Page 1


Issue 111 October-December 2019

LEADERS pages 5-10 OPINIONS pages 18-27 ¡PILLO! page 34 ANDY ROGERS page 45 PLANNING PERFORMANCE pages 36-39

THE LONDON COLLECTIVE: a new way of working – Max Farrell p50 Co-living at THE COLLECTIVE: a new way of living – James Penfold p71 THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO DEVELOPMENT IN THE CAPITAL

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TCPA Annual Conference

facing the future the implications for place-making

Thursday 21 November 2019, at 10:00 - 16:30 Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre, London SE1 9NH With changing demographics, digital technologies and a new globalisation, plus the substantial and urgent impact of a climate emergency, we know how we live, work, move around, shop and learn is changing. This, in turn, is already having profound impacts on how we plan and develop places and communities. All of which poses challenges, such as the future of our high streets, but it also offers opportunities for people involved in shaping places. The TCPA’s 2019 Annual Conference will draw on the key drivers of change and consider what this means for how people are planning new and renewed communities, and how that may need to continue to evolve in the future. It will draw on examples of innovative approaches that are embracing new technology and responding to the huge challenge posed by climate change. It will be an opportunity to reflect on how such approaches can enhance people’s lives, so that in embracing new technology or new approaches we do not lose sight of the importance of building and renewing communities, rather than just buildings. This conference is vital for all those involved in the renewal or creation of communities.

PiL Reader Discount: Quote AC-PIL02 for the reduced rate of £180 For speaker details and to book online, visit https:// Supported by Social Communications and House by Urban Splash


page 5 LEADERS Housing delivery needs the right vehicle; Bye-bye rightto-buy?; Increasing house prices a result of cheap money, not growing demand; The global population is headed for a steep decline; A tiered planning system is in the works 11 A QUICK FIX FOR HAMMERSMITH BRIDGE Adams Infrastructure Planning, Anthony Carlile architects, Beckett Rankine marine consulting engineers, Adams + Collingwood architects & PLA’s verdicts

QUICK FIXES FOR HAMMERSMITH BRIDGE Special feature pages 11-17

18 OPINIONS Repurposing bank branches – why heritage should come first: Kate Falconer; The appropriation of public land: Brett Christophers; New CIL regulations bring some flexibility: Keith Lancaster; Clerkenwell Close farce shows that design and planning are not indivisible: Paul Finch; Planning authorities want to set their own application fees: Andrew Rogers; Who gets a new runway first – LHR or LGW? Angus Walker; Lessons from a loose researcher: Julia Park; Over-regulation of rental housing: Brian Dowling; Call for an objective look at PD housing conversions: Julia Park 28 BRIEFING Did you miss ‘spending round 2019’?; Creating a planning system that works: Labour’s Planning Commission; PD home extensions now require neighbour consultation; Best City office take-up in two years; National Design Guidance; Action on high-rise fire risk; Accelerated Planning; Tibbalds and Design Council for National Design Guide; The National Design Guide has just been published; North Americans acquire UK planning consultancies; Archiboo Web Awards for 2019; HS2 review; Councils hanging on to developer contributions


34 ¡PILLO! High-Tech landmark under threat; No consensus on consensus; I feel their pain; a GLA outpost in the Costa Brava? 35 LETTERS From: Mike Adams, R Kinta, Peter Eversden and Drummond Robson 36 PLANNING PERFORMANCE Applications and decisions and permitted development Prior Notification approvals drop again 40 LONDON PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT FORUM The future of hotels and speeding up planning 45 ANDY ROGERS Big Brother is coming to London planning


46 PUBLIC REALM AND RETAIL Sloane Street public realm – Andy Harris

Continues next page >>>

Issue 111 October-December 2019




50 NEW WAYS OF WORKING The London Collective – a new approach: Max Farrell

81 PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT REFERENCE GUIDE Contacts in all London Boroughs and more

52 ROOFTOP DEVELOPMENT Air rights development offers scope for more than housing – Thaddaeus Jackson-Browne

85 SHAPING LONDON – SIR TERRY FARRELL Peter Barbalov calls for a new PDR+

56 THAMESLINK WEST A possible alternative to Crossrail 2 – Lars Christian 60 WORKSPACE How to build a workspace brand – Maria Cheung 64 FIRE SAFETY Managing fire safety in a change of use building – Anthony Cassidy 65 THE HOUSING MARKET Goods, assets and houses and why real estate is a bit different – Yolande Barnes

84 SUBSCRIPTION FORM Keep taking your PiL! 87 ADVICE Consultants and services

BELOW: Big Brother is coming to London planning ANDY ROGERS page 45

69 PROCUREMENT After Grenfell: what’s next for procurement? – John Forde 75 CO-LIVING Owning and operating the world’s largest co-living community – James Penfold 71 BOOKS Housing Design Handbook: The authors David Levitt and Jo McCaffery set the context 77 Climax City and the planning of London: David Rudlin and Shruti Hemani on their new book Publishing Editors: Brian Waters, Paul Finch and Lee Mallett,

ISSN 1366-9672 (PRINT) ISSN 2053-4124 (DIGITAL) Issue 111 October-December 2019

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

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Available only on subscription: £99 pa 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

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Housing delivery needs the right vehicle We could do with a London Housing Delivery Authority with land, funding and planning powers

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

In the 1970s and 80s, Lambeth Council had a policy of opposing office development along the Albert Embankment and in Vauxhall, on the grounds that what was required was homes, not workspace. A local MP called Stuart Holland used to aggregate all the empty office statistics to ‘prove’ that London had an adequate supply, while bemoaning the lack of homes. (Needless to say, he wasn’t interested in whether buildings of the right size were available to commercial companies, only in the totals.) Flip forward a couple of decades, and a developer comes along with a proposal for a residential tower, one block back from the river. What do the planners say? We don’t want residential, we want offices! Either planners were twenty years ahead of the game or 20 years behind it. What they should have been worrying about wasn’t what the market wanted to do at any particular moment, but the broad policies which would encourage good development of anything and everything – that is to say land assembly, transport infrastructure and resilient planning frameworks. What we have seen more recently, both in Lambeth and neighbouring Wandsworth, is a wave of riverside development which has been informed by accident (the relocation of the US embassy and consequent residential towers), opportunism (successive owners of Battersea power station and its environs), and transport proposals (the Northern Line spur) based on both. Planning, in short, has become reactive rather than proactive – and not just in the boroughs mentioned above. This attitude might be said to be in a London tradition of going with the flow rather than trying to impose ideas from above – medieval London rather than Wren’s grand plan. It seems doubtful whether this approach will be capable of dealing with the series of complex issues affecting the capital today, starting with an unanticipated spurt in population over the last two decades, much of it uncontrolled inward migration. Add to that increased longevity, the chronic failure to build sufficient new net housing stock in both private and public sectors, and you have a formula for trouble. It is true that some local authorities are now more confident about their ability to tackle these challenges using their own assets and resources. But looking at London as a whole, we are simply not building enough supply to meet what is now very much anticipated demand. It is time that the Mayor and the GLA began thinking about far more dirigiste initiatives, instead of relying on a reluctant private housing sector to supply a sufficient ‘affordable’ programme (and why should it?). The last major public housing project completed in London was the Olympic Village, which was delivered by an Olympic Delivery Authority which (a) owned the site; (b) had sufficient public funding; and (c) was its own planning authority. What we could now do with is a London Housing Delivery Authority, with the same land, funding and planning powers – and wellbonused executives. The bonuses, unlike the grotesque gifts sprinkled over incompetent private sector directors, would be based strictly on the delivery of homes. Not speeches. n >>>

Issue 111 October-December 2019



Bye-bye right-to-buy? Right to Buy is a primary shibboleth that needs abolition or adjustment, whoever's in charge


Planning in London

News that L&Q, one of the UK's largest housing associations, is to pursue no more new developments temporarily and will concentrate on delivering its existing pipeline, is evidence if any was needed of the impact of political and economic uncertainty. Don't light the fuse on the Saturn Five rocket of a large development if the outcome is uncertain. Plenty of investors and developers have taken a similar view and the industry has contracted as a result, while house prices have stabilised or fallen. Mostly the latter. No kind of certainty really exists right now, while the threat of a Middle Eastern war disrupting oil supplies, with consequences reminiscent of the 1974 oil crisis, is, er, putting out the fire with gasoline. Risk is proliferating and cannot be contained within a rational economic equation. Ask many developers seeking to renegotiate the viability of their schemes. Batten the hatches and ride it out. For demonised overseas investors, however, still surfing the currency markets, the bargainous value of the pound has renewed their appetite for investing in London and nothing comes in handier-sized chunks than London residential real estate. Rule of law, liberal economic policies and a restrictive planning environment continue to make the capital a happy hunting ground. Although investors may be substantially more diffident about the prime end of the market, they have shown themselves more interested in the robust middle market, where demand is unlikely to be satisfied for many decades, as no one saw fit in a timely way to tackle the ever-increasing backlog building up over previous decades. You may say this is not planning's concern and that an adequate amount of planning approvals already exist. They won't be implemented while more risk resides in development and less in holding land, although the truth of this is hotly contested. Meanwhile many boroughs' annual housing targets are laughably low, between 150 (City of London) and around 3,500 (Newham and Tower Hamlets). Not even a third of the 65,000 total that implies, however, is actually being delivered. It's nuts. None of this scenario diminishes by one iota (a name for a new crypto-currency?) the need for all those new homes in London. The state, us, must subsidise them, as argued in the previous leader. Whether this will come to pass in any meaningful sense is unclear. The current (at the time of writing) chancellor Sajid Javid is to spend like a drunken sailor on roads and hospitals. Theresa May has already unlaced the Treasury's hold on local government borrowing. But what has not yet changed is Right-to-Buy. Even the most right wing supporter of this cornerstone Thatcherite policy, must be aware that it remains the most powerful disincentive to local authorities to spend borrowed money, on which they must keep paying interest, only to be forced to sell off cheap the asset created in applying it. It is the most illogical of all the deeply illogical forces that distort the housing market. It has to change. The Left talks of transferring the right to buy to private sector tenants and of new rent and tenancy controls. That way madness lies, and history will repeat itself. But Right to Buy is a primary shibboleth that needs abolition or adjustment, whoever's in charge. n

Increasing house prices a result of cheap money, not growing demand When Sajid Javid was housing secretary he referred to our ‘broken housing market’, referring to the undersupply of new homes. Most people accept that Britain is not building enough homes, including the Bank of England. Writing in The Times, economics editor Philip Aldrick says it turns out we've been wrong and "skyrocketing prices, which have arisen 60 per cent above inflation since 2000, have more to do with the Bank than the builders. That's the Bank’s own finding.” The Bank’s Underground blog: “We find that the rise in real house prices since 2000 can be explained almost entirely by lower interest rates … increasing scarcity of housing has played a negligible role". They disaggregate housing into its two components: the asset (the property) and the service (meaning having a roof over your head), Aldrick explains. "If the problem is supply, with more people wanting a place than there are homes to accommodate them, the cost of the service ought to have risen. But the Bank found that rents, a proxy for housing services, have increased roughly in line with inflation. "That does imply that housing hasn't got significantly scarcer over the past two decades" he concludes. But what about the chronic shortage? he asks. "Ian Mulheirn, chief economist of Renewing, Tony Blair’s thinktank, says there isn't one. Official figures show that since 1996 English housing stock has grown 168,000 per year while household numbers have increased by 147,000. We now have a surplus of one million homes he estimates. This suggests that England needs only 160,000 homes a year, not the 250,000 in Mr Javid’s 2017 white paper. “This means that the explosion in house prices has been driven by falling interest rates. To many that may seem obvious. Low rates mean that borrowers can afford more debt and what they can afford, banks will lend. More money means higher prices and, hey presto, a boom. That is not a bubble even though house prices are now eight times average incomes compared with 4.5 times in the 1990s. Mortgages are as affordable today as they have always been because money is so cheap”. He concludes that rather than economic, the consequences have been social: pushing homes out of reach for those without rich parents, causing home ownership levels to tumble and leaving new borrowers with frightening levels of debt.

The global population is headed for a steep decline If the above analysis might worry house builders they might add to their misery by reading Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline by Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson. “For half a century, statisticians, pundits, and politicians have warned that a burgeoning planetary population will soon overwhelm the earth's resources. But a growing number of experts are sounding a different kind of alarm. Rather than growing exponentially, they argue, the global population is headed for a steep decline. Throughout history, depopulation was the product of catastrophe: ice ages, plagues, the collapse of civilisations. This time, however, we're thinning ourselves deliberately, by choosing to have fewer babies than we need to replace ourselves. In much of the developed and developing world, that decline is already underway as urbanisation, women's emposwerment, and waning religiosity lead to smaller and smaller families”.

Issue 111 October-December 2019





In Empty Planet, Ibbitson and Bricker travel from South Florida to Sao Paulo, Seoul to Nairobi, Brussels to Delhi to Beijing, drawing on a wealth of research and first hand reporting to illustrate the dramatic consequences of this population decline – and to show why the rest of the developing world will soon join in. The evidence suggests that the total global population will start a sharp decline around 2050 which, with an already ageing population in developed countries, will sharply reduce the world’s working age population. This trend has already commenced in Japan and several EU countries and the fertility rates in India and China are far below those necessary to maintain the size of their populations. Both robotisation of work and the availability of immigrants will become assets rather than concerns, as now, once the trend is acknowledged and, in so far as climate change is caused by population it will be selfcorrecting if not too late. So, are we building a future surplus of homes in London and the South East?

