation proposal to explore the potential for further CIL reforms. The consultation document raises the potential for affordable housing and infrastructure contributions to be set nationally and to be non-negotiable. The CIL reforms propose: • A streamlined process for setting CIL charging schedules; • Lifting the existing S106 pooling restrictions under Reg.123 in certain circumstances; • A more proportionate way to administer exemptions; • Clarifying how indexation is applied when an existing permission is amended; • Extending abatement provisions to phased developments; • Allow charging schedules to take into account land value uplift by allowing charging rates to be established by the existing use of land; • Index CIL rates to local-authority house prices or CPI as opposed to the BCIS; and

The removal of all references to EU Regulations Additional requirements relating to air quality

• Allow combined authorities with strategic planning powers to introduce a Strategic Infrastructure Tariff.

Issue 105 April–June 2018



Applications made and decided little changed; commercial permissions down nine per cent Latest planning performance by English districts and London boroughs: Planning Applications in England: October and December 2017 OVERVIEW Between October and December 2017, district level planning authorities in England: ! received 112,300 applications for planning permission, unchanged from the corresponding quarter of 2016; ! granted 93,200 decisions, unchanged from the same quarter in 2016; this is equivalent to 88 per cent of decisions, up from 87 per cent for the same quarter of 2016; ! decided 88 per cent of major applications within 13 weeks or the agreed time, up from 87 per cent a year earlier; ! granted 12,600 residential applications, down one per cent on a year earlier: 1,700 for major developments and 10,900 for minors; ! granted 2,600 applications for commercial developments, down 10 per cent on a year earlier; and ! received 8,900 applications for prior approval for permitted development rights, down five per cent from the same quarter of 2016. Of these, 1,400 applications were for changes to residential use, of which 1,000 were given the go-ahead without having to go through the full

planning process. In the year ending December 2017, district level planning authorities: ! granted 380,300 decisions, down one per cent on the year ending December 2016; ! granted 49,600 decisions on residential developments: 6,500 for major developments and 43,100 for minors, up on the year ending December 2016 by three per cent and one per cent respectively; and ! granted 10,200 applications for commercial developments, down nine per cent on the year ending December 2016.

Planning applications During October to December, authorities undertaking district level planning in England received 112,300 applications for planning permission, unchanged from the corresponding quarter in 2016. In the year ending December 2017, authorities received 476,500 planning applications, down one per cent on the year ending December 2016 (Live Tables P120/P132/P134 and Table 1).

Planning decisions Authorities reported 106,500 decisions on planning applications in October to December 2017, a decrease of one per cent on the 107,100 decisions in the same quarter of the previous year. In the year ending December 2017, authorities decided 433,700 planning applications, down one per cent on the number in the year ending December 2016 (Live Tables P120/P133/P134 and Table 1). Applications granted During October to December 2017, authorities granted 93,200 decisions, unchanged from the same quarter in 2016. Authorities granted 88 per cent of all decisions, up from 87 per cent in the December quarter of 2016 (Live Tables P120/P133). Overall, 83 per cent of major and minor decisions were granted. The percentage of decisions granted varied between local planning authorities, ranging this quarter from 25 to 100 per cent for major developments, 41 to 100 per cent for minor developments and 64 to 100 per cent for other developments (Live Tables P120/P131). Over the 12 months to December 2017, 380,300 decisions were granted, down one per cent on the figure for the year to December 2016 (Live Tables P122/P132 and Table 1). Historical context Figure 1 and Table 1 show that, since 2005, the numbers of applications received, decisions made and applications granted have each followed a similar pattern. As well as the usual within- year pattern of peaks in the Summer and troughs in the Winter, there was a clear downward trend during the 2008 economic downturn, with figures remaining broadly level since then, albeit with numbers granted showing a slight upward trend. Figure 1 shows that the numbers of applications received in recent years are some


Planning in London

RIGHT: Number of planning applications received, decided and granted by district level planning authorities

way below the peak in 2004/05. Historical figures for all district level decisions dating back to 2004 are set out in Live Table P120, with separate breakdowns for residential and commercial decisions being shown in Live Tables P120A and P120B respectively. These latter two tables are discussed below in the sections on residential and commercial decisions1. Speed of decisions ! In October to December 2017, 88 per cent of major applications were decided within 13 weeks or within the agreed time2, compared with 87 per cent in the same quarter a year earlier. ! In October to December, 85 per cent of minor applications and 90 per cent of other applications were decided within eight weeks or the agreed time. These figures show increases, compared with 83 per cent and 89 per cent a year

earlier respectively. The percentage of decisions made in time varied between local planning authorities, ranging this quarter from 25 to 100 per cent for major devel-

opments, 37 to 100 per cent for minor developments and 28 to 100 per cent for other developments (Live Tables P120, P123 and P131). >>>

Planning decisions by development type, speed of decision and local planning authority: July to September 2017 Table 131 can be found with all tables and figures here: Source: CLG/ONS

Issue 105 April–June 2018



Use of performance agreements Because the most consistent reporting of the use of performance agreements3 is for major applications, Figure 2 and Table 2 show, from 2008, numbers of decisions on major developments made involving a performance agreement, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of all decisions on major developments. Notwithstanding definitional changes, there has been a marked increase in the use of agreements since early 2013, although the increases have slowed down in recent quarters. In reality, this longer upward trend has been driven by both the additional scope for recording them and their additional use. The proportion of major decisions subject to an agreement was 61 per cent during October to December 2017 (Table 2). The three final columns in Table P120 give corresponding figures for planning applications 1 Figures cover agreed extensions of time and environmental impact assessments from 1 April 2013 involving a planning agreement for all types of development (major, minor and ‘other’ combined), showing numbers of decisions and percentages decided within time. Figure 3 and Reference Table 2 show that in the quarter to December 2017, 91 per cent of major development decisions involving performance agreements were made on time. In comparison, 85 per cent of major decisions not involving performance agreements were made within the statutory time limit of 13 weeks. Performance of individual district level local planning authorities Live Tables P151a and P153 present data on the performance of district level local planning authorities against the published criterion in Improving planning performance: criteria for designation on the speed of decision-making for

informing decisions on the designation of poorly performing local planning authorities under section 62B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. In particular, Live Table P151a gives detailed figures for the time taken for major decisions to be made over the eight most recent quarters and Live Table P153 presents data for the time taken by district level local planning authorities for decisions on ‘non-major developments’ (previously ‘minor and other developments’, and defined as minor developments, changes of use and householder developments) to be made over the eight most recent quarters. Similarly, Live Table P152a, presents data on the performance of district level local planning authorities against the published criterion in Improving planning performance: criteria for designation on the quality of decision-making for assessing performance under section 62B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. In particular, it gives detailed figures for the percentage of major decisions subject to a successful planning appeal, by matching eight quarters of the Department’s data on decisions and all available quarters of Planning Inspectorate data on appeals. This table is usually published a few weeks after the statistical release and most of the other live tables, to take account of the latest appeals data. Live Table P154 presents data for the percentage of decisions on minor and other developments (as defined for Table P153) subject to a successful planning appeal, by matching eight quarters of the Department’s data on decisions and all available quarters of Planning Inspectorate data on appeals. Like Table P152a, this table is usually published a few weeks after the statistical release and most of the other live tables, to take account of the latest appeals data.

Residential decisions The figures collected by the department are numbers of decisions on planning applications submitted to local planning authorities rather than the number of units included in each application, such as the number of homes in the case of housing developments. The department supplements this information by obtaining statistics on housing permissions from a contractor. The latest figures show that permission for 338,000 homes was given in the rolling year to 31 December 2017, down three per cent compared to the 349,000 homes granted permission in the rolling year to 30 September 2017.4 The number of homes granted permission during the rolling year to 31 December 2017 was eight per cent higher than in the rolling year to 31 December 2016. On an ongoing basis, figures are revised to ensure that any duplicates are removed, and also to include any projects that local planning authorities may not have processed: they are therefore subject to change. These figures are provided to give contextual information, and have not been designated as National Statistics. Regarding the figures reported by local planning authorities to the Department on PS1/2 returns, in October to December 2017, 16,900 decisions were made on applications for residential5 developments, of which 12,600 (75 per cent) were granted. The total number of residential decisions made decreased by one per cent from the December quarter 2016, with the number granted also dropping one per cent. The number of major residential decisions granted decreased by five per cent to 1,700, whereas the number of minor residential decisions granted was unchanged from last year at 10,900 (Live Tables P120A, P123 and P135). In the year ending December 2017, authorities granted 6,500 major and 43,100 minor residential applications, up by three and one per cent respectively on the year ending December 2016 (Live Tables P120A and P136). Commercial decisions In October to December 2017, 2,800 decisions were made on applications for commercial developments, of which 2,600 (91 per cent) were granted. The total number of commercial decisions made decreased by ten per cent on the same quarter of 2016. In the year ending December 2017, 10,200 applications for commercial developments were granted, down nine per cent on the year ending December 2016 (Live Table P120B). Trends in numbers of residential and commercial decisions Historically, numbers of residential decisions


Planning in London

dropped sharply during 2008 (particularly for minor decisions) but have been increasing since 2012. Numbers of commercial decisions made also decreased sharply during 2008, and have since stabilised at around 2,200 per year for major and 10,000 per year for minor commercial developments. In 2016/17, numbers of minor commercial decisions were at about 45 per cent of the pre-recession peak, with the numbers of major developments being at about 62 per cent (Live Tables P120A and P120B, Figure 4). Trends in the percentage of residential and commercial decisions granted The percentages of major and minor residential decisions granted increased between 2008/09 (from about 65 per cent for each type) and 2010/11 (to about 80 per cent for majors and about 75 per cent for minors), and have stabilised since then. The percentages of major and minor commercial decisions granted have been increasing steadily, from 88 and 86 per cent respectively in 2008/09, to 94 and 91 per cent respectively in 2016/17 (Live Tables P120A and P120B, Figure 5). Householder developments Householder developments are those developments to a house which require planning permission such as extensions, loft conversions and conservatories (more details are in the Definitions section). The number of decisions on householder developments increased by one per cent, from 51,500 decisions in the quarter ending December 2016 to 52,200 decisions in the corresponding quarter in 2017, when they accounted for 49 per cent of all decisions. Authorities granted 90 per cent of these applications and decided 92 per cent within eight weeks or the agreed time (Live Table P123). Prior approvals for permitted developments The results for the latest quarter for which they have been collected (October to December 2017) are included in Live Tables PDR1 (local authority level figures) and PDR2 (England totals). Of the 8,900 applications reported in the October to December quarter of 2017, prior approval was not required for 4,800, and permission was granted for 2,400 and refused for 1,700. This resulted in an overall acceptance rate 8 of 81 per cent. Sixty-eight per cent of applications (6,100) related to larger householder extensions,

with seven per cent relating to office to residential changes and six per cent to agricultural to residential changes. 16 per cent related to ‘all other’ permitte development rights, up from 13 per cent a year earlier. Taking i) granted applications and ii) those for which prior approval was not required together, 7,200 applications were approved without having to go through the full planning process, down four per cent from a year earlier. Within an overall decrease of five per cent in the reported total number of PDR applications between October to December 2016 and October to December 2017: ! larger householder extensions decreased by seven per cent; ! office to residential changes decreased by 13 per cent; ! agricultural to residential changes decreased by 17 per cent; and ! ‘all other’ permitted development rights increased by 16 per cent. Figures for the total number of permitted development right applications made for changes to residential for quarters from October to December 2016 onwards are given in Live Table PDR1, which show that a total of 1,400 applications for changes to residential use were reported in October to December 2017, of which 1,000 (70 per cent) were given the go-ahead without having to go through the full planning process. The overall acceptance rate for the fifteen quarters between the collection of detailed data started in April 2014 and the end of December 2017 is 81 per cent. The rate initially

dropped from 85 per cent in the quarter ending June 2014 to 79 per cent in the quarter ending December 2014, and has broadly stabilised since then (Live Table PDR2). Overall during the fifteen quarters ending December 2017, district planning authorities reported 150,000 applications for prior approvals for permitted developments. For 85,000 (57 per cent) of them prior approval was not required, 36,600 (24 per cent) were granted and 28,100 (19 per cent) were refused (Figure 6). To put these recent figures into context, Live Table P128 and Figure 7 show how the number of ‘determination applications’ received remained broadly stable at around 5,000 to 8,000 per year from 2004/05 to 2012/13, but approximately doubled to 15,700 in 2013/14, following the creation of the new permitted development right categories in May 2013. Since April 2014, there have been 36,500 applications in 2014/15, 41,400 in 2015/16 and 41,500 in 2016/17. The quarterly pattern since April 2014 reflects a combination of both: i) the introduction of new permitted development right categories in May 2013 and April 2015; and ii) the seasonal peaks and troughs that have previously also been observed for planning applications, as shown earlier in this release, in Figure 1 (Live Table PDR 2 and Figure 7). This significant increase in numbers of applications is consistent with the annual increases in the number of dwellings added to the net housing supply through change of use of: 65 per cent in 2014/15, 48 per cent in 2015/16 and 22 per cent in 2016/179. ■

Issue 105 April–June 2018



Transports of delight Public transport has become an intensely private affair. says Neil Parkyn

Airborne taxis without drivers…or pilots? Such is a recent innovation being rushed to the market by some serious players in the personal transportation market. The prospect is indeed breathtaking. Can we expect an added artificial voiceover in imitation of the famous cabby’ cry….”traffic’s diabolical around Kings you want to cut through to Holborn?”. Moving people and goods around has generated more than its fair share of Krazy Koncepts,


Planning in London

from passengers being propelled through a tube by air pressure to airport islands in the Atlantic. Planning for personal mobility has a long and often amusing history, from the ruts worn by chariot wheels in the Roman city of Jerash in Jordan to the glib announcement that services westbound on the District Line are suspended because of planned engineering works. Well, it’s reassuring to know that these works were not informal or capricious in nature. We passengers are a peculiar race. Where couples once exchanged private glances and sandwiches; we now join the throng of people on citybound station platforms, all of us orientated at exactly the same angle, tilted towards the sun like solar arrays and texting madly, each in a personal cocoon. Public transport has become an intensely private affair. Action packed interchanges Points of departure, interchanges and terminal stations have all provided a rich vein of possibilities to be mined by novelists, artists and filmmakers. The comparisons with Life Itself are readily identified and exploited. There can be few sounds as thrilling as the symphony of movement to be enjoyed in the grand concourse of Kings Cross-St Pancras station… the thunder of rolling suitcases piloted by fresh faced Europeans just off Eurostar, the tinkle of that very annoying white piano, the cackle of coffee cups and the perfume of friend bacon. A delight to the senses and a triumphant assertion of man’s ability to provide Accessibility to the masses. At times the setting is heroic. When one compares the dignity and drama of Grand Central Terminal in New York City (architects: Warren & Wetmore, Reed & Stern) with the lucklustre and chaotic rebuild of Penn Station, then the prize goes to the former, no question. Or Birmingham New Street with the spacious concourse of the London Bridge station rebuild, then we are talking Architecture versus expediency. Today, of course, these interchanges are excuses for intensive retail activity. Remember the grand unobstructed volume that once was Stansted Airport? Today it is a retail experience

Neil Parkyn is an architect and planner living in France. He is a former director of transport consultants Colin Buchanan and Partners

with a few aircraft attached. Or the merchandising madness of any of our mainline stations. It seems that transport is merely the link between competing retail opportunities. Yet the scaled down versions of famous brand stores in stations are seldom satisfactory. Why don’t they carry YOUR brand of fixative for dentures, or the FULL range of Dan Brown’s oeuvre? That book again Long gone are the days of ‘Traffic in Towns’, arguably the most important single volume in planning history, yet widely misunderstood. It’s back to basics. Sir Colin did not write a blueprint for indiscriminate road building that warmed the heart of the City Engineer – think Leeds or Glasgow – he explained that such works were the logical outcome of a very high level of car access. Hence the now risible worked examples of ultimate accessibility by vehicle, leading to grade separation for Fitzrovia or spaghetti junctions outside Andover. Such was ultimate Accessibility with a capital A. With the unemotional stance of a consulting engineer, Buchanan was very careful to stress that his worked examples demonstrated the likely physical impact of a given level of vehicle accessibility. It is for Society itself to decide if the physical outcome was worthwhile or desirable. The study can be faulted for no serious mention being made of public transport as an essential component of towns and cities. The reaction was total. A rediscovery of the bycicle, walking and enhanced forms of public transport, many based upon fixed route modes such as the supertram or guided busway. These in turn gave rise to a whole “architecture” of stops, interchanges and boarding points which now create much of the foreground of the urban scene, sometimes with distinction.




From Grant Lipton, co-founder of Great Marlborough Estates Dear Editor This tax on empty homes is a stealth tax looking to raise revenue on an issue that does not exist. As the government's own data proves, the idea of 'lights off London' is largely a myth, with high demand areas such as the capital having fewer empty homes than other places in the country.” Fundamentally the UK's housing woes come down to a lack of supply, so the government should instead be focusing on removing barriers to development. This could range from the championing of small developers, tactical greenbelt release, reworking planning rules around height and density, as well as a rethinking of onerous contributions that may not provide what the community actually wants. It is a concern is that we will hear more and more political soap box ideas in the run up to the local election, that in reality, do not tackle the real housing problems. ■ From Peter Eversden MBE, chairman, London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies Dear Editor The SHMAA in the New London Plan (NLP) requires


At their worse, these fixed rail networks can result in a cat’s cradle of wires, poles and shelters which clutter the streetscape, yet properly designed they can bring calm, order and even delight. Trams themselves are even sedate and civilizing influences, with passengers going about their own business and being civilised for once. What is most noticeable – and encouraging – is that the transport planner is now equipped with a whole gamut of ‘solutions’, from router information systems, bicycle parks, computer controlled traffic lights, cycle paths, car sharing, seamless interchanges and the rest. Which reminds me. There are two related anecdotes from the Basil Brush archive which deserve telling. Both concern a very eminent planning consultant advising the mayor of Beijing on future development of his city. Each time he left at the end of a mission he was presented with a cheque the size of which increased progressively. When he politely queried why this

11,869 more Intermediate homes pa and 30,972 more Low-cost Rent homes pa - a total of 42,841 extra affordable homes annually which should be 65% of all the new homes built after losses to Right to Buy (RTB). Compare that with the figure below of 3,369 for the last twelve months which is about the same number as those purchased through RTB. I do not see anything in the NLP that will make such a huge step change vaguely likely. The Minister said last September, as attached, that he is seeking a 40% uplift in the targets for housebuilding and he is trying to impose a 72,000 annual new homes target on London but the Mayor has set the figure at 66,000 pa. The Minister was likely to be making another hint on Nimbyism when he said "For the comfortably housed children of the 50s, the 60s, the 70s to pull that ladder up behind them would be nothing less than an act of inter-generational betrayal. One that our children and grandchildren will neither forget nor forgive."How can any comfortably housed people argue for the right number of new homes that people can afford for future generations, given the current situation when almost every planning decision continues not to meet the housing need? As Helen Marcus has written: "Just leaving the whole thing to commercial housebuilders whose job is not to subsidise affordable housing but to boost

was, he was told that he was being paid more because he was older and therefore knew more. Logical enough – and he was not one to complain. The second was transport related. Looking at a huge plan of Bejing on the mayor’s wall, he noted

their profits, seems misguided, to say the least." Because the homes required are not being supplied, we face intensification of land use in the suburbs which could radically change neighbourhoods and will lead to an increase in the building of far more market homes than are needed or affordable.. ■ From Andrew Rogers, chairman Association of Consultant Architects Planning Action Group

Dear Editor Here is a classic example of why housing is not being built (Oliver Letwin take note). We got planning approval for a new house in a London borough eventually on appeal in Jan. 2016. The client (not a developer) then arranged finance etc and was ready to go last July, so applied for discharge of pre-commencement conditions on 11 July with a view to starting work in August/September. Despite numerous reminders, architect chasing, etc, the council did not respond so I suggested sending a Discharge of Conditions notice under the new legislation giving 14 days for a decision after which approval is deemed to be issued. This produced an immediate approval - some nine months after the application for discharge had been submitted! ■ that the underground tube interchanges, normally poins of great interest to transport planners, were NOT shown. The mayor explained that because these interchanges were underground you couldn’t see them. Hence they were not marked. Boom Boom! ■

Plans for Oxford Street, London, in the 1963 Colin Buchanan report "Traffic in Towns"

Issue 105 April–June 2018



The draft new London Plan dissected With density limits removed and housebuilding targets raised, Peter Eversden queries the environmental costs, and how public transport and social infrastructure will be funded. London Forum has serious concerns Density Matrix abolished and housing targets doubled One of the most significant differences between the new draft Plan and the current one is that the Density Matrix has been abolished and design is to be the prime criterion for judging whether a development is acceptable. The New London Plan doubles the housing target for some outer London boroughs, compared with the current Plan 2015. It also assumes that existing buildings will be replaced, extended or built upwards to achieve greater intensity of land use, including building on any small, available site and large garden, particularly in the suburbs. This could have several damaging consequences: it will encourage developers to pay too much for land and increase land values, and affect the ability of councils and associations to buy land cheaply to provide social housing. It would further remove the development of high- density schemes from public scrutiny. Projects are agreed between developers and their advisors with planners in confidential sessions. We fear this change will give the developers an even stronger bargaining position. This secrecy and the potential for planners to be “captured” in these negotiations and the resulting “done deals”, are a major fear for local communities. It raises strong concerns about openness, accountability and community confidence in the planning process. Density policies are being breached and the principles of Sustainable Residential quality abandoned in favour of targets relying on intensified use of land with no regard to either the form or mix of homes to be built. In view of these threats it is imperative that Chapter one's Policy GG1, Building strong and inclusive communities, ensures that there are sufficient services and amenities for the needs of local people for various types of schools and other educational establishments, shopping facilities, healthcare, places for meeting and socialising and with close access to green and open spaces. Development must be supported by sufficient social infrastructure, public transport accessibility and capacity for journeys to desired locations. The


Planning in London

new Plan recommends that if the required support of those types is not in place, developments should be phased until it is available. The new Plan will be perceived by communities as a further transfer of power toward developers, just at a time when communities are seeking not only greater engagement in planning and development but also wanting to have more of role in shaping the future of their community/ neighbourhood. Emphasis must be refocused on the plan-led process where site allocations and the form of development are agreed with local communities.

A new ‘design-led approach’ The London Forum has very serious reservations about the “design-led approach” presented in

This Policy is purely a development management tool for assessing proposals brought forward by developers – a developer-led approach masquerading as a “design-led approach” in an attempt to sideline the Density Matrix. Chapter 3's Policy D6. Design is a subjective criterion, and many boroughs may not have the professional capacity to cope with the negotiations that would be required. This Policy is not a tool for planning the location of development; it is purely a development management tool for assessing proposals brought forward by developers – a developer-led approach masquerading as a “design-led approach” - in an attempt to sideline the Density Matrix. In their eagerness to get to the “design-led approach” stage,

Peter Eversden MBE chairs the London Forum of Civic and Amenity Societies

the authors have bypassed the plan-making stage. Boroughs are at different stages in the process of revising their own local plans and many might not be fully compliant with the emerging new London Plan. Few have mapped their facilities and their needs, let alone planned for growth at the neighbourhood/community level, and do not see local communities as the fundamental building block. London Forum believes that this will need to be rectified and has suggested adding to Chapter 2 / 2.0.7, that ‘Communities should be fully engaged in development plans and their needs taken intoaccount.’ Infactfromacommunity perspective, the “design-led approach” could mean less rather than more opportunities for shaping their own community. It is now widely accepted that terraces, squares, crescents, town houses, mansion blocks etc.- provide a valuable template for achieving intensification and higher densities, without sacrificing the attributes of civilised urban living.

Housing Policies (Policy GG4 and H1) The lack of homes to rent at prices people on low to medium incomes can afford is one of the biggest problems in London. For years, the wrong type of housing has been delivered with an excess of market housing, well above the target for homes of that type to meet London's need, many being sold off plan to overseas buyers as investments and left empty. Less than half the affordable housing required has been delivered and this lack is hindering recruitment and retention of workers, particularly for "the operation of the emergency services, the health system and London’s transport infrastructure." The Plan sets a figure of 66,000 new homes to

be supplied each year.This is more than double that which home builders have been providing and the Plan does not explain how a step change in delivery will be achieved. The intensification of land use in outer London to meet the housing targets, some of which have been doubled to those in the current London Plan, may not be possible and could meet strong local opposition. The encouragement of infill development (Policy H2 D 2) d) is not acceptable. What are ‘underused sites’ referenced in Policy H2? A garden may be an important local amenity for wildlife, mature trees and local drainage. Just because it has not been built on it does not mean it is underused. Back garden development should not be encouraged; the loss of green space would be contrary to the policies for urban greening. There are also dangerous proposals in Policy D6 ‘Optimising Housing Density’ which states in paragraph 3.6.2: ‘It will not be normally necessary for minor developments to undertake infrastructure assessments or for boroughs to refuse them on the grounds of infrastructure capacity’. Given that nearly 40% of new homes across London are planned to be on small sites (and up to 78% in some outer London Boroughs), it could lead to the construction of a quarter of a million new homes on incremental small sites without any infrastructure assessment. This is of significant concern to London Forum and its community group members. The statement "London must seek to deliver new homes through every available means" in paragraph 1.4.5 is unacceptable and must be removed. It could lead to social infrastructure, open space, public transport, and acceptable housing standards provision being ignored, and result in potential harm or unsatisfactory living conditions. Policy H2 D (2) (b) for home extensions seems to conflict with Policy H2 F (3), which states that there should be net additional housing, plus Policy H2 F (5) for additional housing to be self contained. That would imply that home extensions must deliver a self-contained annex or flat for sale or rent. There have been over 270,000 homes with planning permission not built and there are many empty homes.

Objectionable prescription on boroughs

London Forum objects strongly to the prescription (Policy H12 C and para 4.12.2) that "boroughs should not set policies or guidance that require set proportions of different-sized market or intermediate units tobedelivered.” Boroughs must have the ability to resist developers trying to deliver only the type of housing that suits their profit motives, rather than the required local mix of bedroom sizes and tenures. Left entirely to the market developers are delivering units which appeal to the overseas investor market, rather than producing an appropriate mix including affordable for the home market. It is totally inappropriate to prevent boroughs from including such policies in Local Plans. Housing schemes that do not meet local housing need should be refused.

London’s open spaces and Green Belt are a vital part of the capital. Its parks, rivers and green open spaces are some of the places that people most cherish Public sector land should not be sold privately Public sector land being developed by TfL and by boroughs should not be sold to house builders who will require their usual profit levels for housing delivery. On publicly owned land the target of 50% of affordable homes is too low; it should be 75% minimum. Chapter 6 The Economy The role of the central London Heritage sites as iconic tourist attractions is not specifically considered. Measures to control tourism flows are likely to become increasingly essential in order to avoid conflict with London's residents. Such conflicts will detract from London as a destination. Any loss of reputation reduces the attractiveness of London as a place to live, work and invest.

Chapter 7 Heritage and Culture The London Forum has sought to strengthen policies on conservation areas and the setting of listed buildings and has requested that ‘Consideration should be given to the effect of new development on theskyline.’beadded. London Forum and Historic England both urged the Mayor to develop a new London Heritage Strategy, which would encourage heritage-led regeneration and character-led new development. The Forum has called for recognition of the role of local historical and archaeological societies, as well as the wider local community: societies often have members at least as expert as many professionals. Chapter 8 Green Infrastructure This commits to protection of London’s open spaces and Green Belt which “are a vital part of the capital. Its parks, rivers and green open spaces are some of the places that people most cherish and they bring the benefits of the natural environment within reach of Londoners”, prevent urban sprawl, and “should be seen as an integral element and not as an ‘add-on’”. The Forum welcomes this support for Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land The Green Belt should be protected from inappropriate development, and development proposals that would harm it should be refused; the enhancement of the Green Belt to provide appropriate multi-functional uses for Londoners should be supported. Metropolitan Open Land is protected in the same way. The extension of the Green Belt where appropriate will be supported. Its de-designation will not. Chapter 10 Transport London Forum supports the extension of the Bakerloo Line from Elephant & Castle to Lewisham and beyond, serving Old Kent Road and New Cross Gate but is completely opposed to the loss of any social housing caused by new rail infrastructure in places such as Euston. For HS2 or Crossrail2 to contribute to the growth of London it is essential that complementary infrastructure, which includes affordable housing, is enhanced not contracted. TheTransport for London budget seems unlikely to provide the transport facilities to support >>>

Issue 104 January-March 2018



>>> growth in the time periods required. Demands on developers for transport improvements and additional social infrastructure will reduce the chances of achieving the 65% affordable new housing required. Overcrowding is now a serious problem on many public transport routes. Other London Forum concerns These include: •The lack of details for several Opportunity Areas; they should be described in the Plan or there should be an annex describing all of them. •The impact of major shopping malls like Westfield on nearby town centre businesses, which should be examined, monitored and mitigating actions taken. •The provision of private amenity space and children's play space; the Mayor should publish a minimum standard for housing developments. • Boroughs should be able to identify in their Local Plans areas where tall buildings would not be appropriate. • Basement policies are needed everywhere, not just in inner London • If health and social care and infrastructure facilities are not provided where they are needed a development proposal should be refused. • Car-free developments are supported by London Forum as a policy but it means that the Government will have to withdraw its intervention on parking standards • Noise is dealt with in many different places and is inconsistent in the current draft (owing perhaps to multiple authors). One of the most annoying aspects of noise is that within buildings. The Forum would propose a specific section, perhaps in the chapter on health. • Policy D12 Agent of Change is inadequate in that it seems to cover only noise that existing developments and businesses could cause, and not the introduction of new uses. It fails to cover odours, vibration from underground rail lines, light pollution, air pollution or new uses that would cause disturbance.


Planning in London

The shortfall in finance The content of chapter 11 Funding the Plan, is the most frank and depressing set of information in any version of a London Plan, showing, as it does, the shortfall in finance to carry out many of the proposed plans. Most of the schemes listed in Table 10.1 for transport improvements are currently unfunded. Over the next 30 years something in the region of £11 billion will be needed to fund new primary and secondary school places and energy and water infrastructure will require £148 billion and £46 billion respectively. £4.8 billion will be needed just to keep existing health infrastructure operationally functional. If housing is built without the transport

and social infrastructure needed it will not be sustainable and would reduce quality of life for everyone. That makes the target of 66,000 more homes annually just an aim that is most unlikely to be achieved.

The next stage The Examination in Public (EiP) is likely to be in the autumn, led by a panel of Planning Inspectors, who will decide which issues will be discussed at the EiP, and who will be invited to take part. ■ First published in Newsforum Spring 2018. The London Forum team put an immense amount of time and effort into studying the draft, and produced over sixty pages of detailed criticism of this important document to meet the deadline for comments

The Plan structure The Plan is set out in 12 Chapters. Chapter one lists six core ‘good growth’ policies which should be taken into account for all planning and development in London. and represent the overarching objectives of the Plan: • Policy GG1 Building strong and inclusive communities • Policy GG2 Making the best use of land • Policy GG3 Creating a healthy city • Policy GG4 Delivering the homes Londoners need • Policy GG5 Growing a good economy • Policy GG6 Increasing efficiency and resilience Chapter two sets out the overall spatial development pattern for London, focusing on growth strategies for specific areas of the city and how they connect with the Wider South East. Chapters three to twelve cover topic- based policies and implementation: Design, Housing, Social infrastructure, the Economy, Heritage and Culture, Green Infrastructure and the Natural Environment, Sustainable Infrastructure, Funding the New London Plan and the Monitoring of the Plan's Implementation.

The Plan can be read online at: plan/draft-new-london-plan


Ford calls for urban rethink Ford has called for major cities to be rebuilt to cope with the rise of driverless cars, taxi apps and booming urban populations, warning that city centres will grind to a halt otherwise. Jim Hackett, the American carmaker’s chief executive, warned of “overwhelming pollution and paralysing congestion” if cities continue to grow as they are today. He said the rise of ride-hailing apps and delivery services would inevitably lead to more traffic unless transport authorities responded, adding that cities filled with cars had become a threat to “civic life”. Ford has also announced that it would launch an online service that would allow fleets of connected cars to wirelessly communicate with public transport, cyclists and infrastructure such as traffic lights and car parks to manage traffic. Its “mobility cloud” would allow different companies and government bodies to plug into a shared control centre, which Ford said would let cities run more smoothly. The company also unveiled plans to test a delivery service using driverless cars in a US city in a tie-up with the courier app Postmates. Ford is aiming to release a fully driverless car to the public in 2021, but plans to expand beyond selling cars by selling on-demand services using fleets of vehicles owned by the company. – The Telegraph

Less driving in the Mayor’s new transport strategy The Mayor has revealed his revised transport strategy which commits to ploughing ahead with Crossrail 2 and tube line extensions while reaffirming his commitment for 80 per cent of journeys to be made by walking, cycling and public transport by 2041. Included in the plans for the next 25 years is also a West London Orbital rail line that would connect Hounslow with Cricklewood and Hendon, with Sadiq Khan claiming it could

ABOVE: Old Street roundabout brings out the digital silicon. Here are two shortlisted proposals from competition for a new image. A magic roundabout even. LEFT by Es Devlin and RIGHT by Zaha Hadid Architects

potentially support the delivery of another 20,000 homes. He has also pledged "recordbreaking investment" across the entire tube network which would finance the extension of both the Northern and Bakerloo lines. The mayor published a draft of his strategy for consultation last June and the revised document has now been presented to the London Assembly for consideration before final publication in the coming weeks. A total of 6,600 responses were received on last year's consultation and there has been a number of amendments following the feedback received. These include a commitment to work

with the London boroughs of Merton and Sutton to develop the proposed Sutton Tram extension and an increased focus on the opportunities from new technology. – Infrastructure Intelligence

A vested interest in scarcity It is absurd to expect commercial companies, whose first duty is to deliver maximum returns to their shareholders, to provide social housing, or to “maintain supply to meet demand”. They have a vested interest in scarcity, which results in price inflation. – Richard Rogers and others >>>

Issue 105 April–June 2018



Trains test the tracks for the Elizabeth Line Images released by Transport for London (TfL) and Crossrail (See RIGHT) have shown the first new Elizabeth Line train being tested and driven through Elizabeth Line tunnels. The train was the first to be driven from Abbey Wood, entering the tunnels at Plumstead and heading for Connaught Tunnel before returning to Abbey Wood station on a Sunday night. The latest development has been described a “major milestone moment” and is a welcome image for those responsible for ensuring Crossrail opens as planned later this year. The testing is the first of hundreds that will take place between now and December on the line which will serve 41 stations and stretch across more than 60 miles from Reading and Heathrow in the west through tunnels in central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. –

Deeper pocket Developer Pocket Living has secured planning permission from the London Borough of Croydon for a 21-storey project (See BELOW])near East Croydon station. The developer specialises in providing what it describes as "compact" flats to local first-time buyers. The mayor’s office has confirmed that he will not intervene in the application. The approved scheme comprises 153 flats, of which 112 (73 per cent) would be available to local first-time buyers at a 20 per cent discount below market rates. Pocket Living has also agreed in principle to make the remaining homes available for shared ownership. – Planning


Planning in London

ABOVE: The light at the end of the tunnel... is a train coming the other way. In this case testing Crossrail

Economic contribution of London’s architects revealed London’s architecture sector had 4,515 workplaces (in 2017) and contained approximately 26,200 jobs (in 2016). Around half of these jobholders were female and one-third had a non-UK nationality in 2016. In terms of gross value added (constant 2015 prices), London’s architecture sector produced £1.9 billion of output in 2016. That makes it similar in size to London’s Postal and courier activities and Motor trades sectors. The architecture sector has also grown 7.7 per cent per annum on average between 2009 and 2016 which was a faster rate of real growth than the London average. The architecture and engineering sector – the lowest level of disaggregation possible – had a lower proportion of jobholders who identified as black, Asian or any other minority ethnic (BAME) than the London all-sector average in the 2014 to 2016 period. GLA Working Paper 93 updates previous analysis looking at the economic contribution of London’s architecture sector. – GLA Economics.