A tiered planning system is in the works A sort of a vision is beginning to emerge from MHCLG. Secretary of State Robert Jenrick in his conference announcements mentioned the introduction of a ‘new tiered planning system’ (SEE Briefing) and that the anticipated Green Paper on ‘accelerated planning’ would be published next month. Maybe all will become clear. We have previously dubbed the emergence of expanded Permitted Development rights, the Prior Notification process and ‘Planning in Principle’ as a shadow planning system borne out of frustration with the overburdened and laborious process we now have. That a clear, predictable hierarchy focussed on proportionate demands for and consideration of information requirements might emerge from government would be good. But (you knew there would be a but) laudable recent initiatives like Neighbourhood Plans and now a new National Design Guide and promised design codes seem to push in the opposite direction. Forgive us for the repetition, but under-resourced planning departments focussed on ‘development management’ and rarely qualified to assess viability appraisals or the quality of proposed architecture are simply being tasked with doing too much. Find ways to re-skill officers and boost their resources by all means but in parallel cut back their responsibilities by pushing all measurable criteria, such as minimum standards for housing, into Building Control. The Building Regulation process is a model of perfection and achievement compared with its old monopolistic self (are you old enough to remember the chaos of Middlesex House?). Competition may not be perfect but it works! If by restructuring planning around tiers of appropriate complexity, superfluous and gratuitous information and assessments can be stripped out and we might get somewhere. But there is then the baby-and-bathwater dilemma. Take Planning in Principle – establish first just the principle of acceptable development (like outline planning permissions of old) and then seek ‘technical approval’. Where does design quality assessment fit or does it get lost inbetween? Given that planning is a verbal and legalistic system it may be that worthwhile reform can best be achieved by introducing new processes and diminishing those that are failing. We can all look forward to lots of consultations. n 8

Planning in London

Guildhall Art Gallery 31 May – 1 December 2019


Image: © Julian Perry Photo: Jamie Smith



Planning in London


A quick fix for Hammersmith Bridge We set summer holiday homework for readers, inviting them to come up with a speedy way to reconnect Barnes with Hammersmith while lengthy repairs are contemplated

Please, please, please do not encourage quick fixes Hammersmith Bridge Quick Fix 1. Establish a temporary ferry service for pedestrians and cyclists; 1. Establish a temporary ferry service for pedestrians and cyclists; 2. Demolish Hammersmith Bridge; 3. Build a reinforced concrete 3 – arch bridge with a clearance of 6.1 metres above Mean High Water 2. (MHWS) Demolish Bridge; Springs for theHammersmith centre arch; 4. Don’t faff around with a design but use the Twickenham Bridge design that is one of three bridges built 3. Build a reinforced concrete 3 – arch bridge with a clearance of 6.1 to the same design (the others being Chiswick and Hampton Court) and all opened on the same day on metres above Mean High Water Springs (MHWS) for the centre arch; 3rd July 1933. They have performed well for 86 years with no weight restrictions. Twickenham Bridge (pictured below) is listed Grade II* for the quality of its design and its technical innovation. 4. Don’t faff around with a design competition use the Twickenham Bridge 5. Get on with it. design that is one of three bridges built to the same design (the others Reason: being Chiswick and Hampton Court) and all opened on the same day Hammersmith Bridge fit for purpose because: 1933. They have performed well for 86 years with no on 3rd Julyis not 1. It is, with the Albert Bridge, London’s weakest bridgeBridge over the is River Thames – before weight restrictions. Twickenham listed Grade II* its forclosure the it was limited toquality carrying one single decker and bus atits a time in addition to car traffic; of its design technical innovation. 2. It is a navigation hazard as the soffit is only 3.5 metres above MHWS when it should be at least 5.5 metres and,it. 5. above GetMHWS; on with 3. At 137 years old it is life expired and needs replacing. The Victorians had no qualms about replacing the original Hammersmith Bridge of 1827 when, after 60 Reason: years service, it could not take the weight of heavier road traffic. Please, please, pleaseBridge do not encourage as the best that will be achieved is propping it up – as Hammersmith is not fitquick for fixes purpose because: done by the GLC to Albert Bridge in 1973 as a temporary measure. The result is a navigation hazard of two 1. columns theAlbert middle of the riverLondon’s and a weightweakest limit of two tonnesover for a one flow of It is,placed withinthe Bridge, bridge theway River traffic. Thames – before its closure it was limited – Mike Adams, Adams Infrastructure Planning Ltd to carrying one single decker

bus at a time in addition to car traffic; 2. It is a navigation hazard as the soffit is only 3.5 metres above MHWS when it should be at least 5.5 metres above MHWS; and, 3. At 137 years old it is life expired and needs replacing. The Victorians had no qualms about replacing the original Hammersmith Bridge of 1827 when, after 60 years service, it could not take the weight of heavier road traffic. Please, please, please do not encourage quick fixes as the best that will be achieved is propping it up – as done by the GLC to Albert Bridge in 1973 as a temporary measure. The result is a navigation hazard of two columns placed in the middle of the river and a weight limit of two tonnes for a one way flow of traffic. Mike Adams, Adams Infrastructure Planning Ltd. 24th July 2019

Hammersmith Bridge was closed indefinitely last April as a result of "critical faults" found after a routine safety check carried out on the bridge. The bridge has not been a priority for repairs and it has been well known for years that work was needed. Management of the bridge is by Hammersmith and Fulham Council. A TfL spokesperson has told Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith: "Although funding the maintenance of the bridge is not TfL's responsibility, we are working with Hammersmith and Fulham Council to identify a final plan for upgrading their bridge. We are also ready to support them in identifying the necessary funding for this work. Keeping local authority infrastructure in good condition is essential to ensure the wider road network stays safe and productive and helps the economy grow. We need the certainty of a long-term steady and sustained funding arrangement to allow London to cover the costs of its own infrastructure maintenance." Bus routes 33, 72, 209, 419, 485 and 609 have been diverted or now stop short of their destinations. Recent announcements suggest that some £20m has been found to carry out interim repairs but these will take three years before the bridge can reopen for traffic. Cycles and pedestrians can use the bridge but Barnes and the near SW of London are cut off from Hammersmith putting pressure on other bridges. We invited readers to come up with a temporary crossing pending resolution of the long-term future for the bridge. We publish four responses and comments on them from another reader: The Port of London Authority, which has jurisdiction over the Thames. These are of course informal in the spirit of the exercise. Mike Adams calls for demolition (see LEFT) and reuse of the Twickenham bridge design and says ‘get on with it!’. Anthony Carlile suggests a barge bridge citing the Danube example which took just 60 days to establish. It impedes river traffic so PLA is less than keen. Beckett Rankine suggest building a parallel temcontinues on page 12.

Issue 111 October-December 2019




A temporary barge bridge across the Thames during repair works on Hammersmith bridge by An HAMMERSMITH (NORTH) Display Panels: Purchase and decorate one to help fund the bridge repairs


Hired barges with vehicle deck (resting on the river-bed (camp-shed) at low tide

Š Anthony Carlile Architects

Left: It took 60 days to install this temporary barge bridge across the river Danube at Novi Sad. At 9pm every evening a central section opened up to allow river trafć˜€c to pass.


Planning in London

nthony Carlile architects BARNES (SOUTH)


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Opening for small craft (circa 16x3.5m)

Right: On the Thames, a small section of the pontoon bridge could remain permanently open for smaller craft and for bigger boats one of the barges could swing open.

Issue 111 October-December 2019



The repairs to Hammersmith Bridge are estimated to take 3 years. In order to keep both the repair cost and works duration to a minimum the bridge needs to be closed to all traffic, including pedestrians. This proposal by Beckett Rankine is for a temporary replacement bridge installed alongside Hammersmith Bridge to provide a 7.5m carriageway plus a 1.5m footway. The temporary bridge would connect Queen Caroline St. in Hammersmith with Castelnau in Barnes. The temporary bridge uses standard off-the-shelf bridging units by RetroBridge which have sufficient capacity to carry double-decker buses. These units are supported on temporary piles and pilecaps. All construction, except for a small amount of work at each shore landing, would be done from the river. The design life for the temporary bridge is 10 years. On completion of repairs to Hammersmith Bridge the temporary bridge would be entirely removed. On receipt of consents the bridge could be operational within 3 months. The cost for construction, 3 years maintenance and removal would be £5m +VAT.


Planning in London

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Issue 111 October-December 2019




porary bridge using off-the-shelf bridge units. This will take just three months. PLA suggests this might work. Architects Adams + Collingwood offer a hybrid solution. Lifting the bridge off its piers; reusing them for a vierendeel structure to provide a new roadway and then reassembling the old bridge on top with lifts at each end to allow people to get on high to watch Cambridge beat Oxford in the annual boat races.

Existing Top

Existing Height

PLA’s verdicts

Old Deck

Existing Width

Solid pier extension

Existing Base

James Trimmer, PLA’s Director of Planning and Environment kindly comments: The PLA’s views on the navigational implications of each proposal, which you’ll appreciate are, at this stage, necessarily brief and informal and as such cannot bind the PLA if and when any applications are made to it for consent under the Port of London Act 1968 (as amended), are as follows: Arthur Vierendeel Structure

Adams New strong road deck The scheme looks, in principle to be a viable option, but would require further discussion on the details to ensure this was acceptable for river traffic as the tidal sets at Hammersmith are far stronger than those at Chiswick Bridge, which is situated on a much gentler bend in the river Anthony Carlile This scheme is unacceptable as it imposes severe and unacceptable restrictions to river traffic and the public right of navigation. The barges, particularly on the ebb tide, would also create significant turbulence and represent a hazard to nearby rowers who could be swept onto the barges.

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Planning in London

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Beckett Rankine The scheme (LEFT)looks, in principle, acceptable and we do feel that this entry has sought to understand the practicalities of crossing a publically navigable river. The positioning of the bridge piers is not ideal as they block the inshore (rowing) zone and would be quite challenging for rowers. The 40m span is quite narrow, but potentially achievable and would need some assessment as it is close to a significant bend. The big issue for the PLA would be when it is impossible to navigate through the span in the channel due to works on Hammersmith bridge closing the southern half of the bridge. The narrow arches give no leeway and so the river would be unnavigable at Low Water and at High Water for larger boats. It is likely that 40m spans can be used to the north, but near the channel larger spans will likely be needed. Adams + Collingwood The scheme appears to raise the entire bridge, which would seem to result in considerable disruption to river traffic during construction. Assuming the new deck would provide a comparable air draught to the existing bridge, there would be no material impact on the river on completion. n

Issue 111 October-December 2019



Repurposing bank branches – why heritage should come first Authorities are usually amenable to changes of use that strengthen consumer activities within the retail core but retaining each space’s character and historic feel is paramount says Kate Falconer Hall High street banks are closing in great numbers. Online banking is thriving and banking businesses are rationalising their portfolios in response to changing consumer behaviour. As a result, former bank buildings are coming to the market more frequently, offering the opportunity for a change of use and repurposing. The number of planning applications submitted for the change of use of former high street banks has increased by 10 per cent year on year, and by 1,000 per cent overall since 2014. More than a third of these applications have been for a change of use to cafés and restaurants (Planning Use Class A3) and bars (Planning Use Class A4) (source: EGi Article, 26 June 2019). Repurposing this sort of building is not always straightforward, but it often presents opportunities to create unique, quirky and design-led spaces that offer a new customer experience and add value to the property overall. Banks, by their very nature, are designed as inward looking, with fortress frontages that prevent full height glazing. Many former banks are listed, too: the remaining bastions of the Victorian high street which expanded throughout London in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Even with moves to reinvigorate the high street, traditional retail uses are not often suitable for former banks given retailers’ focus on maximising the extent of their display frontages. Cafés and restaurants are usually more popular for the ground floor. Meanwhile, now that security is less of an issue,


Planning in London

offices and residential on upper floors can both be successful where there are cellular banking offices to convert. In fact, a mix of new uses in these spaces can work especially well, driven by the design and character of each original building. An element of flexibility and creativity is necessary in reimagining these buildings given that many are the subject of heritage designations. Fortress frontages, for example, can provide privacy for diners as part of a restaurant use. High-end occupiers have also taken advantage of protected, lavish listed interiors to provide a specific dining or hospitality experience. In many instances where the building is listed, the interiors will be protected and the practical constraints of construction need factoring in where safes and other security features make repurposing harder. A complete strip out to create a ‘blank canvas’ for a new interior is therefore unlikely to be achievable and can have legal and cost repercussions if this is not understood at the outset. There are some well-known examples of where this has been done successfully though, including The Ned and The Banking Hall in the City, as well as Les 110 de Taillevent in the West End’s Cavendish Square. Arguably this works especially well in London and other cities where there is a critical mass of the population willing to spend their disposable income in these higher end establishments. Banks, unlike other retail premises, tend to be

Kate Falconer Hall is an associate with Montagu Evans

accepted more by communities as an inevitability of the changing high street landscape, arguably because branch closures have been a fixture for many years. The restaurants, work spaces, homes and community uses that repurposing such buildings can bring is part of a wider story about reinvigorating the high street through sustainable, complementary uses that can support the traditional retail core. From a rating point of view, many of these architecturally significant buildings have proved ideal for café or pub operators rather than retailers. The change in use may well re-orientate any rating assessment from a retail-driven rateable value to one reflecting trade. This type of assessment, it could be argued, is more in tune with market demand giving more scope for predictability in operator budgets. Certainly, any listing will be helpful to landlords where the rental market is sluggish because empty listed buildings are exempt from business rates. But while the design and construction challenges and benefits increase with this type of project, important always is the attitude of the local planning authority. In our experience, local authorities are usually amenable to changes of use that strengthen consumer activities within the retail core. The principal high street is often designated as a primary shopping area in an attempt to prevent further high street decline and to revitalise town centre vibrancy through greater occupancy. With heritage buildings, however, it is retaining each space’s overall character and historic feel that is paramount. Survival of significant listed interiors varies greatly with each building so there is no template for repurposing. Instead, case-by-case advice should be sought as early as possible to ensure a constructive dialogue with the local planning authority that will help successfully deliver these increasing opportunities. n


The appropriation of public land The elevation of privatisation to the status of the default ideological and policy stance has been enormously damaging for Britain’s economy and society both at the national level and locally argues Brett Christophers In March 2019, investigative research carried out by reporters for the Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed a spate of disposals of land by local authorities across the UK since 2014/15. Some of the heaviest selling had occurred in London: between them, just three North London councils – Camden, Haringey and Barnet – had raised some £684m from land and property disposals during that period. Public land disposal in Britain is the topic of my 2018 book, The New Enclosure. While disposals by local authorities in the past five years have attracted public attention, the book shows that this is just the tip of a much larger iceberg. It is not only local authorities that have been selling, and it is not just in recent years. Since the end of the 1970s, bodies across the full gamut of the public sector have consistently been selling land. And they have been selling it almost exclusively to private-sector buyers. Public land has, in short, been substantially privatised. Though this 40-year process of privatisation has until now escaped scrutiny, it has been a colossal phenomenon whichever way one chooses to look at it. If one includes land that was transferred to the private sector when the nationalized industries (such as the water authorities) were privatised, some 2m hectares, or about 10 percent of Britain by area, have been sold; if one excludes such land, the total is only marginally smaller – around 1.6m hectares, or 8 percent of Britain. By my estimates, the land that has been sold is in total worth upwards of £400bn in today’s prices. Partly the book is concerned with the question of why and how this has happened. Here, the short answer is that since the beginning of the 1980s, the UK has had governments convinced to one degree or another by the neoliberal logic that all state assets – not just land – are better off held by the private sector and allocated through market mechanisms. Those

governments have coaxed, cajoled and sometimes compelled public-sector bodies of all stripes (some of whom have been amenable, others much less so) to free up ‘surplus’ land and sell it off. The book is also very much concerned with consequences. What has extensive land privatisation led to? I point to three main sets of consequences. The first is the growth of ‘rentier’ institutions realizing vast profits from monopolistic control of the land that has been released. The second is the growth of land banking: land that critics of ‘big’ government claimed that the public sector was hoarding (but for

Across Britain as a whole only in the region of 10 per cent of land is today still in public ownership, whereas recent research suggests that in Greater London the figure rises to around 25 per cent. In London, then, the stakes are arguably highest. which they supplied no evidence) is now being hoarded by the private sector, not least by developers that the government had hoped would use the land to accelerate housebuilding. And thirdly, there has been widespread social dislocation. The private sector is failing to use ex-public land to provide socially-vital goods – such as genuinely affordable housing – that the public sector often did use it for when it was still in public ownership. It has been immensely gratifying to see that thanks in part to reviews in places such as the

Brett Christophers is professor in the Department of Social and Economic Geography at Uppsala University

Guardian and Financial Times, The New Enclosure has escaped the confines of academe and entered the broader political consciousness in the UK. Investigations such as that carried out by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism have put the fate of public land in the spotlight, triggering a wider discussion of the issues at stake, and my book is seemingly part of that discussion. It has particular relevance to London. Not only is the pressure to release land for housebuilding more intense on major landholding public bodies in London (such as local authorities and Transport for London) than it is elsewhere, which is a reflection in part of the particular acuteness of the local housing crisis. But, despite decades of sales, there also remains proportionately more public land: across Britain as a whole only in the region of 10 percent of land is today still in public ownership, whereas recent research suggests that in Greater London the figure rises to around 25 percent. In London, then, the stakes are arguably highest. The argument of The New Enclosure is not that public land should never be sold to the private sector. It is that the elevation of privatisation to the status of the default ideological and policy stance, which is what it has been for four decades, has been enormously damaging for Britain’s economy and society both at the national level and locally. Perhaps sometimes land can be productively privatised. But sometimes it should be retained in public ownership – or indeed returned to public ownership – and sometimes community or charity ownership would be a more progressive alternative. The deep and careful thinking necessary to figuring out what the best options are in different circumstances, and for different interest groups, remains in large part to be done. n The New Enclosure: The Appropriation of Public Land in Neoliberal Britain – Hardcover is available from Amazon