423,000 homes with planning permission waiting to be built Research carried out by construction analysts Glenigan on behalf of the LGA shows the backlog of unbuilt homes has surged 16 per cent in the last year. There were 365,146 undeveloped permissioned units across England and Wales in 2015/16, rising to 423,544 in 2016/17. Developers are also taking longer to build homes, with the average gap between planning approval and completion now 40 months – eight months longer than in 2013/14.

S.106 obligations and CIL A new Government study looks at the use of developer contributions in England 2016 to 2017, updating evidence from previous studies. The qualitative aspects of this study point to delay being best understood as an outcome of a discretionary planning system where developer contributions are intimately bound up with sitespecific context, mitigation and development viability. – Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government SEE ■

London Build is the leading construction and design show to take place in London. 23rd & 24th October at Olympia London, National Hall London Build 2018 will feature the London Design Exhibition, attracting thousands of architects, interior designers, specifiers, architectural technologists and suppliers from across the UK to network, do business and learn of the latest technology, products and innovation. The London Design Summit, featuring a high-level, two-day conference, will discuss the latest developments, trends and project opportunities across the UK’s design and construction industries. With over 20 hours of CPD presentations, interactive panel discussions and training workshops with leading architects, interior designers, contractors, planners and developers, this is a must attend meeting in the calendar for 2018. Does your practice have what is takes to win the Architectural Design of the Year Award? Check out details on how to enter your practice into the London Construction Awards (23rd October). Its free to enter – If you are interested in showcasing your projects, products or services at the show, please get in touch with the organisers today for further information – Selena Moseley, Event Director at Visitors tickets are free, so be sure to register your team to attend in October Get involved today!


Issue 105 April–June 2018



Help Shape the Future of London ! !

If you want to help promote the debate on the capital’s future, join the London Society. As a member you get priority booking and discounted rates for our walks, talks, debates and lectures. You will see inside important buildings (some not generally open to the public) on our tours. There will be opportunities to attend social events held in some of London’s most interesting locations. And if you join now we'll send you a FREE copy of the London Society Journal (worth £7.50) and you can get a free ticket to hear Sir Terry Farrell give this year's Banister Fletcher lecture in November. To join – and get your free Journal – visit

¡ PILLO! A host of golden daffodils – not Just received from the LPA in respect of a caravan park where we obtained permission for some additional pitches: “Whilst on site it was noted that the topsoil to the front of the landraising is now growing daffodils. You have stated that the topsoil came from the site, yet I could not see daffodils sprouting in other areas. As these are not natural to the adjacent woodland or the site I would ask that all the daffodils are removed from this area.” – Michael Hyde MRTPI., ICN Network ABOVE: Nine Elms seen from Vauxhall Bridge

US Embassy deal Commenting on the new Nine Elms embassy, the FT described the former Grosvenor Square site as being the deal of the last century. The US paid only a peppercorn rent to the Duke of Westminster, a price Mr Trump would respect. When the US offered to buy the site outright, the Duke’s trustee attached one condition: he asked for the return of ancestral lands confiscated at the end of the war of independence. When the ambassador asked what the property included, the answer was ‘all of Miami’.

Pedestrianise Soho and the City says Patrik Schumacher Swathes of central London should become carfree zones, Zaha Hadid Architects principal Patrik Schumacher has told Mayor of London Sadiq Khan The practice has been exhibiting its Walkable London proposals at New London Architecture at the Building Centre. A map produced by Zaha Hadid Architects imagines four main areas of the capital eventually being pedestrianised, roughly covering Soho, the City of London, the South Bank and Clerkenwell. Before this, a grid of major car-free streets would be created across the heart of the capital. Schumacher claims the proposals are viable and said he had formally put them to the mayor’s office: ’The final vision may seem shocking and “out there” but we would start with two lines [routes], bring them in just on weekends at first, so it becomes a tangible proposition and it just needs

someone to champion it. Not me, someone in the political domain. I have put it forward as a consultation response to the mayor’s draft transport strategy.’ Speaking at a Future Cities Forum presentation on Walkable London, Schumacher added that people could be encouraged to walk to Tube stations within these zones. ‘As a benchmark we can use airports,’ he said. ‘We just designed a Beijing airport with a large terminal without trains. The rule of thumb is you can walk 650m.’ Some bus routes should be handed over to walkers, he added. – AJ report

Secure from Hackney foxes The law doesn’t classify foxes as pests. Councils shrug or, like Hackney, advise garden owners to “install a secure barrier” two metres high with an overhang and buried to 45 cm. And this goes handin-hand with advice to keep a gap in your fence for the benefit endangered hedgehogs. – The Times ■ RIGHT: Catalan pavement art; protesting about imprisoned politicians

Issue 105 April–June 2018



Planning in an Age of Uncertainty Minutes of the Joint annual conference hosted at Dentons by Cambridge University Land Society, National Planning Forum, London Planning and Development Forum and Association of Consultant Architects on Tuesday 20th March 2018. Full minute at > LP&DF The rich diversity of hosts attracted an equally wide range of experienced speakers and a lively collected audience of some 80 associated built environment professionals. Brian Waters welcomed everyone and explained that CULS now has just over 1,000 members. The keynote address “Building a Britain Fit for the Future” was given by Steve Quartermain MHCLG Chief Planner. It centred on recent major publications and consultations issued in early March 2018: • Draft National Planning Policy Framework • Explanatory consultation paper, including further policy questions • Reforms to developer contributions • Rules for the Housing Delivery Test • Draft guidance on viability – other guidance over coming days • Formal Government responses to: • Housing White Paper Fixing our broken housing market • Local housing need consultation Planning for the right homes in the right places • Research on developer contributions • Available These are the key elements in a raft of new Department initiatives which range widely to include the draft of the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), a requirement for review of Local Development Documents every five years, coming into force on 6 April, Requirement to update content of Statements of Community Involvement (commencement regulations made in January), Updates to neighbourhood planning processes, (in force on 31 January), Neighbourhood Planning Support Programme 2018-22, Planning Delivery Fund, Housing Delivery Test, Enhancing the Community Infrastructure Levy, and Local Plan Interventions. • NPPF Consultation Proposals March 2018 and draft text (which in particular he urged everyone to read) • Draft Viability Guidance


Planning in London

• Housing Delivery Test Measurement Rule Book SQ summarised the NPPF consultation proposals and highlighted specifics as follows: Chapters 2-4: Sustainable development, planmaking, decision-taking • Presumption in favour of sustainable development (with economic, social and natural, built and historic environmental objectives) • Appropriate plans for appropriate places: revised in light of NPA 2017 • Plans to reflect local industrial strategies and deliver “net gains” for environment • Decision-taking largely unchanged • Introduces statement of common ground • New soundness test as proposed in White Paper


Tuesday 20th March at Dentons, 1 Fleet Place EC4M 7WS 1.30 FOR 2.00pm followed by drinks

Planning in an age of uncertainty 2.00pm Welcome/introductions Brian Waters 2.10 2.25


Making places for people Moderator: Lee Mallett • At Old Oak Common and Park Royal Development Corporation Victoria Hills (CEO) • By building up Riette Oosterhuizen (HTA) • By supporting housing development across England Lindsey Richards (Head of Planning, Enabling and Design @ Homes England) • By looking after the elderly Guy Flintoft (Pegasus Life) Panel discussion and Q&A with Amit Malhotra (Telford Homes)



4.20 4.35

Updating the law and policy Roy Pinnock (Partner: Dentons) Q and A


Reforming planning Moderator: Andrew Taylor (NPF) • Strategic Planning – the Governmentʼs direction of travel Catriona Riddell (Catriona Riddell Associates) • How might we pay for it? Robert Smith (Head of Strategic Land, Carter Jonas) • Housing for Britain Dan Lewis (Institute of Directors) Q&A


5.30 5.45

Chapter 5: Delivering a sufficient supply of homes • Standard method of assessing local housing need • Housing Delivery Test as proposed at Budget 2017 • 5 year land supply can be agreed on annual basis • 20 per cent small sites – but welcome views in consultation • 10 per cent sites for affordable home ownership • Plan policies should cover needs of particular groups Chapter 11: Making efficient use of land • Support use of brownfield, airspace, public sector land • Expect unused retail/ industrial used for housing in areas of high demand • Density: optimise land use, minimum density standards, tested in plans • Refuse applications which fail to make optimum use of land • Regular reviews of allocated land • Density and form to reflect character of an area Chapters 13-15: Environment & Green Belt • Exceptions test for Green Belt release • Clarify exception test policy for flood risk areas

Keynote: The Governmentʼs agenda for planning Steve Quartermain (MHCLG Chief Planner) Q&A

Media partner

Living with uncertainty? Paul Finch (editorial director: Architects' Journal & Architectural Review)

6.00pm Networking reception sponsored by Dentons !

Host: Roy Pinnock.

Brian Waters, Chairman: CULS APEC Forum and LP&DF, president ACA Moderators: Mike Hayes, Secretary National Planning Forum, Andrew Taylor, chairman NPF and Lee Mallett, Planning in London and London Evening Standard

BOOK AT: or call 01638 507843

• Greater protection for ancient woodland • “Net gain” • Any Green Belt removal should be offset by improvements in quality/ access • Brownfield land in Green Belt can be acceptable development Other changes • New chapter on design (He elaborated that there is to be a conference on this in April to stress good quality placemaking) • Transport to be considered from earliest stages of plan-making • Clear expectation on planning for public safety • Prioritise full fibre connections to new & existing development • Transitional arrangements – NPPF will apply immediately… • …but 6 months to submit plan under existing NPPF Consultation closes 10 May • Publish final NPPF in summer before the recess >>>


• Respond to: ional-Planning-Policy-Framework-and-developercontribution-consultations SQ stressed that strategic policies should include an overall strategy for the pattern and scale of development proposed rather than the most appropriate strategy. Asked by BW how much longer the revised NPPF will be SQ said it was three per cent shorter. Michael Bach asked why the test for objectively assessed need for town centre uses should be tougher than for housing which SQ said was not the right focus for the present discussion. Peter Eversden drew attention to different opinions between MHCLG and GLA over assessments of figures of housing need in London which SQ said would need to be the subject of further discussions with the Mayor. SQ also added that whatever figure is decided upon will be a minimum not a maximum. Catriona Riddell stressed that the most appropriate development strategy should be infrastructure led and was concerned that most planmaking had lost the ability to develop an adequate long term strategy. West Oxford for example has a scheme needing £100,000 in three years. SQ said that MHCLG would be writing to all Councils this week regarding housing need, particularly where plans are considered sound but need immediate review and stiffening. Paul Finch noted that good design justifies a separate section in the draft NPPF (12. Achieving well-designed places). Drummond Robson suggested that the status of Quality Masterplans in planmaking is worthy of fuller consideration given the far greater control of formal applications which should have good masterplans as their context. (See also Creating Quality article in this PiL) SQ said that this was to be the subject of a conference in April. The chairman thanked Steve Quartermain and invited Lee Mallet to introduce a panel for the theme Making places for people. The panel and topics included • At Old Oak Common and Park Royal Development Corporation Victoria Hills (CEO) • Building up Riette Oosthuizen (HTA) • Supporting housing development across England Lindsey Richards (Head of Planning, Enabling and Design at Homes England) • Looking after the elderly Guy Flintoft (Pegasus Life) • And a Panel discussion and Q&A with Amit Malhotra (Telford Homes) Lee said that there is a need for a narrative in this period of uncertainty and lack of confidence because planning has not been delivering to realise

" "


#$#%"&'("&)*"+,),-./".01/23"4+#5"67.227)-'")/(",81"971),":12,17/";)-/'-/1" " " " " " )-'"'-/12"" " For further Old Oak Common images " see pages 43 and 44 " """ the housing numbers needed. for Londoners, a resilient economy, timely and Old Oak Common Development Corporation. As its Chief Executive Victoria Hills demonstrated the plans to integrate transport connections at Old Oak Common in what she described as a superhub station comprising HS2, The Elizabeth Line and Network Rail coming together where these meet London. It is to be the largest subsurface station in the UK. She summarised the content of the Old Oak Common DC 2016-2019 strategic plan. tegic_plan_2016-2019.pdf She also explained that she was to take up the post of Chief Executive at RTPI from April 16th replacing Trudi Elliott.

Victoria Hills spoke too of the three distinct areas of the development corporation area, and the laudable aims of balancing priorities between homes

viable delivery, the quality of place and being an exemplar in infrastructure Also benefitting from the station allows diversity through a mix of densities in this less than wealthy area. 800 homes are planned by Fairview to be realised in 20-30 years, designed by Allies and Morrison. Riette Oosthuizen. Building Up: the second of the themes of making places for people was provided by planning partner at HTA. She considered “building up”. (SEE images on later pages). Asking why we would want to build up RO explained that • Currently, only 2 per cent of new homes per year in London come about as a result of an element of ‘upward extension’ • Challenging housing need • Lack of delivery >>>

Issue 105 April–June 2018





Also there is now a more permissive policy regime. The potential is felt to be substantial. Press quoting politicians claim that if town halls in the capital added extra levels to all their suitable buildings about 140,000 new homes could be built.’ Estate agents say roof extension can boost property value by 20 per cent and claim there is space for 500,000 extra rooms. Research by Landmark Lofts claims that 130m sq ft of extra living space also exists in the capital’s unconverted lofts, the equivalent of 130,000 new homes. A study by consultancy group WSP and engineering services business Parsons Brinckerhoff said that the “airspace” above London’s prisons, schools and libraries has the capacity for 630,000 new homes. A number of architects have considered generic forms of building up on existing property. Local authority encouragement comes from for example Camden Restricted by financial limitations on housing growth GLA have assessed the Greater London figures as Asking who Have been building up HTA finds that it is residents, local authorities and housing enabling developers. This results in a diversity of styles from local authority to resident driven in established and new housing schemes both for rent and sale The consultation draft of the NPPF is also supporting this approach. Paragraph 18: “d) promote and support the development of under-utilised land and buildings, especially if this would help to meet identified needs for housing where land supply is constrained and available sites could be used more effectively (for example converting space above shops, and building on or above service yards, car parks, lock-ups and railway infrastructure); and e) support opportunities to use the airspace above existing residential and commercial premises for new homes. In particular, they should allow upward extensions where the development would be consistent with the prevailing height and form of neighbouring properties and the overall street scene, is well-designed (including complying with any local design policies and standards), and can maintain safe access and egress for occupiers” Important planning considerations include: • Conservation Areas & Listed Buildings • Design Standards • Public Transport Accessibility • Car Parking • Supportive Spatial Planning Policy Designations Other Restrictive Spatial Planning Policy Designations • Existing Uses


Planning in London


43+"4-5"6&+-7" " • Space Standards • Private Open Space Requirements • Sustainability • Section 106 & Community Infrastructure Levy Key technical issues are: • Structural considerations • Access, height and fire safety • Services infrastructure • Sound • Access for maintenance purposes • Renewable energy and green roofs • Construction Method • Legal Considerations Government policy considered that this fits with “Delivery of much needed new homes supply to meet London’s housing needs: • Enhancing asset value and use of existing prop-

erties • Creation of new funding stream to assist affordable housing delivery • Innovative – use of offsite homes manufacture to speed delivery and reduce occupants’ disruption • Green – potential opportunity for use of renewable energies to reduce energy consumption” “It also means better use of space, so in our big cities for example how we can make better use of air space, better density.” (Source: Twitter) “The density of London is less than half that of Paris. We don’t want London to end up like Hong Kong . . . but it will be quite surprising how easy we want to make it for people who want to build upwards.” (Source: FT) DR was concerned that the difficulty of relating

pil105 APRIL18.qxp_pil pp15-18 12/04/2018 18:28 Page 45

this growth, particularly in Outer London to highway capacity though acknowledged in CIL and s106 contributions will not end up there. Sir Colin Buchanan made the point that London’s suburban growth may add a finer grain of highways but not help effective capacity – i.e. traffic will be increasingly congested: more Delhi than Paris. West London new roads built 1905-1935 in black on the left and 1905-67 showing additions in grey. The grey is almost entirely in minor roads to create London’s suburbs from fields for the motor car in just 62 years, unlike the pattern of central and inner London which evolved over centuries and almost entirely predates the car. This incredibly intricate network lends itself " neither to significant change because of its frag" mented pattern of land ownership, nor to mass transport solutions, since its purpose is to link indi#$%&'($)"*$++,",-'./"&''"'0"&1/"&1(//"2$,&$3%&")(/),"'0"&1/"2/4/+'-5/3&"%'(-'()&$'3")(/)6")32"&1/" vidual homes to the whole network, not to specific +)72)8+/")$5,"'0"8)+)3%$39"-($'($&$/,"8/&://3"1'5/,"0'(";'32'3/(,6")"(/,$+$/3&"/%'3'5<6"&$5/+<")32" nodes or corridors. It is unrealistic to assume this 4$)8+/"2/+$4/(<6"&1/"=7)+$&<"'0"-+)%/")32"8/$39")3"/>/5-+)("$3"$30(),&(7%&7(/" pattern can be altered except at the margins. Any significant brownfield gains from other uses such as disused hospital and manufacturing sites have now largely been developed. Further densification is optimistic unless suburban house and garden character is largely ignored. It would be more prudent to plan for what exists rather than a hoped for utopian dream to achieve universal public transport, however desirable. Building up will accentuate this design problem, forcing more radical rail investment on associated heavy rail corridors, as Riette suggests in suburban intensification zones. Lee Mallett then introduced Lindsey Richards, Head of Planning Enabling and Design at Homes England whose role is to “bring together land, money, expertise, and planning and compulsory " purchase powers, with a clear remit to facilitate ?+,'"8/3/0$&&$39"0('5"&1/",&)&$'3")++':,"2$4/(,$&<"&1('791")"5$>"'0"2/3,$&$/,"$3"&1$,"+/,,"&1)3":/)+&1<" delivery of sufficient new homes, where they are most needed, to deliver a sustained improvement )(/)@"ABB"1'5/,")(/"-+)33/2"8<"C)$(4$/:"&'"8/"(/)+$,/2"$3"DBEFB"</)(,6"2/,$93/2"8<"?++$/,")32" in affordability. G'(($,'3@" Alconbury in Cambridgeshire, a former airfield which will bring 5,000 new homes. Lindsey Richards explained that Homes England’s investment in supply and interventions in the market will help deliver 300,000 homes a year by the middle of the next decade. Quoting Sajid Javid she said “This government is determined to build the homes our country needs and help more people get on the housing ladder. Homes England will be at the heart of leading this effort.” She outlined three ways in which Homes ! England will act differently from its predecessor $%&'()*+,#-(#./0)+-12345-+36#/#7'+03+#/-+7-3%1# (the Homes and Communities Agency) 85-&5#8-%%#)+-(2#96:::#(38#5'034;# • Speed: We will act differently from our prede#-(<34=03(=#-(#4*>>%,#/(1#-(=3+<3(=-'(4#-(#=53# cessor to accelerate the supply of new homes >>> 0/+?3=#8-%%#53%>#13%-<3+#@::6:::#5'034#/#,3/+#),#=53#0-11%3#'7#=53#(3A=#13&/13;#