Planning in London


New CIL regulations bring some flexibility With the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2019 coming into force on 1st September, it has been a long road to reach this point says Keith Lancaster Starting with the independent review into the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and its relationship with planning obligations back in November 2015 a report published in February 2017 concluded the system of developer contributions was not as simple, certain or transparent as originally intended. The Government’s response, its 2017 Autumn Budget, led to consultation on reforming developer contributions for affordable housing and infrastructure (March 2018). The consultation focussed on short term reform and formed part of the Government’s multi-pronged approach to delivering more homes to enable home ownership. The consultation proposals focussed on: • Reducing complexity and increasing certainty for all stakeholders; • Supporting quicker development; • Improving the market responsiveness of CIL; • Increasing the transparency of how contributions were spent; and

CIL Charging Schedule for Kensington and Chelsea The Community Infrastructure Levy is a charge on new development, to fund infrastructure. It is being introduced by many councils across the country and rates vary by location and type of development. This report indicates the current status of charging in Kensington and Chelsea as of 22.06.15, and the rates proposed or adopted. Status: No CIL Schedule Published Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule Draft Charging Schedule Adopted Mayoral Charge Only


Charge per square metre Rate 1

All development in Zone G (Earl's Court) All development in Zone H (Kensal Strategic Site)


Residential Zone A (C3 & short lets)


Residential Zone A (extra care housing)


Residential Zone B (C3 & short lets)


Residential Zone B (extra care housing)


Residential Zone C (C3 & short lets)


Residential Zone C (extra care housing)


Residential Zone D (C3 & short lets)


Residential Zone D (extra care housing)


Residential Zone E (C3 & short lets)


Residential Zone E (extra care housing) Residential Zone F (C3 & short lets) Residential Zone F (extra care housing)

£110 -

Hotels Zone A-F


Student Accommodation Zone A-F


All other chargeable development


Additional Mayoral CIL


All Uses, except Mayoral exemptions (eg education & health)


Find CIL schedules at


Planning in London

• Introducing a new strategic tariff. Whilst CIL established the payment of contributions for additional necessary infrastructure caused by the cumulative effects of development via a more standardised approach, contributions outside the remit of CIL have remained secured by negotiated planning obligations. The former was intended to be faster with greater certainty. Nonetheless, despite what is committed through planning obligations is not necessarily collected, due to renegotiation or lapsed permissions, the uptake of CIL has been sporadic to say the least and has not met its originally envisaged objectives. Its application around the country has been, at best, like a patchwork quilt with some very big holes in it and its existence next to planning obligations does not always sit easily. One major claim against both contribution mechanisms is that they have not kept pace with increases in land and house price value thereby failing to capture an adequate proportion of development value for wider public and community benefit. The flip side of this unresponsiveness is to render development unviable in struggling market conditions. The Government’s autumn 2018 response followed and hot on its heels the technical consultation on draft legislation to amend CIL (December 2018) and most recently the Government’s response (June 2019). Blinking now into the legislative light are the 2019 Regs crystallising the reforms the Government is taking forward to make developer contributions less complex and more transparent. Much is welcome. The improved flexibility in approach to consultation requirements for setting and revising charging schedules, clarifying the bodies to be consulted (including the Mayor for London Boroughs) and backing the changes with updated guidance. Then there is one of the headline changes, the removal of the pooling restriction across England and Reg 123 lists. The encouragement by the Government to consult on the impacts of ceasing to charge is little more than lip-service to what should be widely welcomed having caused much uncertainty and delay for planners, lawyers, their clients and

Keith Lancaster is a Senior Associate at Blake Morgan LLP

authorities alike. Despite concerns raised during consultation over double dipping the fact is that the flexibility to be able to use both mechanisms will help address the problems encountered with the timing of CIL receipts which has caused delay to key infrastructure, the authorities unable to procure timely delivery, and has been long recognised and accepted as a problem. The harsh application of CIL is softened, slightly, with the replacement of the loss of relief or exemption for relevant developments with a grace period for service of commencement notices and a mandatory penalty charge, of up to £2,500, unless the costs of recovery outweigh the charge. Further softening is seen in relation to the balancing of overall CIL liability for phased development first permitted before CIL was in force in an area but then amended and to be further clarified through amended guidance. The requirement for Infrastructure Funding Statements, eventually by the end of 2020, is also welcome. However, certain nettles remain to be grasped. Most notably addressing the need to capture an amount which better represents infrastructure needs and the value generated through planning permissions. This was proposed via amendments to indexation but this has not been pursued because of concern about its complexity. Nonetheless, Government commitment to this issue and a new CIL Index to be produced by RICS. The strength of planning obligations has always been their flexibility justified on a development by development basis. Over the years the stricter CIL regime has had to acknowledge some of the flexibility required for planning and developing in the real world and the 2019 Reg amendments are a further welcome reflection of this fact. n


Clerkenwell Close farce shows that design and planning are not indivisible There seems to be a fundamentalist attitude on the part of some planners that nobody can do anything unless they have given it a permission says Paul Finch It is official government policy that ‘good design is indivisible from good planning’. This has become something of a mantra for planning barristers representing local authorities trying to veto perfectly good designs. Their line is that any of their approved planning policies equals good planning, and therefore anything that does not conform with the policy 100 per cent must be bad design. If it were good, it would conform. This is an Alice in Wonderland world in which words mean what the person using them says they mean – a sure-fire formula for muddled thinking. Let us take one simple example: for many years, Southwark Council had a policy stating that no tall buildings should be developed around London Bridge Station. Then along came the Shard proposal, which

was in complete contravention of multiple Southwark policies, including height. Funnily enough, the ‘good’ planning policy turned out to be very divisible from the ‘bad’ design. The planning policy changed and the Shard was approved by Southwark, confirmed on appeal after a public inquiry was demanded by the heritage brigade. The council claimed Taha’s project as designed, if submitted today, would not get permission because it does not conform with planning policy The latest example of muddle is the farce of Islington Council’s bid to get Amin Taha’s award-winning housing and studio scheme, off Clerkenwell Green, demolished. Last week, a level-headed appeal inspector overturned the council enforcement notice. However, the question of indivisibility arose again

Paul Finch is editorial director of the Architects’ Journal and AR and joint publishing editor of Planning in London

because the council claimed that the project as designed, if submitted today, would not get permission because it does not conform with planning policy. Since the design has already won several architectural awards, it suggests that good design is extremely divisible from good planning, if the latter is what you imagine has been produced by Islington Council past and present. Some of its planning and conservation officers appear more interested in sticking rigidly to their point of view than promoting design excellence in the borough. There seems to be a fundamentalist attitude on the part of some planners that nobody can do anything unless they have given it a permission. Actually, you can build anything you like on land you control unless there are legal reasons why you should not do so. In practice this usually (though certainly not always) means applying for planning permission for a project of any significance, but the default position is that it is for the planning authority to say why you should not get permission, not for you to prove your innocence, as it were. That is why there are such howls of disapproval when the subject of permitted development is raised – the priests are being told they are no longer in charge of prayers. In principle, as long as they meet building and fire regs plus minimum space standards, I am in favour of PD projects. It would do everyone a favour if we could transfer matters that have nothing to do with planning (eg those useless cut-and-paste environmental impact statements) to building control. Planners could then go about the proper business of real proactive planning, instead of acting like the warden in Dad’s Army, with his own special mantra: ‘You can’t do that!’ n First published in the AJ, with kind consent


Issue 111 October-December 2019



Planning authorities want to set their own application fees Should councils be allowed to set planning fees to help deal with austerity cuts? asks Andrew Rogers At the end of August the House of Commons Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee issued its latest report: Local government finance and the 2019 Spending Review (yes, despite everything such parliamentary machinery still operates). Buried at the end amongst the small print (and believe me, if you print it out from the website then the 6-point print is extremely small) of the report’s conclusions is a suggestion that “in general, the level of fees is best decided locally”.

While there would be a wide range of charges, there is equally an alarmingly varied standard of service Now this has raised the hoary old question of how planning fees are calculated, despite the fact that the report is concerned in the aforementioned small print with fees for adult social care, business rate retention, council tax revaluation, and so on. This may be because the report adds: “Central government should not dictate fees for services, such as planning, at a level that means councils are unable to recover their costs.” But since when have “services, such as planning” been required always to recover their actual costs? Originally the planning system was a public service that operated free of charge to all in the interests of good husbandry of the environment, like refuse collection, street lighting or law enforcement. And a proposal to make the costs of such services recoverable, whether in the interests of good management (austerity by another name?) or simply to provide an easy revenue stream, opens a whole other debate. There’s no doubt that planning and development services are expensive to provide – and are expected to see a 16.5 per cent increase in expenditure over


Planning in London

the year, up from £1 billion to £1.2 billion according to the Local Authority Revenue Expenditure and Financing: 2019-20 Budget, England, published by the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government. But equally, Boris and Sajid have just announced the end of austerity. And the problem, as many will testify, is that the quality and reliability of advice on offer varies enormously. So while there would be a wide range of charges, there is equally an alarmingly varied standard of service and economic viability. If only the reality were likely to match the aspiration: would higher fees inevitably raise (or even maintain) standards? I ask myself. For sure, the planning system varies widely across the country, both in how speedily it operates and in the quality of service. But setting fees locally will mean, as the Association of Consultant Architects has argued before, that the system must be opened to commercial competition because nobody likes a monopoly. This would allow applications to be processed by other authorities or by registered providers while the decision will always be taken by the local planning authority. That would encourage those that perform poorly to improve, and could even create a development boom.

The system must be opened to commercial competition because nobody likes a monopoly. This would allow applications to be processed by other authorities or by registered providers while the decision will always be taken by the local planning authority

Andrew Rogers chairs the ACA’s Planning Action Group and is a former director of The Manser Practice

The main concern was that payments might undermine trust in local planning processes The government has now announced that ouncils will be able to raise application fees in return for better service. Does this mean that people from other areas are going to be allowed to have their planning applications processed by those councils that offer an enhanced (and more expensive) service? - we should be told. So it all comes down to money, but that is surely not always the answer. In 2014 the government commissioned research into the possible effect of financial payments, known as Development Benefits, on planning for new housing. The research focused particularly on whether direct financial payments to individuals who are likely to oppose house building might reduce local opposition to housing development. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it concluded that any potential benefits of financial payments would be outweighed by other, negative, effects. The main concern was that payments might undermine trust in local planning processes. The same objections apply to locally set planning fees. The Chief Executives of Councils today are often financiers or accountants, with a background in the commercial world. They will have to consider how well their systems would cope with competition, economic pressures and monetary audits, before they go for variable planning fees. n


Who gets a new runway first – LHR or LGW? Even if Heathrow and/or Gatwick get consented, we may not know whether either runway will become operational for several more years explains Angus Walker Heathrow is looking to build a third runway, and Gatwick is considering bringing its emergency runway into full use now that the embargo on it doing so was lifted in August. Who will get there first? Heathrow has a lot going for it – it has, or at least had, full government support, and has a huge team working away at preparing an application for a Development Consent Order (DCO).  There are some bumps in the road, however. The new prime minister is a former opponent of Heathrow expansion and may still harbour some residual opposition. A recent Parliamentary answer suggested some distance being inserted between the new and old administrations: 'The Court of Appeal has granted permission to hear from appellants in October this year. This follows the High Court’s decision to dismiss all 26 grounds raised in the judicial review of the previous Secretary of State’s decision to designate the Airports National Policy Statement.'. The judicial review referred to is of the government's confirmation of its policy to allow a new runway at Heathrow, which is to cover such unlikely subjects as orchids.  A consultation on Heathrow’s proposals concluded on 13 September, and despite containing a huge amount of documentation, reveals that a fair amount

of the assessments and proposed mitigation have yet to be undertaken. The plan is nevertheless for an application to be made next year. The project is also very complicated, involving putting part of the M25 in a tunnel so that the new runway can run above it, and diverting five rivers. The Airports Commission in recommending Heathrow considered the economic benefits to be high but the environmental impacts also to be high. There is thus a lot to do on managing and mitigating the impacts of expansion, particularly in the areas of air quality, surface transport and aircraft noise. Gatwick on the other hand doesn’t have a National Policy Statement in support of it, but there is a general policy for airports other than Heathrow to 'make best use of their existing runways'. Gatwick’s emergency runway exists, so there is therefore policy support for making best use of it. Voila! Gatwick hasn't yet carried out the required consultation exercise so is behind in that respect, but will be able to be more agile in developing its plans as the project is a lot less complex and will only need other people’s land for transport improvements. The Airports Commission concluded that the economic benefits were less than Heathrow (which Gatwick disputes but Heathrow agrees with) and the environ-

Angus Walker is a partner in BDB Pitmans LLP

mental impacts were also less – noise will affect considerably fewer people and air quality is at a lot less risk of exceeding European pollution thresholds, for example. The government therefore appears, not necessarily deliberately, to have allowed both projects to proceed. Is the stage set for a battle royale? There are actually four choices: Heathrow, Gatwick, both or neither. Letting both continue if they see fit may be the best outcome for air passengers as it will effectively leave it to market forces to decide whether either airport should expand. Market forces may not just decide whether either airport makes an application for a Development Consent Order, but even if a DCO is granted, whether it is worth building the extension. That is because a DCO will contain what are known as ‘requirements’, similar to planning conditions. These can limit the project in several ways: • limits on what is built, e.g phasing of the project, • limits on what is operated, e.g. a cap on the number of flights, • preconditions before construction can start, e.g. ecological compensation to be provided, and • preconditions before operation can start, e.g. noise insulation provision. If the requirements are too onerous, it is possible that no funder will be willing to back the project because of the difficulties in getting it built and operated. In the DCO regime to date, quite a few projects have been consented but not built, for various reasons including funding. Projects have also not gone ahead because by the time they get through the planning system they are not needed any more, or not needed enough to justify building them. Thus even if Heathrow and/or Gatwick get consented, we may not know whether either runway will become operational for several more years. n

Issue 111 October-December 2019



Lessons from a loose researcher Julia Park on lies, statistics and those tricky decimal points

Research is a curious and privileged occupation that can take many forms. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as, ‘The systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions’. As so much research is now commissioned by private companies or individuals, they might like to add in, ‘unbiased’, next time the definition is reviewed. Much of what I do falls some way short of that formal definition. I am happy to describe myself as a ‘loose researcher’ not least because, like many others, I rely heavily on other people’s work. I am usually doing no more than reading, thinking, testing and writing. As that rarely involves the primary research, which tends to be difficult to find and often impenetrable, an element of Chinese whispers has to be accepted. When I do come up with ideas, they’re usually practical, rather than inspirational. Housing policy and standards is a strange obsession for someone who is fundamentally not keen on rules at all, but having accepted that rules are often necessary because not everyone can be trusted to do the right thing (just look at what’s being produced under PDR), it’s pretty important that they are sensible and remain relevant. The devil is often in the detail, particularly when standards become regulation – a difference that is often under-appreciated. When Lifetime Homes was introduced in the early 1990s, the vast majority of new homes were houses, even in London. By the time Habinteg took over, flats had become the norm in all major cities. Persuading the standardbearers that in apartment blocks, plumbing and drainage can’t simply meander around between floorboards, and that reasonable access to a WC could be achieved with a basin alongside if the basin was pushed back a bit, was difficult. Two years later, they accepted that effectively requiring every fitting to be on a different wall was awkward to build, and that the boxing required to conceal pipework added a large amount of unusable space to the gross area of the bathroom. It rarely looked good and I put it to them that it risked being ripped out and replaced with something easier to