B '=-(2#C/D-1#E/<-1#453#4/-1##

Issue 105 April–June 2018


pil105 APRIL18.qxp_pil pp15-18 12/04/2018 18:27 Page 46


and address affordability issues. • Resources: We will use our land, finance and expertise to expand the delivery of affordable new homes and connect ambitious partners to remove barriers to house building • Quality: We will take the lead in delivering better quality homes and great places that set the bar high for others. Aims include increasing the number of people building homes, particularly SMEs and companies using Modern Methods of Construction. New investment through loans, grants and help to buy facilities to provide are available. For example Homes England has completed the purchase of 60 hectares of land in the area earmarked by Shepway District Council for Otterpool Park, a garden town for the future. Planning will be conducted more assertively but not aggressively. For example in Chalgrove a scheme was taken to appeal successfully in the name of Homes England. In Placemaking Homes England will promote high quality design and encourage new places flexibly for example in the Oxford Cambridge Arc. The focus is on outcomes not programmes. Peter Eversden confirmed that HE’s remit is for developments outside London. Guy Flintoft (now formerly) of Pegasus Life spoke of his experience in the last 4½ years on Retirement and Care Homes for the Elderly. He said that the elderly home owners prefer to stay put. Adequate housing in the right place means adaptation rather than replacement. Pegasus Life is developing over 25 sites across the UK. Spanning a variety of locations from coastal and market towns to city centres, all of our sites are close to shops, services and supermarkets, and have easy access to local transport. As a backdrop accompaniment to his talk Guy Flintoft showed a wide diversity of schemes in size scale and context ranging from Chapter House Lichfield, The Vincent Bristol, Hamsptead Green Place, The Knowle Sidmouth, to Brassington Avenue, Sutton Coldfield, Woodlands Canford Cliffs, Carriages Purley, Shell Cove House Dawlish, Wildernesse House Severnoaks,Chimes Westminster, Portsmouth Road Cobham, Marine View Portishead, Moors Nook Woking, Hortsley Seaford, Park House Harpenden, Eskdale Terrace Jesmond, Clarence Gardens Cheltenham, Tunbridge Wells, Chapelwood Wilmslow, One Bayshill Road Cheltenham, The Fitroy Falmouth, Steepleton Tetbury, Guildford and Bath.

!"#$%#&'()*(+#,--,(./0-1"#2,&#"$%&"'&()*+"),"-%&"-%&.&'"),"./01*2"34/(&'",)5"3&)34&"6/'"35)71+&+" 89:";4/**1*2";/5-*&5"/-"<$=#"">%&"()*'1+&5&+" 8?14+1*2"?3 #""



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Amit Malhotra of Telford Homes contributed to the panel discussion. He said that the were contributing a variety of developments of 150=900 units in London in the form of apartments, schools



Planning in London

etc – aimed at the London market. The principles involve 35 per cent affordable housing. One implication of affordable housing was the huge amounts of affordable housing which is the product of temporary accounting and the emphasis should be on new homes, not habitable rooms, all with true safety access allowed for. Michael Edwards spoke of the need for certainty in viability assessments and the need for clarity over objectively assessed non-negotiable housing need.

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

Roy Pinnock (Partner: Dentons: Hosts for the afternoon)


#" The West of England Joint Spatial Plan

Updating the law and policy Roy Pinnock Asked what was being reinvented – separating as he put it the Love from the Hate. The Housing White Paper came before the general election and so the NPPF revisions are tempered and toned down by it and substitutes being made. There have been significant changes in the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 aimed at making popular schemes easier. Green belt attitudes he saw as negative, and steps to create joint planning such as in Saint Albans, and York growing. Regional planning is now “off the naughty step”. The Cambridge to Oxford axis is gaining ground. Locally led new towns are also being given greater encouragement. The 5 year land supply is not being sorted out by the legal system but by planning policy. For example in Suffolk Coastal the local plan is what is needed to be adopted to give it legitimacy in terms of weight. CIL is to be reformed by tweaking not disposal. Viability assessments need transparency. There is a need to “drain the Objectively assessed need swamp”. The principle is inherently flawed if jobs growth is excluded. Catriona Riddell set out what she described as The Wilderness Years which was summed up in a chilling cartoon Or more tangibly as •Reluctance of local politicians to make difficult decisions ‘in the interests of the greater good’ -no protection provided by the ‘blame game’ •NPPF’s objectively assessed housing needs significantly increases housing targets over RSS, particularly in areas of constraint •Local planning becomes ‘planning by numbers’ with vision & strategy component downgraded. •The Duty to Cooperate unable to deliver effective strategic planning, particularly around the main cities where devolution fails •LPEG points to failures in strategic planning as key blockage on local plan progress and housing delivery In the year from 2017 the strategic wheel has >>>

Issue 105 April–June 2018



>>> been reinvented. CR summarised the key actions: more teeth to the duty to co-operate, joint local plans encouraged, (and the right homes in the right places initiative) a £5bn housing infrastructure fund, SoS intervention in local plans, endorsement for Cam-MK-Ox Corridor; Thames Estuary 2050 Commission; new ‘strategic infrastructure tariff’ to be introduced; 5 new towns in SE proposed, the planning delivery fund launched and draft NPPF issued. Strategic Planning in 2918 is different too. More effective strategic planning emerging by stealth rather than design, mainly due to failures of DtC, the opportunities offered by a bigger spatial. •Devolution largely failed across southern England but highlighted merits of better collaborationon strategic planning & infrastructure delivery •Recognition that planning at ‘city region’ scale essential with strategic development strategies being prepared by most Mayoral Combined Authorities –only major city without planning at city-region scale is London! •Changing long term spatial strategies emerging as a result of government encouragement for new communities (Garden Towns) and strategic infrastructure led growth solutions strategic planning 2018 •Government push for infrastructure led ‘growth deals’ (e.g. Oxfordshire) to boost housing supply and incentivise joint plans •Still some joint core strategies/aligned strategies but increasing number of new style joint strategic plans now being prepared –West of England, Oxfordshire, Greater Exeter, South Essex & South West Herts -Government’s model of preference •Increasing number of non-statutory strategic planning and infrastructure frameworksbeing prepared •Still reluctance in some areas to work across local authority boundaries but joint planning may happen anyway as a result of increasing pressures on local government finance & restructuring •Re-emergence of more effective strategic planning exposed significant gaps exposed in strategic planning skills and capacity CR highlighted the West of England Joint Spatial Plan with its simplistic and clear form – a remarkable contrast to London’s, for example. •4 LPAs (Bristol, South Gloucestershire, BANES, North Somerset) working within ‘voluntary’ governance arrangements to deliver statutory joint plan; final decision-making remains with individual LAs •Strategic focus & planning scope –only 7 poli-


Planning in London



This is what building up can look like

cies, key diagram with no site allocations, general extent of Green Belt set •Supported by more detailed DPDs prepared in parallel (but one stage behind) •Joint LTP prepared alongside JSP •‘Housing deal’ now being negotiated with Government •Will be first to be tested at Examination (due to be submitted to PINs this month) Another regional plan is the South Essex Joint

Strategic Plan •Long term growth area covering Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Rochford, Southend and Thurrock •Significant LP challenges across the area culminating in Castle Point DtCfailure (Feb 2017) and 3 out of 6 LPAs subject to potential LP intervention •Recognition by Leaders that LAs needed to be in control of own destiny, maximise investment opportunities and influence wider priorities (e.g.


Robert Smith suggested that this is the era of the strategic land market. House builders are the delivery vehicle, where the challenge is delivery through changing policies. MoD, HE and others are releasing land and landowners are increasingly developing land through a joint venture approach. Landowners outside London are increasingly equity stakeholders. There is a healthy return on existing use values now normally employed by the financier. It is becoming a more later but not now culture where the existing use value has to be acceptable for the likes of Grosvenor and Cala to become involved with the aim of creating real communities.

Dan Lewis (Institute of Directors) gave a long view of Housing in Britain. "


The cost of housing is a business issue - 1 For IoD members because many experienced employees are not joining or leaving their organisation because of the cost of nearby housing or the prospect of too long a commute. The cost of housing is a business issue - 2 Because higher wages, labour mobility, skills shortages = higher costs for goods and services. And a cost to government: £24 billion annual housing benefit.


London’s growth, Thames Estuary Commission). •Move away from numbers game to focus on ‘place’ recognising importance of promoting their ambition for growth •South Essex 2050 visioning process Led by Leaders resulted in new shared leadership structure in early 2018 -Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA) •JSP being prepared on accelerated timetable alongside long term strategic infrastructure priorities and local industrial strategy. In the case of London it was assessed as follows: •London Plan aims to consume own smoke -is this realistic? Shared risks of failure need to be managed with neighbouring authorities •No DTC solution in areas adjoining London within M25 i.e. everyone in same boat with Green

Belt constraints and significant pressures on infrastructure •MGB still has important planning role and increasing green infrastructure role to play-as acknowledged by Mayor. •But long term city-region wide solution is needed if integrity of MGB to be maintained. This is beginning to emerge but needs city-region wide co-ordination and more effective joint working Last but not least.... •1m new homes in O-MK-C Corridor •5 large new towns in the South East (Government to indicate where) •Thames Estuary 2050 Commission looking at long term growth options •Longer term opportunities offered by Crossrail 2

What to do now – next 5 years: • Increase churn – stamp duty, CGT, incentivise downsizing • Copper switch-off date • Fibre optic cable to all 30 million Premises • Easier to change regional disadvantage into incentive – EU State Aid Rules. Expecting 7-8 million more people. Medium term to 2041 1 Must grade green belt – yes building but environmental gain as agriculture changes reducing land requirements 2 Will need new towns 3 Fully immersive virtual reality, able to switch between any location will be viable 4 Maglev/Hyperloop through tunnels between cities turning them into metro stops. Business as usual not acceptable • GDP Impairment cost perhaps 30% - opportunity cost • increasing supply – churn first • with more building, lower taxes and regulations is the way ahead to reduce costs to UK businesses.

Robert Smith, partner in Carter Jonas. How Might we pay for it?


Issue 105 April–June 2018


Paul Finch provided his usual entertaining ‘wind-up’. Paul Finch contrasted with today the approach to creating new housing after the devastation (in particular) of London in World War II when planners sought to deliver the right homes in the right places by creating new and expanded towns based on a sensible regional structure for the south east. Today the approach seems to be to try to double the numbers of new homes without working out how it would happen or how it will be delivered, as in the Wilson and McMillan eras. The new housing supply is not now a collaboration between public and private sectors to provide and neither Councils nor new towns to be responsible for. Transport for London seem to have worked out how to connect people and homes more readily than planners. Drinks, courtesy of Dentons, and networking followed. ■

The next meeting of the London Planning & Development Forum will be on Monday 4th June at London Councils 2.30pm 59½ Southwark Street London SE1 OAL Our host is Serena Perry Please advise the Hon Secretary at


Planning in London

2018 Thurs 17th May 2018 | Gowling WLG, Central London A complete guide to successful land acquisition that is on time, on budget and low risk

Encouraging the planning and delivery of regeneration and

development schemes • Updates to and establishing project viability • • The use of to de-risk the process • The importance of for reducing costs and delays in regeneration and development schemes • How and accelerate the compensation process – a critical analysis • How to prepare for a

@WFplanning #CPdev18 T: 0207 067 1597 E: W:


The Old Oak and Park Royal challenge Liz Peace explains the challenges of London’s largest Opportunity Area and potentially the UK’s biggest regeneration/d evelopment project

Liz Peace chairs the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation


Planning in London

During my 13 years at the British Property Federation I devoted a lot of time to talking about and promoting the concept of ‘regeneration’. Much of the debate hinged on what was actually meant by the term and indeed I came to be firmly of the view that it was not a descriptor that could or should be applied to fairly bog-standard redevelopment that would almost certainly have happened as a result of normal market forces. In my book, regeneration is definitely about those projects that require a degree of public sector intervention in order to overcome challenges that the market simply will not take on. This definition can be applied in spades to one of the most exciting genuine regeneration opportunities around at the moment, namely Old Oak and Park Royal, which is managed through a Mayoral Development Corporation of which I was invited to become Chairman back in Spring 2017. So from talking about the theory, I found myself catapulted into the centre of a real project with a vast number of meaty, some would say almost insoluble, challenges. Old Oak and Park Royal occupies some 650 hectares of west London – an area roughly the twice the size of New York’s Central Park. It is an intriguing mixture of industrial brownfield land, crisscrossed by railway lines, a traditional trading estate (that’s the Park Royal bit) and an area of common land roughly the size of Hyde Park known as Wormwood Scrubs. There are also some small but significant residential communities around the periphery, and a very large stretch of the Grand Union Canal running through the middle. What gives this site such regeneration potential is the plan to locate at the southern end of it one of London’s two HS2 stations – the last stop before the new trains rush on into Euston. This is also where HS2 meets Crossrail – and for good measure we also have the West Coast mainline to the north, the Great West Main line to the south, two tube lines and three different branches of the London Overground. In fact, it must be one of the best-connected – but currently and ironically least accessible - sites in the country. But it does offer the opportunity to build a new community the size of Woking, with potential for some 25,500 homes and 65,000 jobs, and for that community to be planned and designed as a truly sustainable, modern suburb fit for the 21st century with a low carbon footprint, excellent facilities and a wholly innovative approach to modern living. The new homes will contribute significantly to meeting London’s housing needs. That said, this ambitious target will require some high densities of development and our challenge is to ensure that the project delivers these densities whilst creating a place where people want to live, work, raise their families and visit. The development needs to preserve and build on the history and heritage of the area and be inclusive

to meet the needs of people from a variety of backgrounds and incomes. As set-out in the framework of our Local Plan – which has just finished its second round of consultation- we aim to: • Deliver Lifetime Neighbourhoods in high densities, with affordable homes, family housing and a range of other housing types; • Ensure the continued success and growth of Park Royal, as well as delivering a new commercial quarter in Old Oak, providing new employment opportunities across a range of sectors and skills levels, including apprenticeship opportunities during construction; • Ensure that development delivers high design quality, with excellent architecture, public realm and internal space standards; and • Deliver best practice approaches to sustainability, promoting economic sustainability through the creation of a resilient development that can respond to changing needs, social sustainability that improves the health and well-being of people in the area, and environmentally sustainable development that delivers on the ambitions in the Mayor’s new draft London Environment Strategy. The challenges of London’s largest Opportunity Area and potentially the UK’s biggest regeneration/development project are many. Despite the plethora of railway lines, the site is currently difficult to access by road and will need a considerable investment in transport infrastructure – particularly bridges – to ensure access and full permeability. It will also need the full range of utilities, not to mention all the other infrastructure vital for a modern well-served community – schools, community facilities, shops, workplaces, cultural places and green space. And for all that infrastructure, the bill will be enormous and require us to use the full range of means at our disposal – developer contributions, possible borrowing against future business rates, various infrastructure and other funds from central Government and from the GLA family and long-term investment from the private sector in both the UK and internationally. There is also the not insignificant issue of the existing occupiers of the Old Oak section of the site – Network Rail, Transport for London, the world’s biggest independent second-hand car dealership, two significant waste recycling businesses and a whole host of small enterprises that will need to be relocated if we are to maintain the commercial diversity of the area. And of course, we will have a brand new HS2/Crossrail station occupying a large part of the site which will in due course offer considerable development potential over and around the main station structure. There is also the ‘cause celebre’ of the new depot and stabling for the Crossrail trains which was planned and partly built built before the full

potential of the site for a major regeneration project had been appreciated and which sterilises a large portion of the site to the north of the HS2 station. With projects as large and complex as this it is quite easy to be totally overwhelmed and to adopt the typical ‘rabbit in headlights’ stance. Where do you start? How can you get homes built early in the process? Who will fund infrastructure without any immediate economic benefit? Who are going to be the first investors to risk their capital in such a vast enterprise? What do we do about the Crossrail depot? Well the answer, after an initial period of panic, has been to identify and eliminate the ‘noise’, particularly that caused by the issue of the Crossrail depot, to focus on what is deliverable in the next 3 to 5 years, to work out what the minimum infrastructure needed to support those early deliverables might be, and then to come up with a carefully costed ask that we can present to the various potential funding bodies. We are presenting this in the form of a business plan which concentrates on development of the northern part of the Old Oak site in an arc from Old Oak Common Lane through to Scrubs Lane and possibly also including Willesden Junction (see map) which we have called Old Oak North. We already have broad approval from our own board for this approach which will now form the basis for discussion with the Mayor of London and the GLA, with other stakeholders in central Government and ultimately with potential investors. Of course, as a non-executive chairman I cannot claim

responsibility for more than a small portion of this progress. We have an excellent executive team, including experts in infrastructure, commercial development and planning; a master planning team led by AECOM that is helping us identify the possible design solutions to some of the knotty access and infrastructure problems; and commercial and financial advisers who can highlight the optimum financial outcomes for our plans. We have also invested heavily in community engagement to ensure that the residents in and around the Old Oak and Park Royal area have been able to contribute their thinking to our aspirations – a process which is becoming even more important given the opposition that major estate regeneration is provoking in some parts of London. It’s been almost nine months since my appointment and two and a half years since the establishment of the Mayoral Development Corporation. My role has been and continues to be to offer strategic direction, to liaise with our principal stakeholders and find out how we can meet their aspirations, and to lead the board in considering how best we can deliver on what is undoubtedly a tremendous opportunity – but also one with considerable potential problems. Having spent my thirteen years in the British Property Federation talking about regeneration and trying to influence both national and local government policies that support sustainable development of difficult brownfield sites, I consider it a great privilege to be able to lead such a massive regeneration project where I am doing it for real. ■

Issue 105 April–June 2018




Unintended consequences of restrictions on housing Paul Cheshire considers one of the many unintended consequences of restrictive local planning

RIGHT: Green belt land around Heathrow

Paul Cheshire is Professor of Economic Geography at London School of Economics


Planning in London

Planning is very valuable from both an economic and a social viewpoint. Land markets have endemic problems of ‘market failure’ meaning that unregulated they would serve neither the economy nor society well. The value of every parcel of land depends on the uses on all neighbouring plots of land: the spatial extent of these interactions can be very extensive. I will suffer if a lead smelter sets up business next door; and I gain if job prospects in central London improve: even if I live in Taplow or Shenfield. An important reason London is so liveable is its abundance of beautiful green open spaces or areas of accessible natural beauty on its doorstep such as the North Downs. So as a society we benefit from not allowing land owners to build anything, anywhere. We need rules to govern where and how building is allowed and co-ordinate public investment with urban development. Which brings us to our first problem: we do not have rules. We do have building regulations. These are rules. I can read them and if my design conforms to them I can go ahead more or less automatically. Not so with planning: this – in London as in Britain as a whole – is subject to the uncertain and gameable mechanism of ‘development control’: decision by a local political committee subject to lobbying and political expediency. The proposal may conform to the local plan – if there is one – but it is in the constituency of the committee chair: so no luck. Or even worse, a member lives across the road and does not want it.

Other planning systems work according to rules – think the Master Planning system of Denmark or Germany. The result is less uncertainty. The developer reads the (democratically adopted) plan relevant for the plot and asks for what is allowed. Permission is all but automatic. Development everywhere is a risky business: there are costs in the planning and construction process and then an expected flow of revenues from the finished development. More uncertainty increases the development risk so there must be an additional risk premium. This means less development appears to be viable and fewer projects get built. This has the paradoxical effect that the main mechanism for building ‘affordable’ housing – S106 – reduces the number of houses built – fewer projects are viable because of the extra risk imposed by S106 conditions unknowable in advance. This is a particular problem for smaller developers who have less access to planners and to finance. So by injecting risk our attempt to build affordable houses makes all houses less affordable because fewer get built. Successful planning systems inevitably impose local restrictions on building and land use. Otherwise they could not fulfil their basic function of, for example protecting beautiful countryside, sensitive wildlife sites or historic townscapes. But we should distinguish between purely local restriction of development and policies that restrict development in aggregate compared to what is demanded. Our British planning system has an inbuilt restrictive effect

LEFT: London’s green belt

because it injects uncertainty into the development process. But there are more direct ways in which it is restrictive. Perhaps the most obvious is ‘urban growth boundaries’ – in Britain Green Belts – preventing any building over great tracts of land. The total area of Green Belts is more than 1.4 times the extent of all urban development. London’s Green Belt extends from the North Sea to Aylesbury and its containment boundary has been in place since the late 1950s. To this we add height controls: again either directly – for example the Borough of Islington forbids all building of more than 7 floors except in a small enclave fringing the City: or indirectly because of extensive Conservation areas or protected views. No building for example can block the view of St Pauls Cathedral in an 18km view corridor extending to Richmond Park. St Pauls is a magnificent sight but this view – given air pollution and prevailing atmospheric conditions – is available for only a few days a year. Urban conservation is a valuable public good: but one must consider its value relative to its costs and these are never considered. The costs come in the form of higher prices for housing and office space in London and our other cities. Conservation also imposes a burden of additional carbon emissions since insulation in old buildings – Listed or in Conservation Areas – is far worse than in modern buildings. But our planning system imposes yet more restrictions on space and its useful adaptation. The method used to calculate how much land to allocate for housing has an inbuilt and cumulative restrictive effect on supply relative to demand. Planning allocates the supply of a scarce resource – land. Prices are determined by the interplay of supply with demand but we allocate land supply without regard to price. Our planning system allocates land supply for housing only

on projections of local population – the ‘numbers’ component of demand. But population has very little impact on demand for housing, so it has very little impact on its price as this table shows: Population change and real house price growth in the GLA Area: Commentators claim the rise in house prices in London is

because of population growth. It is true London’s population grew quite rapidly in the 30 years to 2011 – by 20.5 percent. Real house prices – that is removing the effects of general inflation – grew ten times more, however, by 227.6 percent. On the other hand London’s population in the previous 30 years shrank by 16.9 percent yet real house prices still grew by 71.9 percent. And over the whole period 1951 to 2011, London’s population hardly changed yet house prices increased by getting on for 500 percent. Broadly house prices in London have doubled in real terms in every decade since we imposed our Green Belt and population growth has had very little to do with it. To an economist this is not surprising. The analysis of markets has been a core interest for more than 200 years; and economists have learned some things. Total demand increases with the size of the market (the total number of people wanting to buy); if tastes shift in favour of the good or service; and as income increases. We also know that the demand for some goods and services is much more sensitive to increasing income >>>

Issue 105 April–June 2018





Planning in London

than is that for others and may be complementary (or a substitute) to the consumption of others. As people get richer one of the things they try to buy more of is ‘housing space’ and ‘space in gardens’. As you get richer you do not want more beds, you want a bedroom each, bigger bedrooms, bathrooms or a separate kitchen and living room. Over the past two generations real incomes have increased threefold. Car ownership has increased 13-fold and – like it or not – the use of cars is complementary to the demand for space: cars owners want garages, off street parking and shops with parking around them. So by far the most important driver of the increasing demand for housing and housing space is the increase in real incomes. This directly increases the demand for housing space but also increases the consumption of goods complementary to housing space. In allocating land use for housing, however, our planning system ignores both these forces altogether. Allocating land for housing only on the basis of projected household numbers is rather like designing planes while ignoring the laws of gravity. As well as blocking urban expansion with Green Belt boundaries, therefore, relative to rising demand we have been systematically undersupplying land for two generations because of the methods used to estimate how much is ‘needed’. Our planning system imposes a general restriction on supply (rather than just protecting particulars areas with high environmental or amenity value) in yet another way. The system says no: local planning committees reject proposals for development. This again reflects the politicised mechanism of decision making we employ. A rejection may reflect local planning policies but very often it does not. That is partly because developers do not tend to apply for projects that flout local planning policies: but also because the reality is that rejections are essentially political and reflect local pressures. Over the whole period since 1989 the average for Local Authorities (LAs) varies very widely from half of proposals refused in several in the South East to only just over 7 percent in Middlesbrough. Researchers at LSE1 have already shown that ‘restrictiveness’ measured in this way (but offsetting for sources of possible error or bias in estimating the effects) directly causes significant difference in house prices – far more significant than land shortages measured by differences in topography or available developable land. The conclusion was that if the average restrictiveness of LAs in the South East had been as low as the average in the North East house prices in the South East would have been at least 25 percent lower. The other two local measures of supply restriction - less developable land or flat, easy to build land – made some difference to local house

prices but their influence was dwarfed by differences in the political restrictiveness of local decision-making. Very recently we have been looking at another effect of restrictiveness also measured as the proportion of applications to which an LA says no: the impact on the proportion of empty homes and the distance workers with local jobs commute. A frequently deployed NIMBY argument is that not so much land needs to be allocated for housing because of the number of vacant houses - the ‘scandal of empty homes’. Again there is a danger of ignoring the laws of gravity because they are inconvenient. However well a housing market is functioning there will be empty houses – people move or die; builders take time to sell or landlords are inefficient or unable to find tenants. It is rather like the labour market: it is desirable if there are fewer people unemployed but because people leave jobs to find better ones or lose their jobs, there are always some unemployed. The relevant questions are how many is enough and why are there empty houses/people looking for work. We know greater restrictiveness increases the price of housing so that will generate an incentive to sell homes or find tenants as soon as possible. This will produce a force reducing housing vacancies – as proponents of restrictiveness might hope. However greater restrictiveness will also make it harder to adjust the characteristics of the housing stock to the changing demand for housing. A local school improves, so demand for family houses in its catchment area increases; people become richer and want more space; families get smaller so the demand for suitable homes increases; or local jobs increase so people want to move to the area. The list is endless but the fact is that demand for housing is always changing both in terms of the type of housing and its attributes and the location of housing. The more difficult it is to adapt the characteristics of the housing stock the more difficult it becomes for people to find the right house they can afford. So they have to search for longer – meaning that housing vacancies will increase; or they have to search further afield – meaning their journey to work becomes longer. We can call this the ‘mismatch’ effect created by greater restrictiveness tending to increase the number of empty homes. So a policy of greater restrictiveness designed to reduce empty homes may have that effect because it makes housing more expensive but, since at the same time it makes it harder to find the ‘right’ house in the local area, it will tend to increase the proportion of empty homes as well as increasing commuting distances. Which of these two forces dominates is an empirical question. More restrictiveness could go either way. Another recent LSE study2 addresses this question. We

LEFT: Green belt land in England

went to great lengths to deal with problems of reverse causation and endogeneity. We had 30 years of data for 350 English local authorities. The analysis shows with substantial reliability that the net effect of more local restrictiveness is not just to increase the proportion of empty homes but to increase it substantially. A one standard deviation increase in local restrictiveness causes the local vacancy rate to increase by nearly a quar-

ter. At the same time it also increases the average distance people have to travel to work. The same increase in local restrictiveness causes a 6.1% rise in commuting distances. So attempting to regulate housing vacancies away by allocating less land or being more restrictive with respect to new building or adaptation of existing houses, in reality increases >>>

Issue 105 April–June 2018



RIGHT: Growth in England and Wales



Planning in London

England and Wales

0.03 - 0.06



0.38 - 0.41


0.07 - 0.08



0.42 - 0.47

-0.41 - -0.37

0.09 - 0.10


0.26 - 0.27

0.48 - 0.54

-0.36 - -0.16

0.11 - 0.12

0.20 - 0.19

0.28 - 0.29

0.55 - 0.62

-0.15 - -0.06


0.20 - 0.21

0.30 - 0.31

0.63 - 0.80

-0.05 - -0.01



0.32 - 0.34

0.81 - 1.01

0.00 - 0.02

0.15 - 0.16


0.35 - 0.37

the proportion of local homes that are empty as well making people who work in the area commute further: the absolute opposite of what advocates of the policy want to achieve. It is the mismatch between the preferences of households and the housing stock on offer that leads, other things equal, to higher vacancy rates in the more restrictive – typically more desirable – places. Such constraints will likely cause a significant welfare loss. This is because too much housing

stays empty in the most regulated, most desirable and, by implication, most productive places with the strongest demand and highest valuations for living space. So people are induced to commute further, while living in the ‘wrong’ places. The policy lesson is that planners should not allocate less land for development on the grounds that there are empty houses; nor should they make it more difficult to build or adapt houses. Rather they should encourage more flexibility

with the number, location and type of houses if they want fewer houses to be empty. There is moreover a nice irony for advocates of the ‘compact city’. In the UK the most common policy to attempt to implement this ideal is to impose Green Belts (make land scarcer). Aiming for a compact city, in other words, makes planning policy more restrictive. Our results show this will have exactly the opposite to the intended effect because average commuting distances will lengthen as residents search further away for housing that they can afford and which more closely matches their preferences. An even more general effect is shown in the map (LEFT). This illustrates for LAs changes in the proportion of the employed local residents commuting to jobs in Inner London between 2001 and 2011. Green and yellow is less and the redder the greater the proportionate increase. Most of London’s Green Belt and much of South East shows small, even negative, growth. The strongest growth was systematically way beyond the Green Belt as far away as South Wales, Somerset, Norfolk, even Yorkshire, as an increasing number of workers with jobs in London leapt across the Green Belt to find cheaper housing space but suffer maybe four hours of commuting a day. These changes are often very small numbers – maybe the number of people went from just two to three: but in proportionate terms it reveals a sad and unintended consequence of the restrictions we impose on space for housing in more prosperous areas of England. ■ C.A.L. Hilber and W. Vermeulen (2016) ‘The Impact of Supply Constraints on House Prices in England’, Economic Journal 126(591): 358-405 2 P.C. Cheshire, C.A. L. Hilber and H. Koster (2018) ‘Empty Homes, Longer Commutes: The Unintended Consequences of More Restrictive Local Planning’, 1

THIS PAGE: This is what green belt can look like

FURTHER READING: Cheshire, Paul and Hilber, Christian A.L. and Koster, Hans R.A. (2018) Empty homes, longer commutes: the unintended consequences of more restrictive local planning. Journal of Public Economic, 158. pp. 126151. ISSN 0047-2727

Issue 105 April–June 2018



Metrotidal Lower Thames Pool – a vision Mark Willingale presents a vision for a carbon neutral infrastructure project in the Thames Estuary

The Metrotidal Lower Thames Pool is a system of integrated infrastructure that provides London’s next generation of flood defences while generating substantial growth across the Lower Thames Estuary into Essex, Kent and Central London. The integrated infrastructure provides economic growth without an associated increase in carbon audit. This greengrowth is achieved through the generation of sustainable, zero-carbon energy for over 200,000 homes with improved rail connectivity, data storage and distribution for over one million households. The Metrotidal Lower Thames Pool integrates the following infrastructure to reduce the planning and construction costs and increase the agglomeration benefits: 1 the next generation of London’s flood defences 2 sustainable, zero-carbon energy generation 3 rail orbitals for the Lower Thames Estuary, Essex and Kent 4 Central London Estuary Express Services via Ebbsfleet and Southend Central 5 efficient data storage and distribution for the Lower Thames Estuary and beyond 6 a new rail freight connection under the Lower Thames Estuary 7 new utility connections across the Lower Thames Estuary 8 ancillary sustainable residential and commercial development General arrangements: the pool, throttle, tunnel and rail orbital The integrated infrastructure consists of an impounded flood-storage pool and tideway throttle on Sea Reach, which

Mark Willingale is director of Willingale Associates


Planning in London

in the event of a storm surge-tide reduces the tidal range upstream by over one meter, thereby providing London and all areas downstream to Sea Reach with sea-flood defences well into the 21st century, while leaving the tideway open for navigation to all existing wharves and docks including the Port of Tilbury and the London Gateway Port. The impounded pool operates during normal tides as a tidal and floating-solar power plant that generates sustainable energy on regular astronomical cycles. The pool and impoundments reduce the cost of a rail tunnel under the Lower Thames Estuary that links the recently upgraded ShenfieldSouthend Victoria Line with a dualled Isle of Grain Line to complete a twin-track rail orbital of the Lower Thames Estuary between the eastern limbs of Crossrail at Shenfield and Gravesend. The new rail orbital services with wayleaves for data storage, distribution and utilities, improve the connectivity between over a million households generating substantial economic agglomeration benefits across the Lower Thames Estuary into Essex and Kent.

1 London’s flood defences The impounded pool and throttle configuration is designed to protect all flood risk areas upstream from a storm surge tide. The current Thames Estuary 2100 (TE100) proposals consider a Long Reach Barrier just upstream from the Dartford Crossing to protect an additional of metropolitan flood risk land than the existing Thames Barrier system. The Metrotidal Lower Thames Pool protects an additional of flood risk land, more than the area of a Long Reach Barrier, while leaving the tideway open for navigation. The substantial reduction in flood risk enables the Government’s Flood Re agreement to be renegotiated to reduce flood-risk insurance premia and release a large area of land for safe redevelopment well into the next century. 2 Sustainable energy generation The tidal mill at Thorrington in Essex was built in 1831 to generate energy from a onehectare pool with a tidal range of less than 2m, applying cast iron, oak and apple-wood waterwheel technology to the ebb tides only. The Metrotidal Lower Thames Pool applies modern

turbine technology to an impounded pool of some 1650 hectares with an average tidal range of 4m to generate energy from ebb and flood tides equivalent to the output of 26,400 Thorringtons. The 1650 hectares of sheltered estuary within the impoundment accommodates 500 hectares of floating solar arrays over existing subtidal areas and up to 1,000 hectares subject to modest dredging of intertidal areas within the pool. The solar energy is generated on a regular daily cycle with an annual output assessed from the precedents set by the Malmaynes Hall Solar Farm on the Hoo Peninsula, only some 4km from the pool, and by the projected annual output of the 360-hectare Cleve Hill Solar Park nearby in North Kent. The natural tidal range is sustained within the pool to maintain the existing shoreline and the floating solar arrays prevent solar-gain from overheating of the impounded pool water. The combined tidal and solar power generation is sufficient to meet the energy demands of the new rail connectivity including the tunnel M+E systems, the data storage and distribution system and the demands of 200,000 homes. With modest dredging of the pool this may be increased to 300,000 homes. 3 Lower Thames and Crossrail orbitals The pool and impoundments reduce the cost of the rail tunnel required to complete an orbital service between Shenfield in Essex and Gravesend in Kent with a connection at Southend Central to the C2C Services and new stations at Allhallows, Kingsnorth, Cliffe and Hoo Junction. This can start as an independent service using the same specification of rolling stock and the same sidings at Hoo Junction as the projected extension of Crossrail from Abbey Wood to Gravesend. In due course the services can be merged to provide a Crossrail Orbital of the Lower Thames Estuary from Central London accompanied by an Essex-Kent Orbital service between Tonbridge and Shenfield formed by extending the Medway Valley Line from Strood through the tunnel to Shenfield. The Essex-Kent Orbital extends agglomeration benefits across the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) region.