Planning in London

live with, but almost certainly less accessible. The only beneficiary would be landfill. We haven’t solved the issue in wheelchair housing but thankfully the ‘three-in-a-row bathroom’ is now possible at Category 2. The phrase ‘by asking for a bit less, you Julia Park is head of often end up with a bit more’, passed on by a wise housing research at civil servant, has stayed with me. He also happened Levitt Bernstein to mention that the 800mm zone next to the WC came from a study of just 15 wheelchair users. back to at least 1996, possibly to 1980. He pointed As a vocal proponent of space standards, the out that the EHS (English Housing Survey) for 2014question I am most frequently asked (and the one I 15 shows that the average size of UK homes built dread most) is, ‘Why are UK homes the smallest in since 2005, is 87 sq m. An article published in the Europe?’ This claim is always attributed to the RIBA. RIBA Journal in February 2017 concluded that UK homes are now very similar in size to those in France and Germany. People hate it when I tell them any of this because ‘rabbit hutch Britain’ makes a much more effective strapline. Since then, I’ve become more suspicious about statistics. A blog in Construction Buzz a few months ago caught my eye. Looking at the potential demand for ‘upward extensions’, it reported that developers have identified that 180,000 rooftop homes could be created in London with ‘potential to house 720,000 people’. Four people per extension seemed a bit ambitious but that wasn’t the most surprising figure. The research also looked at the number of people per square metre in major UK cities. The results were astonishing: Brighton and Hove has the highest concentration at 10 people A report it published in 2010 included a table of per square metre. Leeds has eight, London seven, European comparators which revealed that the aver- Portsmouth, Manchester, Newcastle and age size of all UK homes was 85 sq m; the average of Nottingham, six. newly built homes, 76 sq m. Under both criteria, Could this really be true? Might they have added Denmark had the largest homes, (108 sq m and 137 in all the upper floor space to the base area of each sq m respectively). The table dated back to 2005. city? That seemed unlikely. Is it something for Radio When, in 2017, I wrote a book, One Hundred 4’s More or Less? I decided to call the company Years of Housing Space Standards: What Now, I named in the blog to find out more. The chap at the included the same table, with the source and the end of the phone asked how he could help. Referring 2005 date. I attributed it to a Cambridge professor to the research I asked how 10 people could physiwho had published it in 2014. I didn’t attempt to cally fit into a square metre. Even three would be a source the original data on the basis that if it was squeeze, wouldn’t it? How does anyone move good enough for him, it was good enough for me. around? There must be some empty squares. Does Only it wasn’t. I received an email from a reader that mean others have 20 people in them? He who had tracked down the origin of the UK data for agreed it sounded a lot, but couldn’t help directly new homes. The figure of 76sq m appears to date because his company sells building products (insula- >>>

An article published in the RIBA Journal in February 2017 concluded that UK homes are now very similar in size to those in France and Germany. People hate it when I tell them any of this because ‘rabbit hutch Britain’ makes a much more effective strapline



Over-regulation of rental housing The tax treatment, obligations to pay in kind (providing affordable housing) and regulation of landlords, cannot be allowed to demotivate institutions from providing rental housing says Brian Dowling Part of the charm of living in a city whilst working for the property industry is that you appreciate that, although technology and comforts evolve, and building styles change, people’s own needs and motivations don’t really change as much. You can walk down a street containing Victorian, 1930’s, post-war, and new-build housing and realise that with every building and scheme, it is located there because at the time it was built, the person building it had the opportunity and motivation to do so, and there was a demand for what they were proposing to do. You can trace where, as governments changed, policy and regulation enabled or prevented particular designs and schemes going ahead. A property lawyer can then look at the title documents and leases and perceive that, although the wording hopefully gets more modern as time goes on, the fundamental concerns of people trying to improve and share out physical space remain the same. You can see the big purpose built mansion blocks in central and inner London and hear that these were built for rental by institutions such as insurance companies, from the 1900s onwards. You then hear that these institutions steadily vacated the private rented sector from the 1960’s onward, mainly

because of rent control. So, we hear, there was a demand for private rented housing, provided efficiently by institutions on a long term basis, but government intervention (apparently) took away the motivation and opportunity to meet that demand. This triggered a mass selloff of such housing, with the rise of private leasehold flats as a result. We are all reminded of this whenever politicians or tenants call for rent control or residential tenancy reform. There is a great book on this called Cities Housing and Profits by Chris Hamnett and Bill Randolph (Routledge, 1988). This book looked at that ‘break up’ of the private rented portfolios in London and challenged the received wisdom that the sole cause of this trend was the introduction of rent controls in the UK. The authors pointed out that the real motivation behind the trend was actually that the rise in owner occupation, enabled by easy access to mortgage finance from banks and building societies, created a value gap between landlords’ decisions to hold residential property and rent it out at a capped rate, or sell it to people who wanted to move in. The motivation or incentive wasn’t there to build and hold private rented property, it was to sell off such property

>>> tion mainly…). Did he know where the numbers had come from? Keen to please, he took my details and said he would ask the independent research company to get in touch. I heard from them the next day. The data sources looked sound. The population figures came from the ONS, the area of the cities from another reputable website. The methodology was straightforward too: the number of people living in each city was simply divided by the area of the city in square metres. It all seemed to work – our cities really do seem to heaving. At the end of the day it was still niggling away. I went back through the data. The city areas were originally in square kilometres. Instead of multiplying by 1,000,000 to convert to square metres, someone had multiplied by 1,000. Feeling vindicated (and sympathetic), I let the researchers know. The moral of all this? Use reliable sources and always attribute the data you use. While you can’t

check everything, try to trace back to primary sources when the data is central to your work or your conclusions. When you’re carrying out any kind of research (even the loose type) get someone else to read it. Whether it’s your own work or someone else’s, stand back and ask yourself whether something at least feels plausible. Save your calculations and if a number feels seriously wrong, start by checking the decimal point; it could save a lot of time and trouble. How much space do Brighton and Hove-ians really have? 109sq m each (assuming my maths is correct…). Incidentally, the ONS data behind this work is fascinating. Next time you feel like a loose researcher, you might like to take a look. n

First published by BDonline with kind consent:

Brian Dowling is a real estate partner in the south coast development team at Irwin Mitchell

and build housing for sale. So, does an ancient text reveal that rent control is actually fine? In my opinion, not quite. The point that the book reveals, and that a ramble around London (apologies) supports is that people only buy and build this stuff if it is worthwhile. If as a society we rely on the private sector to build housing, and an army of private individuals to buy such property and let it out, then the tax and regulation of that sector cannot discourage what we (the public) want or need them to do. If we want to supplant the private sector, and provide more public funded housing, that is a democratic choice. It will take time but we have provided council and public housing before. However, it seems risky to hope that the individuals comprising the private sector will continue to provide five million households with a roof, if rents are centrally set, at a low level, that caps are restricted, and that it will be harder to move tenants out if your circumstances as a landlord change. These reforms are all proposed by the Mayor of London. If it doesn’t get harder for owner occupiers to buy a house, then landlords will sell to the people able to afford to buy. Those who cannot buy or do not want to would still need a home, and that would need to be provided either by the public sector, or perhaps by a resurgence of the institutions. But as discussed, the conditions need to be there to motivate them to do that. The tax treatment, obligations to pay in kind by providing affordable housing, and the regulation of landlords, cannot be allowed to add up to demotivate the institutions from providing this housing. If it is simpler for them to invest elsewhere, they will have to do so, and as previous experience shows this will have lasting impacts on what space is made available to society in future. n

Issue 111 October-December 2019



Call for an objective look at PD housing conversions Permitted Development Rights for office-to-resi conversions have failed says Julia Park If someone had told me five years ago that people would be soon be living in car parks in tiny, sometime windowless, homes, I wouldn’t have believed them. I’m sure most people would have reacted in the same way, including the politicians who brought in the policy that allows this to become a reality. I’m talking, of course, about the permitted development rights (PDR) that allow offices to be converted to housing without requiring planning permission. Introduced in 2013, for a three-year trial period, this form of PDR (Class O) has been a permanent fixture since May 2016. Designed to boost housing delivery after the global crash, it was another arrow in the government’s quiver aimed at increasing output through deregulation. It wasn’t entirely misguided and I was sincere when I said that the sort of homes we are now seeing was not what Ministers intended. But given the dysfunctional nature of our housing market, it was at best naïve to assume that, free from the shackles of planning policy and standards, all developers would behave well. Some have, but many others have exploited the loophole they were given and cut as many corners as they can, largely in pursuit of profit, and often at the expense of those with the least housing choice. The government’s own estimate of the number of Prior Approvals that could be expected each year was also wildly off the mark. Instead of the 140 per year they predicted, 6,500 PDR schemes were notified in 2014 alone. There is still nothing intrinsically wrong about converting offices to housing but there are, or should be, some basic caveats: • The location should be suitable and accessible


Planning in London

• The housing should provide the basic attributes that we value and expect • The communal spaces and the public realm should be safe and well-managed • The development should include, or provide funding for, some affordable housing • The end result should be environmentally sustainable and extend the useful life of the building by at least 60 years • The office space should be genuinely redundant • The community should be involved in the process. It all sounds reasonable but very few PDR schemes fulfil even half of these objectives. As architects, we are particularly concerned about the quality of the housing. It’s proved very difficult to assess the adequacy of the living conditions because so little information is required for a Prior Approval notification. This is alarming but not surprising – the whole point of PDR is to reduce the number of factors over which planning authorities have control, to a handful. The premise, I assume, is that the buildings already exist and would have been subject to planning scrutiny at some point in the past. The mistake is to assume they will make good housing in the future. Some PDR conversions should never have taken place at all; Newbury House in Ilford, Terminus House in Harlow, and Wellstones in Watford, are all in locations that are fundamentally unsuited to residential use. Remember the promise in the Housing White Paper – ‘the right homes in the right places’? Under PDR, neither location nor dwelling type is a material consideration. In truth, very few office buildings will good housing in anything like their current form – and that’s not surprising; we wouldn’t design an office in the same way that we would design housing. That’s not to say that these conversions are doomed to fail; it’s simply stating that considerable internal and external modifications are usually needed for the change of use to succeed. Between the planning system and Building Control, we already have the means to safeguard a range of essential housing attributes. Where these national and local standards apply, they are largely effective in ensuring that new homes are reasonably safe, secure, spacious, light, accessible, sound-

Julia Park is head of housing research at Levitt Bernstein

proof, ventilated and thermally comfortable. Planning also considers location and context, and typically requires outdoor amenity space and an appropriate mix of dwelling types and tenures. The current system is far from perfect; standards for internal space and daylight should be taken into regulation and many parts of the existing regs need to be improved and extended to cover conversions. Approved Documents should be shorter, clearer and more effective. And while some planning documents, and some planning officers, are over-zealous, others are too slack. It can be frustrating for everyone – not least the committed clients, talented designers and builders who pride themselves on the quality of their work and are perfectly able to produce great housing without rules. But those who call for liberalisation should be careful what they wish for. PDR has exposed just how low some developers are prepared to stoop. When you catch yourself thinking that homes of 20 sq m look ‘quite big’ and two windows is ‘generous’, it’s a sign that something has been allowed to go badly wrong. Annoying and imperfect though it may be; it has never been clearer that development control has an essential role to play in safeguarding the quality of the built environment. While those who take a responsible approach have nothing to fear from sensible standards, those who are minded to cut corners must be held to account, particularly when health and wellbeing are at stake. That’s why we want the government to look objectively at the consequences of this policy. Please sign our petition: n

SEE: Farrell’s Peter Barbalov calls for a new PDR+ on page 85

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Issue 103 October-December 2017



BRIEFING Did you miss ‘spending round 2019’? BDB Pitmans’ Angus Walker analyses Spending Round 2019’s implications for infrastructure. You would be forgiven for missing new Chancellor Sajid Javid’s ‘Spending Round 2019’ announcement early last month. It is relatively short at 50 pages and is the Government’s proposed spending for the financial year 2020-21; a multi-year proposal will follow next year that will ‘take into account the nature of Brexit’. Here is what this document means for infrastructure. The main item is that ‘later in the autumn’ (so we can note that in civil service speak, autumn had now started), the Government will publish a National Infrastructure Strategy. This will presumably be, or at least contain, the Government’s response to the National Infrastructure Commission’s National Infrastructure Assessment, which it published in July 2018 and to which the Government was supposed to respond in a year. Perhaps the NIC will issue an NIR (reply) to the NIS response to the NIA, Angus Walker comments.

Relevant department-specific announcements are as follows: • Defra is to receive £30 million more for air quality (perhaps supporting local authorities’ clean air zones, although rather short of the £1.5 billion called for by local authority leaders this week), £30 million for terrestrial and marine biodiversity, climate change mitigation and adaptation and related items; • the DfT is to receive £200 million for low-emission buses and on-demand bus trials (is an ondemand bus really a big taxi?), £1.1 billion for the Strategic Road Network, £275 million for ‘maintaining rail infrastructure’, and unspecified ‘support’ for major transport projects such as the Leeds to Manchester route of Northern Powerhouse Rail, and East West rail links in the CaMKoX (Cambridge to Oxford Arc); • BEIS is to receive £243 million extra for the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency; and • MHCLG is to receive ‘continued funding’ for the Midlands Engine and Northern Powerhouse. n


Planning in London

Creating a planning system that works: Labour’s Planning Commission BECG recently held a Breakfast Roundtable with Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, the Shadow Planning Minister, to discuss and answer questions on the Labour Party’s Planning Commission, joined by 20 senior stakeholders from housebuilders, developers and the planning sector. At their 2018 Party Conference, the Labour Party announced a commission into the planning system, which covers all aspects of the planning process, including the necessary infrastructure to underpin new development and crucial aspects of any proposed development such as affordable housing. Led by Roberta, the Commission is far reaching, looking to create a new planning system that will both encourage new development as well as rebalance the economy. Planning is a passion of Roberta’s – she has been Shadow Planning Minister on and off since 2011, and she has also sat on planning committees during her past life as a councillor in Oxford and Newcastle – and this could be the defining work of her political career. BECG’s Roundtable gave her an opportunity to share the Commission’s early findings, get feedback, and answer questions about the direction of the future policy. Encouraging a plan-led system Whatever the final recommendations are of the Labour Planning Commission, it’s clear that development plans will be a key driver. For Roberta it’s about ensuring that the plans make sense and work together. It’s expected that there will be four ‘tiers’ of plans: national, regional, local and ‘community’, which will replace Neighbourhood Plans. The new national plan will look at where infrastructure is needed, when it’s needed by, and who they might be funded, while the Community Plans – which will likely be at district ward level rather than parishes, will not be allowed to get away with palming development off on their neighbours, because they’ll have to have one too. Getting communities excited by planning Community plans are at the heart of Roberta’s mission to get everyone interested in planning, and feel that it works for their communities. The idea is

to move away from “the tiny number of people who are involved in neighbourhood planning” to a situation where the wider community is involved, understands what they need to bring forward in their area, and use their local knowledge to set out how their community might be shaped moving forward. This is about ensuring that communities don’t think they can sit there and refuse development. To make sure this happens, communities will be given the resources they need to pull together a plan that works for the whole area, making it a possibility for communities that are not so affluent. Housing as a tool to rebalance the economy There was some agreement from our guests about the need for more ‘top-down’ housing numbers, and Roberta agreed. But the targets can be more than that – they can be a way to rebalance the economy. The view was that the formula currently used imposes significant new housing numbers where they’re already in demand, but actually housing could be used to redress the imbalance in the economy. For Roberta and the Commission, that’s key – as she puts it “one of the underlying principles for our commission is we think the planning system needs to help us tackle inequality, it isn’t doing that at the moment, it is entrenching inequality and we want to use the planning system to help us do some regional rebalancing”. This means new infrastructure where it would be of most benefit, and new housing around. With the burden of new homes heavily weighted on the South East, and around the major cities, it will be interesting to see how this ‘rebalancing’ will be implemented, and whether developers and local authorities will be able to work together to do this. Making sure planning applications are considered on time and on their merits Increasing planning department resourcing is probably one of the most often repeated answers to the question of ‘how do we deliver more housing?’. And it’s something that Roberta was cognizant of, and sees the opportunity to go back to a position where planning departments not only had the skills and capacity, but also the desire to use development to improve communities: “if we are going to return planning to some of its more visionary


routes, in terms of planning for the future and bringing communities with them, we need planners with those skills and unfortunately we have lost most of those skills as planning has become very technocratic”. Local fee setting might be an answer, but so too could be the direct funding by government of planning departments. Roberta would like to see this ring-fenced, though admits that might be a pipedream. It’s fair to say that there is often some scepticism in the sector about what would happen if there was a Labour Government under Jeremy Corbyn – particularly after the recent publication of the policy paper Land for the Many. But we got the feeling that our guests left feeling more reassured by what they had heard – this is about creating a planning system that encourages development, that sets out what needs to be done and will hopefully make new development more palatable for communities. We encourage the whole sector to get involved. You can submit your views to the Labour Planning Commission online to n