4 Central London estuary express services Once the Lower Thames Orbital is merged with Crossrail services and accompanied by an all-stops Essex-Kent Orbital the Crossrail services need only stop at Wickford, Southend Airport, Southend Central and Ebbsfleet to provide a Crossrail Orbital Express for the Lower Thames Estuary. The merging of services to form the Crossrail Orbital Express allows the rail depot and terminus at Southend Victoria to be designated for redevelopment. A connection to HS1 at Ebbsfleet provides a high-speed Javelin service between St. Pancras International and Southend Airport with stops at Stratford, Ebbsfleet and Southend Central providing an overall journey time between West London and Southend Airport of 34 minutes. The combination of the Crossrail Orbital Express, Essex- >>>

Issue 105 April–June 2018



>>> Kent Orbital and Central London Estuary Express services unites the conurbations of Southend in Essex and the Medway Towns in Kent to provide agglomeration benefits across the Lower Thames Estuary into Essex, Kent and Central London over an area with a larger population than Greater Manchester. 5 Data storage and distribution A location beside the pool is ideal for a substantial new, energy-efficient Tier 4 data storage and distribution centre: • the tidal and solar energy generated from the pool along with local wind power from the London Array provides a resilient and diverse stream of local, zero-carbon energy backed up by the National Grid

• the uniformly cool temperatures of sea water pumped from the tidal power plant provide efficient datacentre cooling loads throughout the year • the wayleaves of the new rail connectivity, data storage and distribution centre extend across the Lower Thames Estuary into Essex, Kent and Central London to serve a region with over 2 million residents and associated businesses. 6 Rail freight A new rail chord to the Great Eastern Mainline at Shenfield opens night freight services between the ports at Felixstowe, Harwich and Thamesport on the eastern seaboard of England that bypass congested routes into Central London. The new chord also completes a new link between Chelmsford and Maidstone, the principal towns of Essex, Kent and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP). 7 Utility connections The rail tunnel provides new utility wayleaves between Essex and Kent that improve the management, resilience and distribution of electricity, gas, mains water and telecommunications. 8 Ancillary development The integrated infrastructure of the Metrotidal Lower Thames Pool stimulates and supports sustainable ancillary development for over 200,000 homes and associated businesses across the Lower Thames Estuary into Essex and Kent by providing: • the additional area of land protected from surge-tide flood risk


Planning in London

• the reduced insurance premia for development of this land • the improved connectivity of the rail orbital services • the zero-carbon energy, data storage, distribution and utilities required for the new homes and businesses The new sustainable development is focused around existing and proposed railway stations including the locations of the Stoke Harbour Masterplan by Shelter for accommodating up to

150,000 people on the Hoo Peninsula, the Ebbsfleet Garden City Masterplan, Peters Village on the Medway and other substantial residential development sites. The new rail orbitals also serve significant commercial growth zones at Southend Airport, Southend Victoria, the Isle of Grain, Kingsnorth and Hoo Junction with a combined development area of some ■

Issue 105 April–June 2018



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Creating quality Drummond Robson and Gary Young consider current approaches to new settlements in England, focusing on garden villages, suburbs and towns

OPPOSITE: Patrick Geddes: Cities in Evolution 1915 page 96 RTPI Former logo Ebenezer Howard's 3 Magnets: National Education Network (NEN Gallery)

Drummond Robson is LPDF Secretary and Gary Young a partner at Farrells

Settlements have been evolving for at least 6000 years if not longer, but we seem to have learned very little about making good ones. The present crop is so focused on housing that places for the cultural diversity of contented citizens seem long forgotten. Civilised Quality New Settlements are Places to Live, Work and Enjoy, rather than merely be beautiful places to visit. They must not be the husks of half-forgotten rules and codes but the spirit that embodies them. True and quality placemaking responds to underlying spatial significance e.g. history, topography, environment, connections, convenience and community in order to make a legible and coherent visual strategy, otherwise the simple question of what happened where and what goes where are not adequately answered. Also the necessary ambition for a new settlement is lost. Slogans such as urban sprawl, town cramming and brownfield before green are particularly unhelpful, generate contention or hostility and ignore the true qualities of our physical environment which we should be trying to keep and retain. To work they need to combine a balance of physical, economic and social qualities – matters of judgement rather than regulatory control – art not science to combine (as Patrick Geddes said in 1915) the key components of place, work and folk. New settlements need to respond to their context and evolve, not be imported nor standardised. That means they take time 5-25 years for a new village or town and 40 years for a new city. To be sustainable they need to be connected by sustainable transport, notably rail. Full self-containment is unrealistic in today’s world. To be successful they take time to prepare, build evolve and live in. A particularly promising Result: New type of Settlement: Town and Country United by Sustainable Accessibility (at present rail based) takes from the best of (but doesn’t slavishly replicate) Howard’s three magnets - and Patrick Geddes more even balance of town and country (in Cities in Evolution Williams and Norgate. Henrietta Street, Covent Garden 1915) See complete book in reproduction at It is ironic the Royal Town Planning Institute now focuses on towns and often poorly understood “placemaking” or even the magisterial “mediation of space” - rather than the proper collaboration of both of town and country –albeit fenced in - as it used to. –even enshrining it in its former logo. (The Town and Country Planning Association at least recognises both in a more balanced way as well as offering recent reports and advice on New Towns and Garden Cities. (E.g. Best Practice in Urban Extensions and New Settlements A report on emerging good practice © TCPA. Published March 2007) In a post Brexit world experimentation and innovation in

agriculture can be certain to be result in a changing relationship between town and country, with the absence of CAP subsidies and new innovative practices encouraged by DEFRA such as agriforestry and agricology as well as “opening up the countryside”. >>>

Issue 105 April–June 2018



>>> New tensions between maximising agricultural productivity and the environment will need fundamental reviews of countryside policy and concepts of and realistic management of its protection – notably poorly understood terms which become easy placard food such as green belt –be it inaccessible and unsightly or not.. OPPOSITE: “…both existing cities and the existing countryside had an Linked Settlements but indissoluble mixture of advantages and disadvantages. The Fundamental advantages of the city were the opportunities it offered in the Unquestioning Division between Town and Country format of accessibility to jobs and to urban services of all kinds; the disadvantages could be summed up in the poor resulting Ebenezer Howard Images natural environment. Conversely the countryside offered an derived from Garden Cities excellent environment but virtually no opportunities of any of Tomorrow: sort“. (Urban and Regional Planning – Peter Hall 1974) The first edition’s full title Ebenezer Howard proposed that garden cities of 30,000 was Tomorrow A Peaceful should be linked by (electric) railways passing through the Path to Real Reform in countryside between the settlements, combining into a social October 1898 city of 250,000 with all the amenities of a large city plus easy access to the rural environment necessary for healthy living. BELOW: But when he wrote the UK population was 40M and the interMarket Garden City. A concept by Gary Young for set- war sprawl of towns had not occurred. Today there are no open tracts of land which would accommodate a new city of ¼ miltlements planned with lion without impacting on its neighbours. local food production and Bringing these ideas up to date allows a more genuine and market hubs realistic fusion of town and country: the market garden city Market Hub both © Gary where Howard’s lunatic asylums, abattoirs and epileptic farms Young and Hannah Smart


Planning in London

LEFT: Copyright © Selection and editorial matter: Peter Hall and Kathy Pain on behalf of the POLYNET Partners

become agroforestry, sustainable biodiversity, agroecology and landscape design. To be genuinely sustainable they need to be connected by sustainable transport, notably rail. Self-containment is unrealistic in today’s world. To be effective needs a regional planning structure rather than sporadic political intervention. It should not be forgotten by those with a fetish about using land that a single standard motorway lane is 2.5 times the width of the standard rail gauge and moves people at much lower capacities. The following table makes similar comparisons of both space and speeds of different modes. Many of the above examples move on from the following ideas and the present government programme, included for comparison only:

Government Programme In an expansion of the existing garden towns programme, these smaller projects of between 1,500 and 10,000 homes continue the government’s commitment to support locallyled development and make sure this is a country that works for everyone. The 14 new garden villages announced in 2017 – from Devon to Derbyshire, Cornwall to Cumbria – will have access to a £6 million fund over the next two financial years to support the delivery of these new projects. These developments will be distinct new places with their own community facilities, rather than extensions to existing urban areas. The 14 new garden villages


Issue 105 April–June 2018



RIGHT: What is a garden city and where are garden villages and towns being built and why news/2517967/garden-villages-towns-what-wherewhy/

FAR RIGHT: Poundbury and BELOW: Bicester, Ebbsfleet and Otterpool Garden towns


Planning in London

are: Long Marston in Stratford-on-Avon Oxfordshire Cotswold in West Oxfordshire Deenethorpe in East Northants near Corby (Tresham Garden Village) Culm in Mid Devon Welborne near Fareham in Hampshire West Carclaze in Cornwall Dunton Hills near Brentwood, Essex Spitalgate Heath in South Kesteven, Lincolnshire Halsnead in Knowsley, Merseyside Longcross in Runnymede and Surrey Heath Bailrigg in Lancaster Infinity Garden Village in South Derbyshire and Derby City area St Cuthberts near Carlisle City, Cumbria North Cheshire in Cheshire East The 3 new garden towns are: Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire Taunton, Somerset Harlow & Gilston, Essex and Hertfordshire Central government direction, though based it is said on public support, lacks any regional framework to provide the sustainable virtues of connectivity which could benefit from a

LEFT AND BELOW: Bicester Garden Town extension of 13,000 homes 2014 masterplan © Farrells Otterpool Park Garden Town of 10,000 homes. 2018 masterplan © Farrells & Arcadis

more transparent recognition of the rail network in the interests of economic efficiency but also access to social cohesion and physical diversity and variety of the Howard model.

As reported in The Daily Mail, the Government is backing 17 locations, with a £6 million fund to support the 14 new garden villages and an additional £1.4 million for three new garden

Issue 105 April–June 2018




COLOURED MAP RIGHT BELOW: The actual early evolutionary stages of garden city creation at Letchworth: infrastructure before town centre


Planning in London

towns in Aylesbury, Taunton and Harlow & Gilston. Government announced 3 Garden Towns during 2015- 2016, Bicester in Oxfordshire, Ebbsfleet in Kent, Otterpool Park in Folkestone and Hythe DC, Kent. The idea is that these will produce pleasant, sustainable places to live, backed by the infrastructure that is needed. The development is built to a traditional high-density urban pattern, rather than a suburban one, focused on creating an integrated community of shops, businesses, and private and social housing. There is no zoning. The planners say they are designing the development around people rather than the car, and they aim to provide a high-quality environment, from the architecture to the selection of materials, to the signposts, and the landscaping. To avoid constant construction, utilities are buried in common utility ducts under the town. Common areas are maintained by a management company to which all residents belong. It consists of 30 per cent social housing and is designed for sustainable development, which includes being carbon neutral. And see Gilston Area Concept Framework Consultation See also Deenethorpe Northamptonshire (Tresham Garden Village) Finally it is worth recalling where this all started on the ground– in Letchworth so the lessons of history are not forgotten:


Three year housing land supply Is this decision introducing planning policy by the back door? – ask Dalee Kaur and Rachel Holt

Dalee Kaur above is legal director and Rachel Holt an associate at DLA Piper

Richborough Estates Ltd & 24 Ors v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government [2018] EWHC 33 (Admin) On 12 January 2018, the High Court dismissed a claim brought by a consortium of 25 developers challenging the legality of the Secretary of State's written ministerial statement (the “Statement”) concerning national planning policy on housing and neighbourhood planning, issued 12 December 2016. Paragraph 49 of the NPPF provides that, where a local planning authority is unable to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply of deliverable housing sites, then relevant policies for the supply of housing in the development plan will be deemed outof-date and therefore awarded only limited weight. In 2016, the Court of Appeal interpreted "relevant policies" broadly to include any plan policy whose effect is to influence the supply of housing land. This was subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court in May 2017, who took a narrow interpretation to include only those policies concerned with the numbers and distribution of new housing. Concerned that neighbourhood development plans could be unfairly undermined by the failure of local authorities to provide adequate housing land supply, the Secretary of State carved out an exception within paragraph 49 of the NPPF by issuing the Statement. The Statement provided that relevant policies for the supply of housing in a neighbourhood plan should not be deemed to be "out of date" provided all of the following apply at the time the decision is made: • the Statement is less than 2 years old, or the neighbourhood plan has been part of the development plan for 2 years or less; • the neighbourhood plan allocates sites for housing; and • the local planning authority can demonstrate a three-year supply of deliverable housing sites. The Claimants asserted among other things that the impact of the Statement was effectively to reduce the relevant housing land supply requirement for neighbourhood plan areas from 5 years to 3 years and that this amounted to a change in policy without consultation. Mr Justice Dove found against the Claimants on all of their five grounds and dismissed the challenge on the following basis. The legislative framework does not set out criteria for assessing published planning policy, nor does specify considerations for the Secretary of State when making national policy. As long as the policy does not frustrate the operation of planning legislation it is not irrational and the Secretary of State, as policy maker, may determine what is or is not a material consideration. When the Statement was published it had reflected the interpretation of paragraphs 14 and 49 of the Court of Appeal in Hopkins Homes, but the development of the interpretation of

these paragraphs in the Supreme Court judgment did not make the Statement unlawful. In any case, the Statement remains consistent in the light of the Supreme Court's decision as it augments rather than contradicts the judgment: where there is no five-year supply, then paragraph 49 of the NPPF applies, but where there is a "more-than-three-but-less-than-five-year" supply and the other criteria apply, then a balance must be struck between paragraphs 14 and 49 and significant weight can be given to the neighbourhood development plan. The Secretary of State was not acting irrationally by basing its analysis on a wider variety of plans instead of solely the limited number of neighbourhood development plans available at the time. The policies set out in the Statement were clear, and so could not be invalid for uncertainty. In any case, the Supreme Court had clarified their meaning in Hopkins Homes, as set out in the Court's findings in respect of Ground 1 above. The increase of the supply of homes, whilst a key priority under the NPPF is not a freestanding objective to be pursued at all costs, independent of all other objectives under the NPPF. The Secretary of State, as policy maker, must balance the objectives of the NPPF as a whole and had done so when publishing the Statement. The claim that past practice when publishing changes to housing policy meant that there was a legitimate expectation for consultation of the house building industry was framed extremely narrowly. House builders are not the only parties interested in changes to national planning policy. Local planning authorities, amenity groups and the wider public may all have views on potential changes. Furthermore, there is no evidence of "unequivocal assurance" that written ministerial statements on national housing policy require consultation before publication and there is no statutory basis for such consultation.

What does this mean for planning policy? A number of examples of planning policy introduced by written ministerial statement and without consultation were considered by the Court in Richborough. Such policy changes have not been limited to housing, but include changes to national retail planning, onshore wind development and exploratory apparatus for fracking. The effect of written ministerial statements can be to introduce far reaching changes to the planning system effectively overnight. This provides an interesting contrast to the changes to the NPPF, which have been subject to multiple consultations. Written ministerial statements and the associated NPPG amendments are therefore often controversial as they can be perceived as a back door means for the Government to introduce or amend planning policy. Whilst the use of written ministerial statements in this way >>>

Issue 105 April–June 2018




may be lawful, there is the potential for these to cause uncertainty in the planning landscape, due to the speed at which such policy changes can be made and the absence of consultation. Concern has been raised that the use of written ministerial statements can have the effect of significantly destabilising investor confidence in the UK. An example of this is where a written ministerial statement has effectively killed off the energy from wind sector, without any consultation. However, in that case, the written ministerial statement might be said to have derived from a manifesto pledge. It has also been suggested that such statements have had the effect of granting disproportionate power to local communities to frustrate development, depending on their content. Recent commentary on the Richborough case suggests that its effect has been to bolster neighbourhood plans. However, the Court of Appeal's recent decision in R (on the application of Holder) v Gelding Borough Council, gives some hope that the courts will start to apply some sensible ruling in this respect. In Holder, the Court of Appeal supported the planning officer's interpretation of a written ministerial statement, which stated a local planning authority could only grant permission to a wind energy development if "they are satisfied that [the proposal] has addressed the planning impacts identified by local communities and therefore has their backing."