PD home extensions now require neighbour consultation Single-storey extensions to detached homes of up to eight metres have been allowed under temporary PD rights since 2013. In March the government made the policy permanent. Technical guidance published by MHCLG last month says that extensions to detached homes of more than four metres, or three metres for nondetached homes, are subject a neighbour consultation scheme "to assess the impact of the proposed development on the amenity of their property". Householders wanting to build larger extensions now must notify their local planning authority and give adjoining neighbours the opportunity to object. Work can commence once the local authority either advises that no prior approval is required, grants prior approval, or when 42 days have passed without a decision. The guidance also notes that local planning authorities may remove PD rights by issuing Article 4 Directions and advises householders to check that PD rights apply before building extensions. As now, extensions must not exceed 50 per cent

Photo source: Aldgate Developments

Best City office take-up in two years More than a million square feet of office space was taken up in the City of London in July – more than double the figure for June and the best for almost two years. The figures from Savills, reported in The Times, suggest that the City is well placed to retain its dominance as a global centre despite predictions by bankers, politicians and analysts that Britain’s impending departure from the EU would lead to an exodus of financial services jobs and businesses. Five transactions made up more than half of the take-up last month. These included the largest prelet deal this year — BT Group’s occupancy of all 328,011 sq ft of 1 Braham Street, near Aldgate East Tube station, pictured above. The London office market has been disrupted by the rapid expansion of Wework, the American of a building’s curtilage or the height of the highest part of an existing house. n

National design guidance National design guidance has been published by the Government (SEE folllowing stories). The

flexible offices provider that took up 84,026 sq ft last month alone, and IWG, its British rival, which pre-let the whole of 68 King William Street, equating to 78,000 sq ft. The two companies attract businesses with shorter leases, access to their members’ network and office perks from free beer to table tennis. A fifth of the take-up this year has been by insurance and financial services firms. About 5.8 million sq ft of new space is expected to be completed next year, of which just shy of a quarter is pre-let. Current requirements amount to 10.5 million sq ft and Savills has predicted that supply will continue to be restrained, with only 1.5 million sq ft of speculative space scheduled to be finished in 2021 and 2.3 million sq ft in 2022. The vacancy rate fell to five per cent last month, down 30 basis points compared with a year earlier, resulting in a 5.2 per cent rise in rents for top-grade offices to £64.99 per sq ft.

guide aims to illustrate how well-designed places that are beautiful, enduring and successful can be achieved in practice. All local authorities must respond to it with site and area design codes in their Development Plan plus Site Allocations on what will and will not be

Issue 111 October-December 2019



BRIEFING acceptable. Design panels will have to be introduced to consider planning applications of significance. Civic and community groups should check what their borough intends to do.  Without the design policies in place, wrong development will have to be permitted that might not deliver what is required and could be unsuitable for local context and character. The Mayor intends to prepare a London Supplementary Planning Guide on design of developments and localities. n

Accelerated Planning

Action on high-rise fire risk The Secretary of State for MHCLG last month made a statement in the House of Commons regarding his Ministry’s Building Safety Programme. The key elements were as follows: • The Government has launched a consultation on reducing the building height for when sprinklers are required from the current 30 metres (approximately 10 storeys) and above, to 18 metres (approximately 6 storeys) and above. Details of the consultation which closes on 28 November 2019 are here: The consultation also includes proposals for better signage and evacuation of high rise residential buildings. • announced the imminent establishment of a new Protection Board, by the Home Office and the National Fire Chiefs Council, to provide reassurance to residents of high-risk residential blocks that any risks are identified and acted upon.  • Applications for the £200m fund to remediate private sector towers with combustible ACM cladding openned on 12 September. n


Planning in London

Robert Jenrick’s conference speech on 30 September 2019 provided an update on the upcoming Accelerated Planning green paper. "The government has also confirmed proposals to speed up the planning system, including the potential for more fees to be refunded if councils take too long to decide on specific planning applications." “Local residents will no longer have to contend with a complicated and outdated planning system, but a more user-friendly approach designed to simply the process. Small developers will similarly benefit from the simplification of guidance, with the introduction of a new tiered planning system. Application fees will also be reviewed to ensure council planning departments are properly resourced, providing more qualified planners to process applications for new homes and other proposals.” "The accelerated planning green paper will be published in November 2019. Government has also set out its ambition to reduce planning conditions by a third, and will take forward proposals to allow homes to be built above existing properties as well as seeking views on demolishing old commercial buildings for new housing, revitalising high streets in the process." So what can we expect asks Simon Ricketts of Town Legal? • Further reform of the application fees system • Greater use of technology in the application process. • “Reduce planning conditions by a third”? Search me. Sensibly framed conditions are a crucial

mechanism both in ensuring timely approval of applications without requiring unnecessary details at a premature stage and in ensuring that what is approved is what is built. That there will be further work on the very difficult and not at all new ideas, supported by successive ministers, to expand permitted development rights “to allow homes to be built above existing properties” and “demolishing old commercial buildings for new housing”. Simon comments: What is quite interesting is the additional detail in one of the Daily Mail’s stories, although who knows whether any of it has any factual basis: “The right will be afforded first to purpose-built blocks of flats, but will eventually be rolled out to all detached properties.” [This right was originally framed around the creation of additional homes, not about home extensions. What possible justification is there for a massive extension in domestic permitted development rights?] “Ministers will also try to accelerate the conversion of disused and unsightly commercial properties into residential homes.” [except that we know that the criteria will not include whether the commercial properties are indeed “disused” and “unsightly” - see equivalent terminology before the existing office to residential permitted right was introduced] “Under a 'permission in principle' system, developers will not have to get detailed planning permission before the bulldozers can move in.“ Interesting use of terminology - do we think that the changes might in fact be introduced by way of the “permission in principle” procedure rather than by amendments to the General Permitted Development Order? Even so, I don’t see that the problems would be

The National Design Guide has just been published The Editor comments: It is a very good and sophisticated primer on urban design in planning. Not long ago government refused to illustrate case studies for fear of retribution from owners of buildings, a hangup which has been finally and fully eliminated here. As a piece of highly illustrated academic work I think it is excellent and the identified projects represent a rollcall of distinguished, mainly housing, architects. Examples chosen are biased towards local vernacular and context but nevertheless offer a full range of good design - if slightly dominated by pitched roofs! Putting this guidance into a planning context for architects however I have reservations. It responds to the NPPF requirement ”high-quality buildings and places being fundamental to what planning and development should achieve”. Whether it will bridge the gap from the anodyne phrase to sophisticated assessment of design at the development management stage is another matter. It also anticipates the future publication of a national model design code (SEE story left) which will include factors to be considered when determining “whether facades of buildings are sufficiently high quality, how landscaping should be approached, that new development should utilise a pattern of clear front and backs and that development should clearly take account of local vernacular, architecture and materials“. This will eventually be further reinforced by local model design codes prepared by local authorities to take account of local character and vernacular. However to move from the theoretical to successful practical implementation demands skilled designers to be involved both in the production of good schemes but also in their assessment in planning departments. The work of Public Practice is an excellent model for this and government will need to encourage and resource the employment of qualified architects and designers in planning departments to take this theoretical initiate forward successfully. SEE sample pages LEFT and DOWNLOAD it here:

reduced - how to arrive at a light-touch procedure which properly addresses legitimate and inevitable concerns as to for instance design, townscape, daylight and sunlight, overlooking and section 106 requirements such as affordable housing, asks Simon Ricketts. n

Tibbalds and Design Council for National Design Guide Consultant Tibbalds and the Design Council have worked up a visual design guide for the MHCLG that now forms part of the department’s Design Planning Practice Guidance.. The appointment of the combined team followed an MHCLG procurement exercise earlier this

year. Tibbalds said the result would be “an easy-touse tool” to help local planning authorities, developers, built environment professionals and other agencies “ensure quality is embedded in policies, guidance and projects”. The Design Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) will support the government’s core National Planning Policy Framework. Tibbalds director Jane Dann said the guide would promote design quality nationally, recognising its value, the role it plays in the country’s wellbeing and in the quality of everyday lives. “It will focus on the common qualities of well-designed places and, just as importantly, it will be illustrated with examples of what they look like in practice,” she said. “With the 2018 NPPF’s renewed emphasis on achieving well-designed places, this new visual

design guide is a significant opportunity to provide national guidance for everyone involved in the development process and help to raise the profile of good design. “It is an opportunity to make national planning policy more accessible.” Design Council director of architecture and the built environment Sue Morgan said the guide would “undoubtedly enhance current planning practice guidelines. We believe that our work will play a significant role in raising the quality of the built environment across the UK – improving quality of life, stimulating the economy and enhancing our inside and outside spaces as a result,” she added. MHCLG launched the procurement exercise for the guide earlier this year, saying the guid- >>> ance would support the NPPF’s Achieving Well

Issue 111 October-December 2019




Designed Places chapter. The department said one area in which ‘specialist help’ was required was with visuals to illustrate ‘design principles and projects’. It added: “The objective is to develop an easy-to-use toolkit that local planning authorities, developers, built environment professionals and other agencies involved in the design of the built environment can use to ensure quality is embedded in policies, programmes and projects.” As well as referencing the recently updated NPPF, supporting information for the procurement cited February 2017’s Fixing Our Broken Housing Market white paper, which contained a commitment to increasing the supply of new homes, with the pledge that “they must be of higher quality to achieve community support”. (As reported in the AJ) n

North Americans acquire UK planning consultancies In the Summer WYG, one of the UK's largest planning consultancies, was taken over by American engineering and consulting firm Tetra Tech for £43 million. The news was significant in itself, since WYG has the fourth largest planning team in the UK, according to Planning’s 2018 consultancy survey, with 115 chartered town planners and a further 465 planning fee earners. However, it also came off the back of a series of takeovers of major UK planning consultancies in the last year. In May multidisciplinary Canadian consultancy WSP completed its acquisition of Indigo Planning in a move that it claimed would create a ‘top tier’ planning consultancy. Combined with a series of senior appointments, the company said the acquisition would add momentum to its "drive to become the top planning consultancy in the UK".  Then there was the takeover of consultancy GVA by Avison Young, also Canadian, announced in February, which created a company with 19 offices and 1,600 employees in the UK alone. And in August last year Stantec, again from Canada, acquired Peter Brett Associates (PBA), which at the time employed 700 staff across 17 offices in the UK and central Europe. GVA was the sixth-biggest firm in the latest consultancy survey, with PBA in 11th. In 2016 Indigo was in tenth place. 


Planning in London

Archiboo Web Awards for 2019 The Best Overall category recognises the websites which excel in all areas: content, visual design, functionality, interactivity, structure and navigation, across all devices and browsers. The shortlist for 2019: • Walters & Cohen (SEE above) • SPPARC • Gruff Architects • Morris+Company • Threefold Architects According to Roger Hepher, director at hgh, the fact that all four deals involved North American companies taking over smaller British consultancies is no coincidence given the relative performance of the American, Canadian and UK economies, not to mention the fall out from the Brexit vote. "There seems to be a trend for big North American consultancy companies to be acquiring smaller British companies," he said. "It’s doubtless a reflection of globalisation, strength in the American and Canadian economies and weakness of the pound."  Grant Leggett, director and head of the London team at planning consultancy Boyer, said it is in the nature of major multinational consultancies to be acquisitive. "If you look at some of the big firms that are buying up the smaller ones, these guys are massive and have a tendency to make acquisitions to bring in revenue and then create efficiencies," he said. (As reported in Planning) n

HS2 review Angus Walker, partner in the Planning and Infrastructure Department at BDB Pitmans comments: “The government is implementing Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign pledge to review HS2, even though preliminary construction work has started, including the demolition of several buildings around Euston in London and Curzon Street in Birmingham. The review panel has been given a long list of items to deal with in just three months.  This will be a real test of the government’s balancing act between spending money and improving connectivity across the UK.” n

Councils hanging on to developer contributions Property Week has revealed that councils in England are sitting on billions of pounds in infrastructure contributions from developers. Based on FoI requests to all councils in England regarding their section 106 and CIL contributions, asking how much they had received and how much spent. Data from over half shows that more than £4 billion was collected from developers between 2013 and 2018 but only a fraction has been spent. Something like £2.5 billion, 63 per cent of the total, remains unspent. The research shows that London accounted for almost 40 per cent of all money received through section 106 contributions amounting to more than £1.5 billion. In the capital of the largest discrepancy between what was taken in and what is spent was in the Borough of Merton, which has held onto 80.4 per cent of the £32 million it has collected. The second highest appears to be the borough of Hackney with a 66.7 per cent discrepancy based on only partial data supplied. The City of London Corporation has also provided limited data but promises to report to committee later this month which might clarify their position. New government requirements mean that for the future councils will have to be more transparent and this might lead to more developers demanding refunds of unspent contributions. n

Get up to speed with Permitted Changes of Use

The Third Edition of the definitive text on permitted changes from Martin Goodall. Completely revised to reflect further legislative changes since the Second Edition and developing practice in the handling of prior approval applications under the various Classes of Parts 3 and 4. Out November 2019, ÂŁ60, Hardback and digital editions

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Issue 111 October-December 2019




No consensus on consensus Labour splits have reached a nadir after failing to find a consensus on the word ‘consensus’. At a meeting to merge several Brexit motions at their conference there was a discussion about the definition, with some suggesting that it meant unanimity while others felt that it could mean a minority ceding to the majority. n

High-Tech landmark under threat Plans to demolish a Grimshaw-designed 1980s Homebase superstore as part of a major new housing scheme have been criticised by the practice’s chairman and have triggered a campaign by the Architects’ Journal to reuse rather than rebuild in the interests of sustainability. The AJ reported that, under proposals drawn up by part of the Berkeley Group, hundreds of HTAdesigned homes will be built at the site of the Tesco Extra store in Osterley, west London, with the nearby Homebase making way for a new Tesco Extra plus further homes in a scheme by Patel Taylor. In all, 2,250 dwellings are planned across the two linked sites. Grimshaw chairman Andrew Whalley calls the scheme ‘short-sighted and unsustainable’, particularly given that the Homebase will be replaced with another superstore. He worked on the design of the Homebase – which stands on the A4 opposite Bannister Fletcher’s famous Gillette building – in 1986 in his first job for the practice. “Aside from its eye-catching design, visible both from the road and from the Heathrow flight path, the Homebase project was also conceived to be as flexible as possible to ensure the accommodation of future use,” Whalley wrote to the AJ. ‘The long span structure accommodates 4,180m² of column-free space, ideal for various adaptations. Any new development at this site, and for that matter at any building site, should take into consideration the structure that may already be there. While we give attention to buildings for reasons of heritage or other architectural importance, we should also consider the inherent sustainability in adaptive reuse projects.” The Homebase is on the Twentieth Century Society’s Top 10 Buildings at Risk list for this year.


Planning in London

While the society has submitted a listing request, the developer has submitted a request for a certificate of immunity from listing. Twentieth Century Society caseworker Grace Etherington called the building pioneering and said: “Grimshaw designed an exciting and dramatic store, far from what shoppers expect of a standard retail building, and the column-free design offers a remarkable level of flexibility for future use. The building makes an excellent contribution to the Great West Road, referencing the Gillette Factory’s prominent tower across the road and displaying the best of British High-Tech architecture to visitors making the journey into the city centre along the A4.” Berkeley Group defends its position at length, their conclusions being: “At present, the site is in a single unsustainable use, offers very little to the local community, the public realm around the site is of poor quality and there is a lack of ecology and biodiversity... If the Homebase building is listed, this unique opportunity to unlock these brownfield sites will be lost, and no homes, new jobs, community facilities or significant biodiversity improvements will be delivered.  n

I feel their pain The RTPI’s ICN (Independent Consultants Network discussion forum) shares the daily toil of its members. Here’s a recent example. I don’t think it helps that (certainly in my area) the LPA fudges the MHCLG returns by getting developers to agree to an extension of time when the officer finally gets around to sorting things out. So the reality (which I am guessing is quite possibly <10% being decided in 8 weeks, as they are still taking at least 4 weeks to validate and this hasn’t changed for some time) is not reflected in the published data and quite possibly not even understood by Councillors. A pinch of salt for the statistics we publish in each issue then.  n BELOW: Is this a GLA outpost in the Costa Brava? And the significance of the Independista flag? We should be told.



Shipping containers filled with polystyrene worked in Dockland From: Mike Adams Director, Adams Infrastructure Planning Limited

of office to residential changes and we can all agree that space standards, etc (ie measurable issues) should come under the Building Regulations, not Planning. But in my view one of the main reasons for the introduction of this PDR system was the inflexible and often unrealistic insistence of many local authorities and planning officers to retain office and “employment” uses against reasonable and common sense proposals to change redundant office space into residential use. For many years I dealt with innumerable applications and appeals on this problem, usually with an eventual, but much delayed, approval. PDR overcame this difficulty at a stroke. Just because a few developments are bad is no reason to reject the principle of deregulation to overcome excessive and poorly-applied control altogether. n

From: Peter Eversden MBE, Chairman, London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies

Small sites policies: H2 and H2A – Letter to Rt Hon Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London Sir, Looking at some of the ideas for fixing Hammersmith Bridge reminds me of the 180m long temporary bridge in the Royal Docks that we obtained planning permission for in 2011, acting for the Olympic Delivery Authority. It was built using a double row of shipping containers filled with polystyrene with a concrete walkway cast on top with lighting and railings (SEE photos). It even had a moveable section in the middle to allow boats through. It all worked perfectly in the still waters of the Royals and came in well under budget - but I would not advocate such a structure on the tidal Thames! n

Office to residential uses From: R Kinta, Architect/Planner Sir, Julia Park argues cogently and convincingly for better control of Permitted Development Rights (PDR)

The London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies is the umbrella organisation for civic and community groups across London. We were invited by the Examination in Public (EiP) Inspectors to attend 88 of the 94 hearings on the draft New London Plan (NLP), based on our responses to it made in February 2018. We recommended many alterations, several of which were recognised in the changes proposed by your London Plan team. However, our reservations about the new small sites policies were not addressed, and in some ways the consolidated July 2019 changes to Policies H2 and H2A strengthen London Forum’s view that these policies will have adverse consequences in many boroughs. In essence, our concern is that the presumption in favour of development for small sites where no design codes exist will give rise to large numbers of planning applications for which there has been little or no community engagement. Many could be turned down by Local Planning Authorities, but allowed on appeal despite fierce opposition within

the affected communities. The hostility to these policies and resultant overloading of the appeal system could seriously damage the prospects for ramping up the housing contribution from small sites and jeopardise the achievement of the NLP housing targets. To be sure that our views accord with those of other respondents and participants in the EiP, (an) extract from their statements has been compiled. You will see that there was considerable opposition to the small sites policies. You will be receiving the report of the EiP Inspectors shortly and London Forum asks you to consider carefully their recommendations on small sites alongside this evidence of NLP EiP participants. London Forum proposes that, if the NLP small sites policies are to succeed, there must be active community engagement in the preparation of relevant local planning policies and in the design of the schemes coming forward. For those areas without Neighbourhood Plans (i.e. most of London), this requires boroughs to carry out context and character analyses and to compile design codes. We have asked all our members to contact their borough Councils to urge them to get on with this task, so that small sites applications stand the best chance of enjoying the support of local communities. This will take time, as the task is not straightforward and urban design resources in most boroughs are scarce. Therefore, we ask you to delay by one year the implementation of the small sites policies in the draft NLP and to accelerate your production of associated guidance. This will give time for boroughs to amend their Development Plans, and to put the mechanisms in place to assess increased numbers of small site applications. n

July issue liked! From: Drummond Robson, Hon Secretary of the London Planning & Development Forum Sir, This is the most subtle and best presented Planning in London you have ever done, it seems to me. Content is diverse, modern and up to date, leading rather than following planning thinking, with a wide range of graphics and graphic techniques. A very stimulating read. Congratulations. There’s a lot of subtle hard work in it. n

Issue 111 October-December 2019



Applications and decisions and permitted development Prior Notification approvals drop again Latest planning performance by English districts and London boroughs: Planning Applications in England: April to June 2019 OVERVIEW

Between April and June 2019, district level planning authorities in England: • received 114,200 applications for planning permission, down four per cent on the corresponding quarter of 2018; • granted 91,700 decisions, down three per cent from the same quarter in 2018; this is equivalent to 88 per cent of decisions, unchanged from the same quarter of 2018; • decided 88 per cent of major applications within 13 weeks or the agreed time, unchanged from the same quarter in 2018; • granted 10,900 residential applications, down eight per cent on a year earlier: 1,400 for major developments and 9,500 for minors; • granted 2,200 applications for commercial developments, down one per cent on a year earlier. Figure 1 shows trends in numbers of applications received, decided and granted since 2004-05. In the year ending June 2019, district level planning authorities: • granted 355,000 decisions, down five per cent on the year ending June 2018; and • granted 45,800 decisions on residential developments, of which 6,200 were for major developments and 39,700 were for minors, down by four and six per cent respectively on the year ending June 2018. This is equivalent to a decrease of six per cent in the overall number of residential decisions granted.


Planning in London

Planning applications During April to June 2019, authorities undertaking district level planning in England received 114,200 applications for planning permission, down four per cent on the corresponding quarter in 2018. In the year ending June 2019, authorities received 443,700 planning applications, down five per cent on the year ending June 2018. Applications granted During April to June 2019, authorities granted 91,700 decisions, down three per cent on the same quarter in 2018. Authorities granted 88 per cent of all decisions, unchanged from the June quarter of 2018 (Live Tables P120/P133). Overall, 83 per cent of major and minor decisions were granted, unchanged from the quarter ending June 2018 (‘Comparison between local authorities’ table). Over the 12 months to June 2019, 355,000 decisions were granted, down five per cent on the figure for the year to June 2018. Historical context Figure 1 and Table 1 show that, since about 200910, 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 (April to June quarter for applications and July to September for decisions) and troughs in the Autumn (October to December quarter for applications and January to March quarter for decisions), there was a clear downward trend during the 2008 economic downturn, with figures remaining broadly level since then. Historical figures for all district level decisions dating back to 2007-08 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 decisions. Speed of decisions • In April to June 2019, 88 per cent of major applications were decided within 13 weeks or within the agreed time, unchanged from the same quarter a year earlier. • In the same quarter, 85 per cent of minor applications and 90 per cent of other applications were decided within eight weeks or the agreed time, both unchanged on a year earlier respectively. Use of performance agreements

RIGHT: FIGURE 1 Number of planning applications received, decided and granted by district level planning authorities

Table 2 shows the increase in the use of performance agreements since April 2014. It shows that they are more commonly used for major developments than minor or other developments, with 66 per cent of major decisions made during April to June 2019 involving a planning agreement, compared with 40 per cent of minor decisions4. Figure 4 shows, from 2009, 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. In reality, this longer upward trend has been driven by both the additional scope for recording them and their additional use. The three final columns in Live Table P120 give

Planning decisions by development type, speed of decision and local planning authority. All tables and figures can be found here: Source: MHCLG/ONS corresponding figures for planning applications involving a planning agreement for all types of development (major, minor and â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; combined), showing numbers of decisions and percentages decided within time. Figure 5 and Reference Table 2 show that in the quarter to June 2019, 90 per cent of major development decisions involving performance agreements were made on time. In comparison, 83 per cent of major decisions not involving performance agreements were made within the statutory time limit of

13 weeks. Live Tables P151a and P153 present data on the performance of district level local planning authorities against the latest 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 >>>

Issue 111 October-December 2019



>>> 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 latest 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 In April to June 2019, 14,700 decisions were made on applications for residential5 developments, of which 10,900 (74 per cent) were granted. The number of residential decisions made decreased by seven per cent from the June quarter of 2018, with the number granted dropping eight per cent. The number of major residential decisions granted decreased by eight per cent to 1,400, and the number of minor residential decisions granted also decreased by eight per cent, to 9,500 (Live Table P120A, ‘Details of district matters decisions’ table and ‘Comparison of local authorities’ table). In the year ending June 2019, authorities granted 6,200 major and 39,700 minor residential applications, down by four and six per cent respectively on the year ending June 2018. Residential units The figures collected by the department are the 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


Planning in London

housing permissions from a contractor. The latest provisional figures show that permission for 375,200 homes was given in the year to 30 June 2019, down one per cent from the 378,700 homes granted permission in the year to 30 June 2018. 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, and the latest quarter’s provisional figures tend to be revised upwards. These figures are provided here to give contextual information to users and have not been designated as National Statistics.. Commercial decisions In April to June 2019, 2,400 decisions were made on applications for commercial developments, of which 2,200 (91 per cent) were granted. The total number of commercial decisions granted decreased by one per cent on the same quarter of 2018. In the year ending June 2019, 8,900 applications for commercial developments were granted, down eight per cent on the year ending June 2018 (Live Table P120B). Trends in numbers of residential and commercial decisions Historically, numbers of residential decisions dropped sharply during 2008 (particularly for minor decisions) but have been increasing since 2012, albeit with some decreases recently. Numbers of commercial decisions made also decreased sharply during 2008 and have since stabilised at around 2,100 per year for major and 10,000 per year for minor commercial decisions, albeit with some further decreases recently, particularly for minor decisions. In 2018/19, numbers of major commercial decisions were at about 54 per cent of the pre-recession peak, with the numbers of minor commercial decisions being at about 40 percent. Trends in the percentage of residential and com-

FIG 9: Applications for prior approvals for permitted development rights reported by district planning authorities. England: 21 quarters from April 2014 to June 2019

mercial 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 increased steadily, from 88 and 86 per cent respectively in 2008/09, to 94 and 91 per cent respectively in 2014/15, and have both been stable since then.

Householder developments Householder developments are those developments to a residence which require planning permission such as extensions, loft conversions and conservatories (more details are in the glossary accessible from the Definitions section). The number of decisions made on householder developments was 55,800 in the quarter ending June 2019, accounting for 54 per cent of all decisions, down one per cent from the 56,500 decisions made in the quarter ending June 2018. Authorities granted 91 per cent of these applications and decided 92 per cent within eight weeks or the agreed time. Permitted development rights Planning permission for some types of development has been granted nationally through legislation, and the resulting rights are known as ‘permitted development rights’. In some cases, if the legislation is complied with, developments can go ahead without the requirement to notify the local planning authority and hence no way of capturing data exists. In other cases, the legislation requires an application to the local planning authority to determine whether prior approval is required (more details are in the Definitions section). The results for the latest quarter for which they have been collected (April to June 2019) are included in Live Tables PDR1 (local authority level figures) and

PDR2 (England totals). Of the 6,600 applications reported in the April to June quarter of 2019, prior approval was not required for 3,500 and permission was granted for 1,600 and refused for 1,500. This resulted in an overall acceptance rate9 of 78 per cent. Larger householder extensions accounted for 65 per cent of applications (4,300), with nine per cent relating to agricultural to residential changes and eight per cent to office to residential changes. ‘All other’ permitted development rights, accounted for 15 per cent of applications, up from 10 per cent a year earlier. Taking i) granted applications and ii) those for which prior approval was not required together, 5,100 applications were approved without having to go through the full planning process, down 34 per cent from a year earlier. Within an overall decrease of 31 per cent in the reported total number of PDR applications between April to June 2018 and April to June 2019: • larger householder extensions decreased by 43 per cent; • office to residential changes decreased by three per cent; • agricultural to residential changes increased by 15 per cent; and • ‘all other’ permitted development rights

increased by seven per cent.. The larger householder extension PDR was originally a temporary one, applying only to projects completed before the end of May 2019. The large decrease in the number of applications during the year to June 2019 therefore occurred as the deadline approached. The Government announced on 1 May 2019 that the development right was to become permanent.10 Figures for the total number of permitted development right applications made for changes to residential use for quarters from July to September 2014 are given in the quarterly worksheets in Live Table PDR1. These show that a total of 1,300 applications for changes to residential use were reported in April to June 2019, of which 900 (70 per cent) were given the go-ahead without having to go through the full planning process. Overall during the twenty-one quarters ending June 2019, district planning authorities reported 195,000 applications for prior approvals for permitted developments. For 110,700 (57 per cent) of them prior approval was not required, 45,800 (23 per cent) were granted and 38,500 (20 per cent) were refused (Figure 9). To put these recent figures into context, Live Table P128 and Figure 10 show how the number of ‘deter-

mination 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 new permitted development right categories in May 2013. Since April 2014, there have been 36,500 PDR applications in 2014/15, 40,200 in 2015/16, 39,400 in 2016/17, 36,800 in 2017/18 and 35,500 in 2018/19. The quarterly pattern since April 2014 reflects a combination of both: i) the introduction of new permitted development right categories on several occasions; 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 10). The initially large increase since 2014 in reported numbers of PDR applications for a change of use (e.g. office to residential), followed by a more recent decrease, is consistent with the annual numbers of dwellings added to the net housing supply as a result of a change of use. These have shown increases of 65 per cent in 2014/15, 48 per cent in 2015/16 and 22 per cent in 2016/17, and a decrease of 20 per cent in 2017/18. n

Issue 111 October-December 2019



The future of hotels and speeding up planning Minutes of the London Planning and Development Forum on Monday 23rd September 2019 at HTA Design with Riette Oosthuizen as host. Full minute by Drummond Robson at > LP&DF Introductions and Apologies Brian Waters welcomed the group who introduced themselves, and noted apologies DISCUSSION TOPICS: 1 The Future of Hotels: Nomad City. Jonathan Manns (Rockwell) and James Mitchell (Axiom Architects). Subtitle: flexibility, Connectivity, Transience. Jonathan Manns introduced the topic and explained his interpretation of how hotels now operate for transient populations: He expressed this as ‘nomads’, (people who don’t stay long in the same place) and therefore using accommodation which seeks to serve a combined living working and leisure population. As individuals our expectations are personal and therefore differ. He sought – with supporting material from Axiom Architects – to open a discussion about the future of hotel and visitor accommodation as hotels in London grow from the current 2,500 rooms and 83 per cent occupancy to be found here. Cheap air travel is adding encouragement to the growth trends. The nomad expresses a preference for different room sizes which Jonathan classified as compact, lifestyle/family and luxury. He said there are high expectations of technological connectivity (e.g. mobile and self check in). Compact provides some

Meeting held on Monday 23rd September 2019 at HTA 78 Chamber Street, E1 8BL with Riette Oosthuizen as host Brian Waters (Chairman) Jonathan Manns: Rockwell Properties (ViceChairman) Andrew Rogers: ACA Duncan Bowie: UCL Gerry Ansell: LB Brent James Mitchell: Axiom Architects John Walker: CT Group Judith Ryser: Ugb/Cityscope Europe Max Farrell: London Collective Peter Eversden: London Forum Rachel Hearn: LB Havering (Urban Design)


Planning in London

Riette Oosthuizen & Sarah Eley: HTA Sophie Bowerman: Axiom Architects Drummond Robson: Honorary Secretary Apologies from Jessica Ferm, Michael Edwards, Mike Coupe, Ron Heath, Brian Whiteley, Tim Wacher. Speaker David Birkbeck (Chief Executive at Design for Homes) also gave apologies at relatively short notice. The article by him and a colleague was circulated to members before the meeting. Jennifer Thomas (MHCLG, Design Quality and Guidance) although expected did not attend.