The Court of Appeal found that, in the circumstance of that case, Mr Holder's interpretation of the written ministerial statement to be "contrary to the natural meaning of the language used" and that "addressed" in the planning context means "sufficiently addressed" not "eliminated" (as had been asserted by Mr Holder). A local planning authority must judge the balance of the community's opinion, whilst considering that there would not be 100% participation in the consultation process. Provided that the planning impacts had been sufficiently assessed and, where possible and appropriate, mitigated, a development proposal could be considered to be acceptable even if some members of the community continue to oppose it. â– Suffolk Coastal v Hopkins Homes Limited, Richborough Estates Partnership LLP v Cheshire East Borough Council, [2016] EWCA Civ 168. Suffolk Coastal District Council v Hopkins Homes Ltd UKSC 2016/0076 and Richborough Estates Partnership LLP v Cheshire East Borough Council UKSC 2016/0078 R (on the application of HOLDER) (Appellant) v GEDLING BOROUGH COUNCIL (Respondent) & (1) JOHN CHARLES JONES (2) JONES (Interested Parties) [2018] EWCA Civ 214 House of Commons: Written Statement (HCWS42) 18 June 2015 ( HYPERLINK ""

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Planning in London


Dealing with noisy neighbours Secretary of State Sajid Javid intends to issue a consultation paper in March setting out proposals regarding the ‘Agent of change’ explains Amy Truman

Amy Truman is a senior associate with DLA Piper

The problem of incompatible neighbouring developments is prevalent nationally, and is particularly common in London. It is not a new issue, but recently focus has once again turned to the numbers of night clubs and music venues forced to close due to residential uses being permitted in close proximity whose occupants then complain about noise. The focus on increasing housing levels across the country, including in city centres, is putting more pressure on the problem of competing neighbouring land interests. Organisations such as Music Venue Trust and UK Music, are leading the campaign for the decline of music venues due to complaints from neighbouring, more sensitive, land uses. The current preferred solution is to use the concept of Agent of Change. This places the responsibility on the promotor of a new noise-sensitive development to ensure occupants will not be adversely affected by noise from a preexisting noisy use. The focus is on the development control regime through which planning applications for development are considered. This Agent of Change principle is being promoted in various ways, including by central government and the Mayor of London through the London Plan. However, the planning regime is not the only one which regulates noise between neighbours, and it is key to note the other regimes which govern the issue. Nuisance Pursuant to current legislation, local authorities are under a duty to investigate complaints of nuisance (pursuant to section 79(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 ("EPA")). It is for the local authority to decide whether such complaints are due to statutory nuisance such as "noise emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance". If a local authority is satisfied that a statutory nuisance exists or is likely to occur or recur, then it is under a duty to serve an abatement notice to remedy that nuisance. The EPA also permits any aggrieved person to make an application to the Magistrates Court against the person responsible for the nuisance, in order to have the nuisance resolved. This creates a problem for existing noise-generating uses where planning permission is granted for a noise-sensitive development nearby. Noise from that existing use can lead to complaints from new residents and the potential for statutory nuisance action. The courts have held that the fact that a claimant has come to the nuisance, is no defence to an action. However, in the case Coventry & Others v Lawrence and another [2014] UKSC 13, the Supreme Court recognised that a claim for nuisance could fail where there was a pre-existing activity and the claimant has developed their land in a way which creates a new sensitivity, and thus a nuisance. However, there was no conclusive ruling on this point and it is unclear how such a defence would operate effectively.

Licensing Most of the music and night club venues which are affected will be licensed to sell alcohol. In order to grant a licence, the licensing authority must be satisfied that the operation will comply with four objectives, one of which is that the operation will not cause a public nuisance. The introduction of new residential property in close proximity to the music or night club venue increases the likelihood of a complaint and potential for enforcement under licensing law. The House of Lords Select Committee on the Licensing Act 2003 recommended that statutory licensing guidance is made compatible with the changes being made to the National Planning Policy Framework to emphasise the Agent of Change principle. This approach will be set out in guidance rather than legislation: although licensing authorities must have regard to such guidance, they aren't necessarily bound to follow it. Existing planning permissions The noise generating use itself will have its own planning permission (unless established through use). If it is shown to be a noise-generating use it is likely to have conditions attached to it to impose limits on noise. Some local authorities may require amplified noise to be inaudible within the nearest noise sensitive property. If this is the case, the practical limits for the existing property can change due to development outside its control. Current planning policy guidance As we have noted, the Agent of Change is not an entirely new principle. Whilst there are a number of new initiatives coming forward, the National Planning Policy Framework ("NPPF") contains policy which advises that noise impacts from existing business should be considered when creating policies and determining applications. The draft NPPF (March 2018) which is currently being consulted upon goes further in support of the Agent of Change. It adds to the existing wording which advises that existing businesses wanting to develop in continuance of their business should not have unreasonable restric- >>>

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>>> tions put on them because of changes in surrounding land uses since established and adds (at paragraph 180): "Where an existing business or community facility has effects that could be deemed a statutory nuisance in the light of new development (including changes of use) in its vicinity, the applicant (or ‘agent of change’) should be required to secure suitable mitigation before the development has been completed." The current London Plan also contains policy which requiring that "Development proposals should seek to manage noise by: … mitigating and minimising the existing and potential adverse impacts of noise on, from, within, as a result of, or in the vicinity of new development without placing unreasonable restrictions on development or adding unduly to the costs and administrative burdens on existing businesses" (policy 7.15Bb). In addition to the London Plan, the London mayor has developed supplementary planning guidance on "Culture and the Night-time economy" (November 2017). This includes guidance BELOW: on how development proposals should seek to manage noise, The famous case in advising that the Agent of Change principle is applied when Southwark with logo and applications for new uses near a pub are considered. The guiddemonstration ance states that the person responsible for the change is responsible for the cost of mitigating the potential noise nuisance. The draft London Plan looks to update and add to the current policy position for London by the inclusion of more explicit wording on the Agent of Change principle. The draft policy concludes by making the point that "Boroughs should refuse development proposals that have not clearly demonstrated how noise impacts will be mitigated and managed." This clearly demonstrates an increase in momentum to introduce and strengthen the Agent of Change principle.


Planning in London

Comment Whilst there is a great deal of focus on the Agent of Change principle at present, it is aimed only at mitigating the risk of closure of existing businesses due to noise and other complaints from occupiers of new development. However, it does not go so far as to never allow new development which could conflict with neighbouring existing uses. It must be recognised that the planning system will never be able to eliminate the risk entirely. There are limitations to what can be achieved through the development control process. The planning authority might assess noise impact and be satisfied, for example that a residential area with a closed ventilation system would adequately mitigate the impact. However, these do not deal with issues arising if the noise impact turns out to be greater than predicted, or if the occupants of the housing development replace the windows so that they can be opened and then suffer from noise nuisance. None of the current policies incorporating Agent of Change are clear on how these issues should be addressed. The situation remains that an occupant of a new development can complain about a nuisance arising from a pre-existing use. It will take time for the effects of the noise and the tolerance of the new occupants of the residential developments to become established. By this time the developers responsible for the development may no longer exist. It is possible that even where a development has been built entirely in accordance with the mitigation measures imposed by the local authority, there could still be a residual problem with the noise emanating from the existing use. If complaints are made, and the noise turns out to be a statutory nuisance, the local authority will be under a duty to deal with it notwithstanding the Agent of Change principle which is endorsed by the planning system. There has been a proposal to change legislation. A private members bill to introduce the Agent of Change principle was being promoted through the House of Commons and had its first reading earlier this year. It is not intended to have a second reading of this Bill, but it is understood that instead, the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, intends to issue a consultation paper in March setting out proposals to be incorporated within existing planning legislation. It is hoped that this will be a quicker route by which to get the Agent of Change principle into legislation. It may be that this proposed legislation goes further than anticipated; for example, it may consider noise in a more holistic manner, taking into account all of the relevant regulatory regimes. However, in the absence of this, it is difficult to see how the Agent of Change measures will rectify the problem where the developer or their successors complain of nuisance. ■


The 55+ inclusive city in a 75+ inclusive era How can London meet the challenge of almost a half increase of the over-55s and a doubling of the over-75s over the next two decades asks Lars Christian

Lars Christian, UrbanPilot, London & Scandinavia

As the oldest baby boomers reach 75, generation X is reaching 55. How ready are our streets, cul-de-sacs, communities, neighbourhoods, parishes, suburbs, villages, centres, towns and boroughs of London for the over-55s century? How can the boroughs and the Mayor prepare? What can they do differently? Who can be in the forefront? What can London learn from other towns, cities and nations? And how can the city, the London Plan and the boroughs plans better prepare for the 55+ inclusive city? This article outlines six recommendations for a more over 55+ inclusive inner and outer city, boroughs and suburbs. Where generation Y and Z mutually exchange favours and tasks with the both the 55+ and the 75+ generations. Where next-doorneighbours and grandparents offer each other a helping hand, not necessarily out of charity, but maybe as a barter, where time is exchanged for time. Where neighbours with different skills and experiences gain. In an era where both grandparents and grandchildren are living increasingly further apart, gain. A win win for all inhabitants of the city, irrespective of age, resources and background. This article coincides with the publication of the revised London Plan, the TCPA guide Creating Health Promoting Environments, and the upcoming second draft of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, all of which may benefit from a greater focus on the over-55s. According to Harvard University, baby boomers and generations X, Y and Z are born between 1945, 1965, 1985, 2005 and 2025 respectively. 55+ and 75+ inclusive homes The over 55s and 75s could increasingly live differently from family-with-children neighbourhoods after their children move away from home. In an era where maybe as many as one in four new homes in London could be carefully designed to cater for 55+ and 75+ Londoners. With a broad mixture of owner occupied, subsidised rent, market rent and shared ownership, typically delivered by housing associations and private developers, in cooperation with the Mayor and the boroughs. To encourage a kind of resizing, downsizing or re-tuning – depending on the neighbourhood, suburb and borough in question – and acknowledge that half of the over 75s live alone. In an era, where maybe twice as many 55+ and 75+ Londoners could chose to live in more urban than suburban neighbourhoods – on borough, non-for-profit and privately owned land alike. In purpose designed apartment or mansion blocks, typically with balconies, communal rooftop terraces and gardens as well as playgrounds for visiting grandchildren. In neighbourhoods where 55+ and 75+ Londoners can benefit from more suitable and relevant facilities and services conveniently located within walking distance. With shared e-bikes and car clubs, and benches at street corners with priority for the 55+.

ABOVE: Figure 2 shows the increase in UK inhabitants by age from 2014 to 2039, showing particular steep increase for the over-70s.

All typically located within a third of a mile of a high street – and a train, tube or tram station where relevant – in inner boroughs. Or within half a mile radius in e-bike friendly neighbourhoods in outer boroughs.

Sharing & volunteering Despite the UK's long tradition of Christianity, many Londoners have a diminishing experience of sharing or volunteering. The post-war housing model, the welfare state and the spatial layout of neighbourhoods may have all contributed to the present situation. In a society where public provided services are the norm, with reduced or low input and expectations from adolescents, adults and the elderly alike. Except for a large minority who contribute substantially – often involving one's own children, parents or other close family members. Looking after and enhancing once neighbourhood's common spaces is one aspect. Another is mutually supporting neighbours in need. Where dedicating a couple of hours a day or week or a few half days a week of sharing or volunteering could be the norm – by adolescent, parents and the 55+ alike. The latter group taking advantage of improved health and physical well being. Sometimes with several decades of retirement – with the >>>

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>>> ABOVE: Figure 1 is from the TCPA practical guide 8, Creating Health Promoting Environments (2017)

present life expectancy at birth forecasted to exceed 90 for women in one third of London boroughs and 88 for men in one quarter of boroughs within two decades. However, the physical fabric of London's homes, gardens, parks, neighbourhoods, high streets, town centres and boroughs need to better accommodate enhanced areas, spaces and facilities for greater opportunity of sharing, mutual support and volunteering. Similarly applies to our own or adjacent buildings, properties, streets, street blocks, local play and sport grounds or courts, nurseries, schools, allotments and similar to better cater for more sharing and volunteering.

Grandparent and grandchildren exchange In the 55+ inclusive city, the 55+ could play an enhanced role in caring for the young, and the young caring for the over 75s. In an era where families live further apart, grandparents could organise themselves so that they can look after friends-of-friends' grandchildren, as part of mutual exchange partnerships. And for the young to spend time


Planning in London

with the 75+, whilst at school or university. So that spending a regular part of retirement looking after friends-of-friends' grandchildren a few times a week becomes the norm rather than the exception. Accompanying the 'grandchildren' to and from nursery and school or spending afternoons, evenings or weekends in the park, playground, sports field etc.But to encourage and accommodate more frequent relation between the young and the 55+, social and physical neighbourhood facilities and infrastructure must physically and organisationally adapt and change. So that with time, some can be relocated adjacent to one another, and others can incorporate facilities frequented by the young and the 55+ within the same building or premises. Thus providing an added incentive for the 55+ to frequent facilities that at present typically cater for the under-55s rather than the over-55s. Neighbourhood facilities & meeting places Improving specialised neighbourhood facilities should go hand in hand with improving parks, gardens, pedestrian and

high streets. Typically located for multiple usages, so that the young and adults alike can enjoy parallel activities in the same or adjacent locations. With facilities allowing organised and random encounters between residents, visitors and their families. Typically with ambulant barrista, drinks and healthy snacks e-bikes or e-vans – where and when sufficient demand is present. Similarly, larger office, commercial and residential developments could increasingly include sports halls, sports courts, preschool nurseries and gyms. Either primarily for employees and customers only. Or ideally also accessible to local inhabitants, 55+ only or all ages alike. Carefully equipped for grandparents', grandchildren's as well as parents' and adolescents' needs and aspirations. To promote social inclusion and quality of life for all, as the number of 75+ Londoners is forecast to double within two decades.

Physical activity & mental health ABOVE: One in four exercise less than half an hour a week and over Figure 3 shows a particuhalf of Londoners are overweight according to Public Health lar high proportion of England. This has to change. London's towns centres, bor- over-60s in six to ten oughs and suburbs need to adapt to allow all inhabitants the London boroughs in 2011, opportunity to achieve the recommended half an hour of making up more than 1 in physical activity a day. Ideally whilst going about their daily 5 to 1 in 6 inhabitants. life and chores – within, to and from their home, work, leisure and retail neighbourhood – or whilst meeting neighbours, friends and relatives. Neighbourhoods offering all Londoners including children, adolescents, the 55+ and the 75+ with several free or low cost opportunities a day to be physical active – indoors and outdoors. Improving life expectancy as well as providing a path to a mentally and physically healthy life style, social inclusion and quality of life – from childhood and teenagehood through to adulthood, retirement and old age. Reducing the number of years of poor >>>

Issue 105 April–June 2018



>>> health to a minimum – mentally as well as physically – irrespective of resources and background. Versatile mobility & e-cycling 55+ Londoners could benefit from more diversity in their travel habits, depending on whether they have young children, teenage children, no children, or whether they still work or not. Walking, cycling, e-cycling, car/bike sharing and public transport are the six most obvious alternatives for the 55+ who still hold on to individual car ownership and car driving. Local incentives for more versatile mobility for the 55+ includes denser or more varied density neighbourhoods; more physically segregated e-bike and bike lanes; more pedestrian friendly streets and street block structure. As well as financial incentives for less car parking and lower car ownership in exchange for more car, e-car and e-bike sharing. Five to ten folding the three latter by abolishing VAT, excise and fuel duties – especially in the outer boroughs where car ownership is typically still the norm. For a majority of 55+ Londoners to embrace e-cycling as their main form of individual transport, e-cycling requires physically segregated lanes along busy roads, priority at junctions. As well as e-parking at home, job, retail, service and town centres. E-cycling combined with less car parking, denser neighbourhoods and more frequent physical exercise. Afterword London has a relative young population, with a million new jobs created during the last decade, many taken up by new arrivals from across the UK, the EU and further afield. However, with nine million inhabitants, London may soon

have the highest concentration of 75+ inhabitants in Europe – together with three other cities, Istanbul, Moscow and Paris, the Randstad and the Rhein-Ruhr metropolitan regions. Other big cities from where lessons may be learned about how to prepare for the 55+ inclusive urban era, are Berlin, Madrid, Milano and Rome – each with about half the inhabitants of London. How London meets the challenge of almost a half increase of the over-55s and a doubling of the over-75s within the next two decades may determine how successful the city will be in remaining a world-leading city in generations to come. As businesses and employees not only seek to locate in cities with world class quality of life for working adults and families but also where the elderly with a wide range of income, can maintain their quality of life through their retirement. In a city where 55+ inhabitants can be certain of not only receiving world class health and public services. And where they can be certain of living in apartments, neighbourhoods and town centres carefully adapted to their varied and sometimes complex needs. Whether they are men, women, couples or singles; 55+, 75+ or 95+ years old. Irrespective of educational, ethnic or professional background or experience. Or distance to close family and relatives. ■ Further reading:

Nine key habits Dan Buettner identifies nine key habits that people living in five of the worlds longest and healthiest places share (Blue Zone Solution 2015): - They keep moving - They have a sense of purpose - They have ways of de-stressing - They only eat enough to be 80% full - They eat mainly beans, with vegetables, fruit and whole grains - They drink moderate amounts of wine - They're part of a religious community - Have close family ties - Have good friends and socialise


Planning in London

UK Rail Station Development and Regeneration 2018

Weds 11th July 2018 | Addleshaw Goddard, Central London Practical insight on delivering successful station developments that maximise housing opportunities and economic growth

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Urban Waterfront Promenades by Elizabeth Macdonald £41.99 Routledge Reviewed by Anthony Carlile

2018 Paperback 298p ISBN: 978-1-138-82421-8 (pbk) ISBN: 978-1-138-82419-5 (hbk) IMAGES are from the book

Given that our ancestors where generally drawn to settle beside a watercourse, it’s difficult to imagine any major metropolis where the opportunities described in this book are not immediately relevant. There are three parts. The first meticulously describes 38 different Urban Waterfront promenades grouped into 12 loose categories: Vancouver’s Waterfront Promenade Network (the initial inspiration for the book), Classic Grand Promenades, Beachfront Boardwalks and Promenades, Riverfront Promenade Loops, Park Promenades along Former Industrial Waterfronts, Promenades in the Shadow of Freeways, Spectacle Promenades, Eco District Promenades, Suburban New Town Promenades, Promontory Promenades, Classic Bridge Promenades and Incrementally Built Central Area Promenades. Each case is described consistently with location plans at 1:400,000 scale, context plans at 1:40,000 and beautifully drawn dimensioned cross sections at 1:20. An appendix also summarises some key data - effective path width, people per hour and people per hour per meter, allowing easy like-for-like comparison and overall creating an exceptionally useful body of design information. The second part describes the urban context to each with a 1:12,000 scale plan and observations on accessibility and connection. The third part is a discourse on the main practical aspects surrounding the subject, including safety, maintenance, ecological issues, key planning concepts, overcoming free-way barriers and meeting the challenge of rising sea level. The book is about the positive opportunities for the enjoyment of water but the information on sea level rise is also perhaps the most practically useful l have read. The author acknowledges that ... 'the placement and design of waterfront promenades for the communal enjoyment of today’s and tomorrow’s citizens is a relatively small matter...' (in the context of major sea level rise) but of course these are related issues and a study of waterfront adaption strategies and design innovations from around the world follows. The prospect of any major coastal city facing a 0.98m sea level rise by 2100 makes this a timely and significant subject on several levels and one which it seems many communities have not yet addressed. This is rigorous research and it is uplifting to read. ■