80 per cent of rooms, and 11 square metres. Examples are to be found in Hoxton. Space in Lifestyle rooms have typically 24 square metres and luxury take up 30 and also have a pool, gym and business space. This could be encapsulated in his vision of the future content and distribution within a hotel complex as illustrated opposite. Future hotel space may be labelled to include wellbeing, mental health and gymnasium space. Some key hotel statistics for London were projected in summary (SEE table on following pages). The ensuing discussion – taken up by John Walker (former Chief Planner of Westminster, and now Director in the CT Group of campaign strategists - centred on the potential conflict between the transient worlds of the visitor (as well as their

remote and distant business owners) and the home and daily life of the local resident. Places may become dependent solely on transient populations with few concerns for the quality of life of those who live there permanently (becoming solely holiday resorts formed of soulless clones for example as in many towns in Greece). There is also a risk that dependent on their size - new hotels can usurp the distinctive and idiosyncratic nature of in particular the food and beverage character of small towns or definite city quarters. It was acknowledged that these functions could compete for space but there were no suggestions for how these could be separated by a spatial constructive strategy. (A clue could come from Bloc Hotels, which Jonathan cited â&#x20AC;&#x153;en passantâ&#x20AC;?). Bloc Hotels (SEE image) have a fully insulated outlet over Gatwick Airport Terminus which relies on the terminalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s diverse facilities including catering rather than incorporating them within the bedroom complex. This location clearly would be less suitable for long term residential use. Brian Waters widened the discussion to consider other hotel types. Other models range widely from IBIS to Selsdon Park, boutique hotels, renting out space in own property (AirBNB), aparthotels with short term lettings (3 months). Westminster is concerned at the risk of losing permanent housing stock. Judith Ryser reminded the meeting of the differ-

ent requirements of UK residents using London and those visiting from abroad. Riette Oosthuizen added the oriental market, co-living and co-working. Summing up Brian Waters derived the themes of competition for land and the blurred area between living and working, notably in Central London. [SEE more graphics on this item overpage].

2 The upcoming Green Paper on speeding planning This item was broadened into a general discussion in the absence of introducing speakers, with John Walker offering an impromptu but worthwhile introduction: 1. Appeals should aim at three months to inquiry to remove ransom decisions. He suggested that it would be wrong to take longer. 2. There should be a standard cost per application fee for applications with a distinction drawn between those by individuals and those by housebuilders who should subsidise them. 3. Each planning department should have a budget comprising central grant and fees. 4. Too much meddling takes place with applications. Applications should be proportional: for example providing a design and access statement for a garden shed is excessive. The validation requirements for most applications (established through guidance and an Arup study in 2008 followed by SIs) are excessive and cause unnecessary delay. Biodiversity for example should be a building control matter. The basis for an application should be to cover land use, design, amenity and traffic. Interdependent targets would help. There is little prospect of removing green belt as a control but urban containment should be redefined, especially for London. CIL is an extra tax. It should be abolished leaving reliance solely on section 106 costs such as tariff based contributions for affordable housing. This would avoid the need for viability statements. Gerry Ansell Head of Planning and Development London Borough of Brent said that whilst it can always be said more resources are needed using existing resources more wisely and effectively as part of the ambition to speed up the process can be beneficial. The process of consultation is too slow and expensive, for example, continued reliance on press notices which are not very effective. New technology can also play its part such as in improvements in 3D mapping which may also save some site visits and assist in scheme evaluation. Assessment work on planning applications could be more front ended getting decisions out earlier rather than working to statutory deadlines. Alternative and accelerated dispute resolution was also suggested (cf RTPI Mediation in 2011 and >>>

Issue 111 October-December 2019



>>> Mediation in Planning by Leonora Rozee OBE and Kay Powell (June 2010); prepared for the National Planning Forum and The Planning Inspectorate). Max Farrell (London Collective and formerly Farrells), thought that the public sector could benefit more from creative skills rather than 2-dimensional considerations alone and that a cultural shift towards more collaborative effort is needed. [Note by Drummond: Cultural shift alone by “development managers” is not enough. Case workers will require a change to their highly codified statutory obligations so they are driven by more than just safeguarding process and will need greater awareness through education and training]. One survey shows that just two per cent trust


Planning in London

developers and seven per cent trust local Councils Duncan Bowie stressed that while the Government focused on speeding up the planning process, what was much more important was ensuring that development output delivered policy compliant projects and met assessed needs. Rachel Hearn (for London Borough of Havering Urban Design) was concerned about both officers’ and Committee’s skill base to assess schemes and invited people to ask how to demonstrate policy working in terms of quality. She also thought that design should form part of planning qualifications. Peter Eversden thought that local authorities don’t define what they do want (as opposed to what they don’t).

Rachel Hearn asked what good quality means. More attention needs to be paid to character. Riette Oosthuizen added there should be a principle of useful activity. Gerry Ansell said that planners are having to accommodate growth in population and a need for business space and so are looking to increased intensification and height. This places more emphasis on securing higher standards of design. He added that very often architectural designs are submitted in isolation of their context There was criticism of the permission in principle consent route as an alternative way of obtaining planning permission for small-scale housing-led development which separates the consideration of

matters of principle for proposed development from the technical detail of the development. The permission in principle consent route has two stages: the first stage (or permission in principle stage) establishes whether a site is suitable in-principle and the second (‘technical details consent’) stage is when the detailed development proposals are assessed. Prior Notification approval for a PD conversion in Ilford was cited of a scheme for a scheme showing no windows. This will have resulted in a reduced developer risk by establishing the change of the use. John Walker offered the remedy of a Certificate of Development Principle to establish a change of use of land or a building to underwrite the developer’s risk before embarking on a full scheme proposal. Brian Waters thought we were drowning in information demands. He added that the imposition of space standards for PD developments would be hard to change through building regulations and more easily achieved through the Prior Notification route. Duncan Bowie was critical of self-certification in building regulations without independent enforce-

ment and that someone was needed in this role. Brian countered this by suggesting the introduction of the need to a certify that a scheme is compliant – in Spain signed by the planning officer and the architect before elictricity can be supplied. However John Walker said this would put a lot of extra costs on the local authority tasked with this obligation. He added his support to Rachel Hearn that design is specialized and needs qualified people to consider it. It is false to consider that one size fits all. Max Farrell noted that he wanted to pick up on two key points he considered potentially very significant initiatives, which would be worth pursuing / campaigning for inspired by John Walker’s list of issues and possible solutions: 1. Redefine areas governed by building control and areas covered by planning 2. Introduce a ‘development in principle’ agreement in the early stages. In the absence of Jennifer Thomas (MHCLG, Design Quality and Guidance) guidance on design in planning was not distinctly considered. But see also per cent20Speeding per cent20up per cent20delivery_v03.1.pdf. n

Next meeting Early December. See > LP&DF for details Issue 111 October-December 2019


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Big Brother is coming to London planning The GLA’s Ministry of Truth department is in the process of building an omnipresent London government surveillance system for all planning applications reveals Andy Rogers Although you may not realise it, the GLA’s Ministry of Truth Department is in the process of building an omnipresent London government surveillance system for all planning applications. Their ambition is to create a live hub of comprehensive planning and development information that will be accessible to all - a refined and updated version of the London Development Database (LDD) that has been running since 2004. This is to be done, we are told, by reforming the application information that is already (somewhat haphazardly) collected from London boroughs, by gathering data up front automatically from the initial planning application itself, via improved “back-office” verification and validation systems of local authorities. It will then pass seamlessly into City Hall and onto a public website. We are also told that this is necessary because research has shown how difficult it is for local planning authorities to meet the monitoring needs of the GLA in terms of data accuracy and completeness – monitoring that informs the housing and planning statistics that guide the GLA’s development control policies and the London Plan. This ambitious programme, known as The London Development Database Automation Project, has been running since last October and is expected to become “live” early in 2020. Although currently planning applications contain most of the data required by City Hall to monitor the planning process and forthcoming development, the information is often held in supplementary documents and text fields that make it difficult to locate. In future the information required will be collected from all planning applications in machine-readable fields to allow for automation (usually through the Planning Portal). We are told this is for monitoring purposes but obviously if readily available to all, such information could be very helpful to others, from developers and homeless charities to communities and objectors. At present the LDD monitors a limited amount of information, such as the number of new-build residential units, larger changes of use, loss or gain of open space, and so on. It also records only planning consents, not refusals. In future the system will comprehensively capture every validated planning appli-

cation and its fate (whether permitted, refused, amended or withdrawn) – including (eventually, we are assured) development completion. And here lies the snag. The ultimate aim of the surveillance is not just to monitor what is being applied for and permitted, or even what is built, but whether the result accords with what has been allowed. A form of follow-up that copies what is already standard, for example in Greece and Spain, but which will rely on local planning authorities to administer – with or without additional resources. What, I hear you ask, is the extra data that is to be harvested from the machine-readable fields of the planning application? The Combined Planning Data Standard document that has been produced in draft sets out the “additional” information that is required to be submitted as part of any planning application in the GLA area. This is broken down into three main categories: Householder Planning Applications (requiring 28 items of data to be submitted - 9 by the applicant and 19 by the LPA), Prior Approvals (49 items), and All Other Applications (94 items). The data required for all applications includes the site’s Title Number (Land Registry information), gross internal floor area, number of additional

bedrooms/bathrooms, parking spaces, description, etc – ie not all actually additional. But in addition and if applicable the applicant will have to provide any known intended name for the development, existing use(s), proposed building subdivisions, ownership status, extant planning permissions, current lead developer, projected start and completion dates, etc, etc. And also to specify whether the proposal has been subjected to air quality, transport impact and viability assessments; might be phased; includes a 3D model; has any solar panels, dry recycling storage space, passive cooling, or demolition waste; and so on. The whole project is backed, if not initiated (for possible use in wider areas than just London), by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). Or MINITRUTH - the Ministry of Truth as George Orwell would have it. n

Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past – Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell

Issue 111 October-December 2019



Sloane Street public realm – an investment in the future Andy Harris demonstrates that Cadogan continues the tradition of the great estates in the value it places on the public realm

Andy Harris is a director at John McAslan + Partners


Planning in London

It is no secret that the high streets and retail destinations of London and cities alike face unprecedented challenges and threats. It seems that barely a week goes by without news of a clothing chain or a department store facing financial crisis. According to the Centre for Retail Research (CRR), at least 43 retail chains went bust in 2018 and as of July 27th, 2019, 27 companies have suffered a similar plight. A combined loss of 70 companies, 3,533 stores, and impacting 78,358 employees. All in the last 18 months. The sources of these challenges are varied; an increasingly competitive market, weakening consumer demand and, perhaps most importantly, changing habits driven by the rise of the internet. Lower ‘e-tailer’ costs (and corresponding prices) compared to that demanded by the physical infrastructure of the urban retail network heap significant pressure on traditional retailers. Certainly, the future of our High Streets and physical retail destinations looks decidedly unstable and fragile. In its recent submission to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee on the future of High Streets and Town Centres, the ‘Centre for Cities’ argues that our high streets are barometers of the local economies more widely, indicative of the health of local businesses and communities. The CfC states that in order to revive and sustain our high streets there can be no ‘one size fits all’ approach. It also notes that the High Street does not live and die by its retail offer, citing the experiential aspect of the public realm including diversified offer, accessible amenities, green space, decent air quality and good transport links. It is against this backdrop that in 2014, John McAslan and Partners was asked by Cadogan to develop a public realm strategy for Sloane Street, as part of its wider initiative to sustain and secure the future of one of the best known luxury shopping destinations internationally. One of London’s ‘Great Estates’, and a 300-year-old family owned company, Cadogan has a uniquely long-term view; consistently seeking to invest in, protect and enhance the character and vitality of one of London’s best-known neighbourhoods. Its contribution to the enhancement of the public realm and its vitality has been significant in projects such as Duke of York Square on the Kings Road and, more recently, the brilliantly successful Pavilion Road (one block west of and parallel to Sloane Street), which now supports a thriving community of artisan retailers and restaurants including cheesemongers, bakeries, green-grocers and a fishmonger. Pavilion Road has been transformed from a relatively non-descript ‘back of house’ area into a bustling and vibrant destination, much loved by the local community. Hugh Seaborn, CEO of Cadogan sets out the Estate’s vision clearly: ‘We invest significantly in the environment and work closely

Sloane Street today

with the local community. Successful neighbourhoods are much more than the sum of their parts, created by ‘layering’ to evoke a strong sense of place; from architecture and public realm, to culture, curation of retail, food and drink – together, this contributes to a thriving community that draws people through its rounded experience.’ Of course, Sloane Street is unique both as a retail destination and as a street. It is not a typical high street showcasing the traditional retail staples found in most towns and cities up and down the country. It is also certainly not a Pavilion Road or a Borough Market providing a predominantly locally based resource for the surrounding community. Notwithstanding the central and predominantly residential section of the street, Sloane Street is renowned as one of the most fashionable and exclusive retail destinations in London and internationally. Rivalling Avenue Montaigne in Paris, Via condotti in Rome and Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich, much of Sloane Street’s 1km length reads as a rollcall of the world’s foremost fashion designers and haute couture names. It is a truly international retail destination and should be celebrated and cherished as a unique component of the urban fabric and as a concentration of the finest fashion houses. However, something Sloane Street does share with other high streets is a susceptibility to changing retail habits and competition from new markets. In John McAslan and Partners’ initial briefing sessions with Cadogan we discussed at length that the resilience of Sloane Street as a collective of prestigious brands is directly related to its robustness as a place to showcase, experience and sell unique products to customers. Luxury retail, once the preserve of exclusive streets now has extensive competition from controlled environments in airports and high-end shopping malls. It only takes a few vacating tenants to de-stabilise the presence of

LEFT:: Proposed: the South

this relatively rare retail collective. Cadogan identified the poor quality of the public realm as a particularly significant risk to the future of the street and the sustainability of its retail portfolio. Scratch beneath the surface of the window displays and high-quality architectural frontages, and it is clear that Sloane Street’s Public realm and highway environment

is not commensurate with its retail offer. First, the highway is sig- BELOW:: nificantly wider than it needs to be for the volume of traffic it car- Proposed: the North ries; squeezing pavement widths and reducing space for pedestrians. It also places vehicles in un-necessary proximity to people and store fronts, diminishing both the environmental and retail experience. Second, the fabric of the public realm is poor, particularly when contrasted with the quality of the brands that line the street. Eclectic pavement materials, often in decayed condition, adjacent to basement lids and smoke vents of varying age and visual appearance, and dated lighting and furniture all contribute to the absence of a collective visual identity. In recent years the street has been subject to a number of vehicle based ram-raiding attacks on property, and a common complaint from residents and retailers has been the noise and disruption caused by speeding traffic and illegal super car use. John McAslan + Partner’s masterplan for the street focuses on transforming the pedestrian and retail experience, in a manner that will increase its resilience to the vagaries and challenges of an evolving and uncertain marketplace. The most important design move (and means of harnessing the potential of the street) has been to demonstrate, through computer modelling, that the highway capacity can be reduced by approximately 15% without negatively impacting traffic flow. This has created an opportunity to re-balance pavement widths by significantly widening the eastern footway, and in doing so will empower and prioritise pedestrians rather than vehicles. Traffic speeds should also naturally diminish due to a driver’s perception of a narrower road, whilst simultaneously an enlarged public realm ‘canvas’ has emerged on which to consider the distribution of new paving materials, furniture and planting. A further key design driver has been to extend the verdant character of the wonderful, but only privately accessible Cadogan Place Gardens. The planting of approximately 100 lime trees will re-inforce the grandeur of the street whilst offering significant >>>

Issue 111 October-December 2019



>>> environmental benefits. Granite planters combining robustness with elegance will support structural hedges and a sophisticated plant palette that references the plant collecting exploits of Sir Hans Sloane, founder of the nearby Chelsea Physic Garden. Extending drought tolerant, ornamental planting into the street will democratise the street’s horticultural heritage, providing sensory interest and a physical buffer to lessen the negative impact of traffic. The granite planters also provide informal seating opportunities, designed in collaboration with security experts, to enhance the physical resilience of the street against vehicle based ram-raiding attacks – a significant concern amongst retailers. Many of the enhancements demonstrate the unique benefits enabled by Cadogan’s majority ownership of the street’s premises and a responsible, long term vision. An unusually high percentage of the £40million project improvement costs will be entirely invisible following completion, due to the diversion of a myriad of underground utilities that would otherwise preclude or limit the ability to implement the ambitious design. Similarly, the contiguous ownership between property frontages has allowed a RIGHT: Sloane Street existing uses FAR RIGHT: Proposals: layers

Andy Harris is a Director at John McAslan + Partners and leads their landscape and Urbanism Studio. He has considerable experience in the design of the public realm for streetscape and transport infrastructure projects in the UK and internationally, including Kings Cross, East Croydon Interchange and numerous Urban Integration Studies for Crossrail.