Anthony Carlile of Anthony Carlile Architects

Issue 105 April–June 2018


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Ornament is Crime by Albert Hill and Matt Gibberd Reviewed by Alfred Munkenbeck

Phaidon Press £29.95 Hardback 290 x 250 mm (11 3/8 x 9 7/8 in) 224 pages 300 illustrations ISBN: 9780714874166 IMAGES are from the book

Alfred Munkenbeck of Munkenbeck+Partners, architects


Ornament is Crime is a beautifully produced coffee table book with flush cut sides and all black and white photographs in large format, maximum two to a page. The foreword essay was written by Matt Gibberd, grandson of the great Fred and the book was produced in collaboration with his partner Albert Hill, a couple of ex journalists who founded a fascinating estate agency which shares offices with the Ted Cullinan Studio architectural practice. If you understand the agency you will understand the book. Look it up on The precedent for the book is Instagram. It is a collection of images. There are no explanations with the houses, either practical or theoretical, plans or sections, only a label with architect, location and year on each image. In addition to the photos there are loads and loads of pithy quotes from architects and other notables never directly related to the images. Such is the current ethos. It is an excellent source book of inspiring houses based on Modernist tenets that seem to have commenced with an Adolph Loos lecture in 1910. The images are from all over the world for now over a century. What is amazing is to see the breadth of influence of this modern approach and its consistency over time. The historical advances, so to speak,

are relatively technical and subtle. Many houses from the 1920’s could have been considered stylish today and vice versa. It is wonderful to see them all mixed together in one publication. Loos’ dictum about Ornament was, unfortunately a bit ahead of its time as it approaches modernism from a negative (strip out ornament) rather than a positive (composition of planes, light and space) point of view. It is a bit like extolling the virtues of abstract painting by emphasizing how a painting doesn’t look (like anything familiar) rather than considering how it does look. Modern design is about much more than avoidance but Loos was not fully aware of that in 1910. Basically, it takes more than avoiding ornament to make a good modern building but from Loos’ end of the telescope he had to strip away ornament before he could contemplate what might need to replace it. Some quote juxtapositions can seem a bit odd like putting Maya Lin about minimalism beside Paul Rudolph, who was anything but minimal, or quoting a punk band lyric beside Tadao Ando, but it is amusingly provocative. The question of combining word with image has always been problematic but at least this book does it without taking itself too seriously. The sheer volume of quotes and interesting houses is enervating. ■

Issue 105 April–June 2018



Big Capital Who is London for? by Anna Minton Reviewed by Darryl Chen

Available from John Sandoe Books

RIGHT: Images from the book

Daryl Chen is an architect with Hawkins\Brown


Planning in London

Anna Minton is angry. From government policy to foreign investment, from property professionals to shady landlords, from greedy developer to greedy local council, a spectrum of forces has created the crisis in which we now find ourselves, where housing has gone from being a human right to a financial product. Big Capital sets out the complexity of its shape and causes, however trades balanced argument for polemic in a litany against the ills of regeneration. Minton’s ambition is to show the consequences of the workings of local and global capital on the lives of ordinary Londoners. This she does in the journalistic way that makes all of her writing pointed and accessible. It is is also her weakness, relying on examples of only the worst regeneration projects, selected statistics, and heart-tugging interviews with the dispossessed. Some of the reportage is insightful and genuinely eye-opening, but too often Minton makes knee-jerk generalisations where her research should be leading to more nuanced conclusions. A recurring theme of the book is that council estates are being bulldozed throughout the city to make way for luxury flats that none but the very wealthy can afford. On the way, social-housing tenants are being displaced around the country or forced into giving up their tenancies altogether. But for each of her egregious examples of exploitative regeneration there are other unpublicised cases of happily housed tenants on rebuilt estates. There is cause to rally against cruelly unfair practices in the worst of cases, but why throw the baby out with the bathwater? The redevelopment of Battersea Power Station is characterised as ‘a high-class gated community, like every single one of the countless other new quarters planned for London’. Such generalisations aren’t helpful. She paints as one of the most grotesque distortions of our crisis foreign investors who purchase properties only to leave them empty as a kind of safe-keeping deposit. Never mind that a GLA study this year concluded that this was an infrequent occurrence and therefore an insignificant issue. A minor grievance is the characterisation of the ‘evil other’ played through the lens of race. The

‘Chinese investor’ (and also the Russian, and Middle Eastern) is now ingrained in the popular imagination as the faceless automaton of some personal self- enrichment project, a byword for all that is brutishly capitalistic about foreign investment. If the actual point is the emotional detachment of capital from homes where people live, then why use a lazy and offensive stereotype? There is some redemption in these pages – a very readable history of postwar housing policy. And Minton is at her best questioning our received understanding of terms such as ‘mixed tenure’, ‘estate regeneration’ and ‘development viability’ while exposing processes of property development that otherwise remain hidden from public scrutiny. The reader should also take away the sound rebuke that supply is not the sole solution to the crisis. Disclosure: I work for an architecture practice involved in the design of new housing estates. That doesn’t make me a worse or better commentator – we are all participants in this crisis whether first-time buyer or landlord, regeneration consultant or planning officer, foreign student or council tenant. Minton’s appeal to all is to be angry and get political, however by diagnosing the crisis by its extreme excesses, she preaches to those already pining for deep structural change, but falls short of a balanced description of a complex situation. This review is from the latest edition of the Journal of the London Society. You can read the Journal online or purchase a printed copy,. ■


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SUST AI NABL E ENERGY MET ROI T I DAL L OWER T HAMES POOL Formulation of a Local Plan; Chapter 8 Neighbourhood Planning; Chapter 9 Localism and New Community Rights; Chapter 10 The Process of a Planning Application ; Chapter 11 The role of local authorities in considering and determining planning applications; Chapter 12 Appeals and Public Inquiries ; Chapter 13 Consulting on a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP); Part Three: communications strategy and tactics Chapter 14 Strategy Development; Chapter 15 Tactics to Inform and Engage; Chapter 16 New Consultation Tactics ; Chapter 17 Analysis, Evaluation and Feedback; Chapter 18 Reducing Risk in Consultation; Part Four: post planning Chapter 19 Community Relations During Construction ; Chapter 20 Community Involvement Following Construction ; Chapter 21 Conclusion ; Appendix 1 Timeline of political events impacting on consultation ; Appendix 2 Examples of material and non material planning considerations; Appendix 3 Community involvement strategy outline; Appendix 4 Sample Content for Consultation Websites User Guides; Glossary ; Further reading; Index;

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Roy RoyThompson Thompson Director Place DirectorofofPlace 0208545 8545 3680 3680

London LondonBorough BoroughofofIslington Islington 222 222Upper UpperStreet Street London LondonN1 N11XR 1XR 020 0207527 75276743 6743http://www.islington. http://www.islington. services/planning Lesley LesleySeary, Seary,Chief ChiefExecutive Executive 0207527 7527 3136 3136 Karen Sullivan KarenSullivan Service DirectorofofPlanning Planning&& ServiceDirector Development Development 0207527 7527 2949 2949 Eshwyn Prabhu EshwynPrabhu Team Leaderfor forPlanning Planning&&Projects Projects TeamLeader 0207527 7527 2450 2450 Victoria Geoghegan VictoriaGeoghegan Head DevelopmentManagement Management&& HeadofofDevelopment Building Control Building Control Andrew AndrewMarx Marx Deputy DeputyHead HeadofofDevelopment DevelopmentManagement Management &&Building BuildingControl, Control,Andrew.marx@ Andrew.marx@ 020 7527 2045 020 7527 2045

London LondonBorough BoroughofofLambeth Lambeth Phoenix House PhoenixHouse 1010Wandsworth WandsworthRoad Road London SW82LL 2LL LondonSW8 020 0207926 79261180 1180 Sean Harriss SeanHarriss Chief Executive ChiefExecutive 0207926 79269677 9677 Alison AlisonYoung Young Divisional Directorfor forPlanning, Planning, DivisionalDirector Regeneration Regenerationand andEnterprise Enterprise Neil NeilVokes Vokes Project ManagerininPlanning, Planning,Regeneration Regeneration ProjectManager and andEnterprise Enterprise Rachel RachelSharpe Sharpe Divisional DirectorHousing HousingStrategy Strategyand and DivisionalDirector Partnership Partnership

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Royal RoyalBorough BoroughofofKensington Kensingtonand andChelsea Chelsea The TheTown TownHall, Hall, Hornton HorntonStreet Street London LondonW8 W87NX 7NX 020 0207361 73613000 3000 Chief Executive Nicholas Holgate 020 7361 2299 Chief Executive Nicholas GrahamHolgate Stallwood 020 and 7361 2299 Executive Director of Planning Borough Development 020 7361 Graham 2612 Stallwood Executive Director of Planning and Borough Development Rob Krzyszowski Planning Policy Team Leader 020 7361 2612

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London LondonBorough BoroughofofNewham Newham Newham Dockside NewhamDockside Dockside Road 1000 1000 Dockside Road London E162QU 2QU LondonE16

Philip PhilipWealthy Wealthy Head Policyand andDesign Design HeadofofPolicy 0208891 88917320 7320

020 0208430 84302000 2000 Kim Bromley-Derry KimBromley-Derry Chief ChiefExecutive Executive Jackie JackieBelton Belton Executive Directorfor forStrategic Strategic ExecutiveDirector Commissioning Commissioning VACANT VACANT Director Directorfor forCommissioning Commissioning(Planning (Planning&& Regeneration) Regeneration) Translation Error.

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London LondonBorough BoroughofofRichmond RichmondUpon UponThames Thames Civic CivicCentre Centre 4444York YorkStreet Street Twickenham TwickenhamTW1 TW13BZ 3BZ 020 0208891 88911411 1411


London LondonBorough BoroughofofSutton Sutton 2424Denmark DenmarkRoad, Road, Carshalton, Carshalton, Surrey SurreySM5 SM52JG 2JG 020 0208770 87705000 5000 Niall NiallBolger Bolger Chief ChiefExecutive Executive 0208770 87705203 5203 Ade AdeAdebayo Adebayo Executive ExecutiveHead HeadAsset AssetManagement Management&& Planning Planning&&Capital CapitalDelivery Delivery 0208770 87706349 6349 Eleanor EleanorPurser Purser Executive ExecutiveHead HeadofofEconomic EconomicDevelopment Development Planning Planningand andSustainability Sustainability Simon SimonLatham Latham Executive ExecutiveHead HeadHousing Housingand andRegeneration Regeneration 0208770 8770 6173 6173 Mary MaryMorrissey Morrissey Strategic StrategicDirector DirectorEnvironment, Environment,Housing Housing and andRegeneration Regeneration

Gillian GillianNorton Norton Chief ChiefExecutive Executive 0208891 88917908 7908

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Issue 105 April–June 2018 Issue 99 OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2016 87 67

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Making best use of London’s industrial land

Maximising land use is most effective with co-locating residential and industrial uses says Katerina Karaga IMAGE ABOVE: Intensification of industrial uses can be achieved by developing a range of industrial typologies

Katerina Karaga is an associate at Farrells

The pressure on London’s housing, workplaces, leisure and services is evident. We have all heard the latest numbers for London’s growth: increasing population of 10.8 million by 2041, i.e. +20 per cent - with a demand for 19,000 new jobs and 66,000 additional homes to be created every year, all in a constrained and limited land area. In dynamic cities such as London, change is imminent. The clear practical distinction between uses; residential, industrial and entertainment, is slowly disappearing. London could drastically change in the future; live, work and play could be further blurred. So, what is the new pattern for London’s urban growth? How do we make sure we fulfil the needs of the Londoners to come? What building typologies should we deliver to achieve the best balance for both the residential and workspace demand? What are the new truly mixed-development models for London? The draft New London Plan has clearly identified the rules: no net loss of industrial floor space in designated industrial locations with possible consolidation of industrial facilities to release residential land, encouraging new work-live typologies. Farrells project experience and our proactive exploration of the potential of industrial estate intensification has shown that by releasing land capacity for mixed-use development a clear way forward for London’s industrial land transformation can be developed. The potential is apparent in sites which have the benefit of being well-connected by existing or planned Tube and rail stations, or in opportunity areas and growth corridors. Opportunities along transport corridors, such as the Elizabeth Line, the Bakerloo line extension, and Crossrail 2, should be maximised to make the best use of land and support London growth. These investments in infrastructure assets should be used for more than one purpose, making best use of the transport connections not only for residents, but also for existing and future

workers in the area. Farrells, in collaboration with Savills, have examined real world projects for re-provision of the existing industrial capacity with co-location and intensification into mixed residential and productive workplace uses. Most of the existing industrial estates are low-rise sheds with inefficient layouts and yard space with residual spaces. Working with the New London Plan requirement of ‘no net loss of industrial floor space’, the studies have shown that industrial net floor space can be re-provided and consolidated on as little as 45 per cent of the land, given innovative masterplanning and introduction of new industrial and residential typologies. By increasing the plot ratio, these sites can deliver residential area floor space up to the equivalent of five times the area of existing industrial floor space, with no net loss of industrial net floor space capacity. For example, on an existing industrial estate of 25 hectares, up to 5,000 new homes could be delivered in a mixed-use development with total net re-provision of industrial floor space of up to 100,000 square metres, including space for yards and services. Farrells’ tool-kit employs mixed-use typologies across a range of densities to provide facilities meeting the needs of both the modern and traditional industrial occupiers, with flexible layouts to encompass variety of businesses, such as light and general industrial, data centres, warehousing, storage and distribution, big retailers, creative industries and offices. Small industrial units, up to 5,000 square metres, can be effectively integrated with residential uses or optimised by creating incubator buildings with shared industrial yard and goods lifts for operation on the upper floors. Food and drink manufacturing, catering, small scale ‘craft’ manufacturing, servicing, and repair businesses, last-mile businesses, small scale storage and wholesale can also operate on ground floors of residential buildings with separated access. >>>

Issue 105 April–June 2018



LEFT: Mixed use development deploying both vertically stacked and horizontal programmes


Maximising land use is most effective with co-locating residential and industrial uses, such as integrated residential with industrial under-croft and with the multi-storey warehouse typology. The multi-storey industrial development typology has vehicle accessible space with stacked yards on multiple levels, ensuring that industrial and logistical operations can continue to operate within dense urban settings. Traditional low-rise sheds could be intensified by adding internal levels with modern lifting equipment to take advantage of the full building volume for storage and adding mezzanine levels for office space. Large rooftop areas could increase utilisation with spaces for leisure activities, communal gardens and allotments, rooftop cinemas and bars, sports playgrounds, car parking along with the potential to improve sustainability by adding solar panels for natural energy or green roofs. The studies have also shown that up to a quarter of the land of existing industrial estates is used as surface car parking. On the exemplar sites considered, the demand of car parking spaces could partially decrease because of the transport network improvements and employees using public transport or car sharing scheme. Another principle of densification could be the provision of rooftop car park over some industrial units or a consolidated car park rationalising the land take. Industrial estates were historically placed in close proximity to waterways, used as transport corridors, often now with unexploited potential in this post-industrial age. This urban setting could be highly valuable, and it could bring benefit for the existing local communities. Unused canal frontages can be transformed into vibrant public spaces accessible to everyone. Often there is also the opportunity to open and enhance neglected amenity spaces, such as approaches to existing green spaces, water bodies or natural assets, which are clogged in the patchwork of industrial estates. The Lea Valley industrial estates are a perfect example for this. One schematic spatial approach to masterplanning is to have a mixed-use and residential core close to the transport node, extending into a residential spine through the centre of the site. Industrial units could be organised in the outer part of the site with associated yards and services around the edges, providing clear separation of industrial and residential traffic and the maximum possible distance between the access for the different uses. The new developments should not preclude 24-hour operation of the industrial units. The ‘agent of change’ principle should


Planning in London

be applied, and existing industrial businesses operation should not be constrained by the inclusion of residential uses. The build form should therefore be adaptable to mitigate noise and light pollution. Innovative solutions such as buildings orientation, green buffers, covered yard and electric vehicles can be used to mitigate the impact. Wider range of tenures, such as build-to-rent and student housing, are desirable to unlock development or speed up delivery when integrating industrial and residential use on sites because of landownership and building lifespan challenges. The difference in building lifespan between industrial and residential use should be acknowledged and planned for, with a clear horizontal split of uses when possible; clear lease arrangements, potential vertical stacking with active rooftops and temporary buildings over industrial spaces. The regeneration of employment areas must start with the re-provision of the industrial units. Starting with jobs, culture and homes, leading the way into successful urban regeneration. Transitional uses, such as craft-workshops spaces, creative industry units, training centres and co-working space are crucial in the creation of natural buffers between the uses and the curation of the local culture. Mixing of uses should be happening on various levels, within buildings, public spaces, roof tops and all places where possible. Heritage and newness should be innovatively fused to develop a sense of place. Farrells strongly believe that the new generation of industrial typologies will facilitate the transformation of industrial land; unlock the delivery of a functional and intensified ecosystem of small and large industrial business while releasing land for residential development. However, there are still a number of factors that make this process challenging, such as funding and viability issues in the delivery process, the affordable housing threshold and the upfront investment that will need to be resolved on a case by case basis and by careful revision of the relevant policies in the Draft London Plan. Time is needed for people to accept the transformational changes and positively shift the human perception of these new types of development - at least until there are successful high-quality examples of co-location schemes in the UK market. We positively believe that the future trends of master planning for London are hidden behind the progressive way of thinking, delivering truly mixed-use developments, where both residents and workers share the benefit of the public spaces and the good transport connections. â–

BELOW: Schematic diagrams of existing and proposed site layout Image


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