Planning in London

unified design strategy for the numerous exposed basement lids and smoke vents that currently blight the appearance of the pavement – a significant and often unresolvable constraint on similar schemes. Last, but not least, the sophisticated planting scheme would not be possible without Cadogan’s commitment to fund its long-term maintenance and renewal. The transformation of Sloane Street is due to commence in earnest in 2020. Funded by Cadogan but implemented by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the scheme demonstrates Cadogan’s continued commitment to the health and vitality of the estate, and its neighbourhoods, and the value it places on the public realm. According to research, the scheme will create 100 construction jobs, result in a £7million increase in economic activity, and facilitate an estimated 100 additional retail jobs. But, in addition to the economic benefits, the true legacy, like Pavilion Road and Duke of York Square before, will be a greatly enhanced city experience that contributes to the evolving vibrancy, character and diversity of the Estate for the benefit of the community, businesses and visitors. n













Issue 111 October-December 2019



The London Collective – a new approach As a newly formed startup we are actively looking for new members to join us on this exciting journey invites Max Farrell

It is becoming increasingly common for career paths to be ‘non-linear’ and mine is no exception, having previously worked in electoral services, public affairs and most recently for a firm of architects. With a degree in History, Philosophy and Communication of Science and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning, it was perhaps inevitable that I would carve out my own career path. Having recognised the limitations of working for a larger practice, and with the economy slowing, I felt the time was right to explore new approaches to work. I was attracted to the idea of becoming self-employed.Needing a greater degree of flexibility with a young child in nursery, partner working more than full time and no support network to speak of. Having my 45th birthday spurred me on to start a new venture, with an attitude of ‘it’s now or never’.

too, which speeds up the pace of change. Working collectively in this way gives clients what they want, which is lower costs (with lower overheads); greater flexibility (with hand-picked teams); quicker decision making (with less bureaucracy) and senior, experienced people. I started the London Collective because the built environment needs this type of business model more than any other

Convening and disbanding like a film’s cast and crew

Finding a better work / life balance

Max Farrell is Founder & CEO of the London Collective


Planning in London

Society has changed in so many ways, making it easier to set up on your own. The availability and choice of flexible workspace and the ability to connect digitally and work from home is a game changer. There’s no doubt about that. However, there are inherent weaknesses for those who choose to become self-employed and the built environment is behind the curve compared to other industries. My brother is a Creative Director who has worked on campaigns for some of the world’s leading brands. When he decided to leave a global agency and become a ‘solopreneur’, for similar reasons to me, it was an easy choice to make and a well-trodden path. The creative industries have a number of ‘collectives’ with self-employed specialists morphing around clients and projects, depending on their needs. Much like the cast and crew for film, theatre and live music. It is perhaps a cultural legacy evolving from the arts and crafts collectives. However, I think it has more to do with their ability to move with the times and respond to market changes in a flexible and agile way, embracing technology and encouraging disruption. Arguably, there is greater diversity and less inequality

industry yet, as is often the case, it is slow to adapt. When I listed out the different skill sets covering politics, property and placemaking, there were more than fifty. When you add to that creatives like film makers, graphic designers and copy writers, increasingly integral to projects from concept to completion, the numbers keep increasing. It’s no wonder that larger, multi-disciplinary companies have enjoyed such success. Particularly given the onerous requirements for professional indemnity insurance and previous experience of a very precise nature. But there are inherent weaknesses in that model too. The really important thing about collectives, which is attractive to clients, is the difference in culture when you are dealing with people who are at the top of their game and their own bosses. There is freedom to give impartial advice, without corporate messaging or cross-selling. The key to

Top-down vs bottom-up

making it successful is the method of organisation, which has to be bottom up and self-organising. The London Collective provides a platform for self-employed entrepreneurs to come together and work collaboratively, whilst continuing to work on their own projects. Each member has their own individual identity as well as their shared identity as a collective. The London Collective creates the platform and links networks together. We have regular meetings which are business development or project focused, dedicated communication channels and file sharing, templates for reports and presentations and monthly gatherings to network and socialise. It reminds me of my Philosophy of Science degree, when I became fascinated by ‘ontological pluralism’. I’m still not sure if I fully understand it, but the London Collective was born as a result! One of the first questions I am asked is “sounds great, how do you monetise it’? Well, this has been an interesting journey too. We keep the membership fees as low as possible and the selection process as robust as possible. The value comes from the opportunities we explore together, as a diverse group with latent potential, and from the multiple ways of monetising it. Our members often have a mix of retainers, project fees and success fees which they would not have been able to negotiate working on the payroll, in a corporate structure or working alone. There are opportunities to take equity in new ventures too, built from intellectual property we have created together. The ability to cross-fertilise and leverage our networks is what makes it really interesting. We are determined to think ‘beyond profit’ too and committed to donating 1 per cent of all profits to our charity partners. Membership is separated into two categories – experts and creatives. Experts cover professional skill sets from planning to design as well as niche expertise. For example, the Collective has members who are ‘best-in-class’ when it comes to social impact, zero carbon, data mapping and behavioural change. The expert members pay more for the monthly networking events which the ‘creatives’ like our web designers, photographers and drone operators don’t feel the need to attend. The projects we are working can be broken down into two categories - ‘site-based’ and ‘subject-based’. Site-based work includes feasibility studies through to planning applications,

where we bring together the best possible teams depending on the location and land use. Every place and every project is different, each with it’s own unique challenges from local politics to structural gymnastics. The ‘one size fits all’ approach never works because of this uniqueness. That’s why the ‘platform’ approach is so compelling, calling upon a network where most people are a phone call away. I am lucky enough to have a strong network of investors and developers, from the UK and overseas, built up over many years. The combination of funding, development, placemaking and storytelling is a powerful one and the projects we are working on are exciting. The subject-based work is best described as ‘thought leadership’. Where a company wants to advance their thinking in a particular topic or subject area in order to enhance their brand and marketing potential. What we offer is different to the ‘think tanks’ which tend to have charitable status and do research-based public policy for the public domain. Our work is tailored to a brief, which ultimately creates intellectual capital. This is fundamental for companies looking to create financial and social capital, in a world that is increasingly competitive and specialised. Particularly when we are faced with dramatic and rapidly accelerating forces like climate change and artificial intelligence which will have a massive impact on the lives of future generations. The London Collective is based at the Home Grown Club, a new kind of hybrid space for working and socialising. These lovingly restored Georgian townhouses provide the perfect environment for collaborative working, and the restaurant and bedrooms are handy for visiting clients. As a newly formed start-up we are actively looking for new members to join us on this exciting journey. So, if you are contemplating branching out on your own, have a particular expertise, a collaborative mindset and want to benefit from enhanced opportunities. Then get in touch, we would love to hear from you. n

Contact the London Collective by emailing or visit Issue 111 October-December 2019



Air rights development offers scope for more than housing Air rights can be used to free up space in locations where new development would otherwise be challenging says Thaddaeus JacksonBrowne

Thaddaeus JacksonBrowne is head of Airspace Exchange


Planning in London

Rooftop development opportunities have recently attracted increased attention, stimulated by the acute shortage of developable land in the UK and complications around securing planning permission for new development, which have led to changes in government policy. Out of thin air The revised National Planning Policy Framework, last updated in February 2019, includes guidance that planning policies and decisions should “support opportunities to use the airspace above existing residential and commercial premises for new homes.” The draft London Plan also provides backing for upward development, stating that boroughs should identify sites suitable for “residential above existing commercial, social infrastructure and transport infrastructure uses.” Demonstrating the growing political support for airspace development, the government has recently reaffirmed its intention to bring forward a permitted development right (PDR) that would allow certain buildings to be extended upwards without requiring planning permission. However, this remains subject to further consultation, having not been included in a raft of

changes to PDR introduced in May 2019.

London rising The momentum behind airspace development in London has gathered alongside the growing recognition that the city is experiencing an acute housing shortage. Mayor Sadiq Khan has stated that 66,000 new homes need to be built in London each year to meet housing demand. This compares with an average of just 28,000 new homes completed each year over the last decade. Rooftop development has the potential to deliver muchneeded new units and to help increase London’s housing density. At present, fewer than 2% of new homes built in London are delivered through development that includes an element of building upwards. There is clear scope for this figure to increase, although estimates of the size of the opportunity vary greatly.   Homes in the sky One of the most detailed attempts to quantify the potential of airspace development was conducted by the design consultancy HTA. They surveyed the London Borough of Camden and identified 475 potential rooftop development sites with

the capacity to deliver 2,485 new homes in the borough. Extrapolating their research to the whole of Greater London, they estimated that 179,126 new homes could be delivered across the capital. Other more ambitious figures have been quoted, such as WSP’s estimate that 630,000 new units could by delivered by building six-to-twelve storeys on municipal buildings across London. While it may be unrealistic to expect that development on this scale could be delivered over a short period of time, London’s rooftops have evident capacity to make a contribution to the easing of the housing crisis. The owners of properties with unused rooftops may be oblivious of the unrealised potential and value held in their airspace.   Know your air rights In most cases, the freehold owner of a building will also own the airspace above it necessary for the "ordinary use and enjoyment" of the property. Air rights can be more complicated for buildings with leasehold ownership, and will depend on the terms of individual leases. As with any other form of property, air rights can be sold or leased. In most cases of rooftop development, a developer will enter into an agreement with the landlord to acquire an airspace lease, subject to planning permission being obtained. The granting of planning permission may be dependent on considerations such as neighbouring buildings’ rights to light and privacy from overlooking windows.

Airspace transactions are a relatively unexplored area in London, particularly in comparison with New York, where there is a well-established market for tradable air rights. Skyscraper developers in New York will often acquire the rights to airspace above multiple smaller neighbouring properties to unlock space for taller buildings that will cantilever over them. UK landlords and developers should also be open to the idea that the airspace over buildings is an asset with significant value and development potential.

Building up The delivery of airspace development can be complex, with multiple practical issues to be considered when assessing its feasibility. An existing building will need enough strength to support additional structures and there may be a need to install new lifts, stairs and fire escapes to serve the extra floors. Delivering services such as electricity, gas, water and telecommunications to the new residences may also be complex. Existing rooftop infrastructure, such as plant rooms and telecommunications equipment, may need to be moved. All of this can be challenging and expensive, and may be prohibitive to airspace development. However, if development is feasible, new rooftop structures can be put in place surprisingly quickly. A number of rooftop developers make use of pre-fabricated modular designs that are constructed off-site before being lifted on top of the existing building. In this manner, a basic structure can be put in place within one day.

Issue 111 October-December 2019






Planning in London

This type of modular construction is particularly suited to schemes adding a small number of apartments above existing residential blocks. However, there are multiple variations in the type and scale of properties that can be delivered through airspace construction. Retail rooftops One particular type of rooftop development with definite potential to deliver new housing on a large scale is the construction of residential units on top of supermarkets and shopping centres. All of the leading supermarket chains have explored opportunities to generate income from their London estates by selling air rights. The construction of residential units above and around redeveloped stores can make significantly more efficient use of large, low-density sites hosting older single-storey stores and ground level car parks. Tesco reportedly believes that it could generate around £400 million through the sale of air rights. Hundreds of new homes have been delivered at redeveloped Tesco stores in Woolwich and Streatham, with further units planned at locations including Hackney. Redeveloped Sainsbury’s in Nine Elms and Fulham have also included above-store residential units, and Sainsbury’s has planning permission for a similar development in Ilford. Morrisons is looking to join the fray, with proposals for nearly 600 new homes above and around the redevelopment of its Chalk Farm

store. Shopping centre owners are also exploring airspace development opportunities. Capital & Regional, for example, has planning permission for hundreds of residential units above The Mall Walthamstow and The Exchange in Ilford.

Commercial airspace Development making use of air rights need not be restricted to just residential property. A number of commercial developments across London utilise the space over existing buildings and sites. Several major office developments have been enabled by building above rail infrastructure. This is not an entirely new phenomenon. One Embankment Place, which is often cited as the UK’s first air rights building, was completed in 1991 and provides 450,000 sq ft of office space above the platforms of Charing Cross station. Similarly, Cannon Place, a 389,000 sq ft development opened in 2011, cantilevers over Cannon Street mainline and underground stations. An eye-catching current project is 21 Moorfields, a huge 564,000 sq ft air rights development, which is under construction above Moorgate underground station and the western entrance to the new Liverpool Street Crossrail station. The 17storey building will bridge 55 metres over Moorgate station, helping to significantly increasing the size of the floorplates it can offer. It is also reported that Network Rail is considering massive

over-site developments at stations including Victoria Station and Clapham Junction. In both cases, there are large tracts of airspace above the stations, tracks and approaches, which have the potential to host mixed-use development. In addition to rail infrastructure, the airspace above public assets such as hospitals, schools, government offices and prisons could all offer development opportunities. While potential residents may need to be persuaded about the desirability of some of these as places to live, this type of development could help to make much more efficient use of the public estate. There may also be advantages for residents who have their homes located close to public services, particularly healthcare and education facilities. Growing up A broad range of opportunities exist in the airspace above London. For residential property, these range from high-end penthouses on top of existing apartment blocks through to affordable housing above public buildings or retail space. Commercial and mixed-use developments may also be

enabled by the thoughtful use of airspace. Some creative thinking may be required to realise these opportunities, but air rights can be used to free up space in locations where new development would otherwise be challenging. Developers will be buoyed by growing political support, which should see local planning authorities become increasingly receptive to proposals for new airspace development. Airspace Exchange  Working in partnership with Hamptons International, we have recently launched Airspace Exchange as a new platform providing land owners with a new streamlined process to unlock real estate value out of the thin air of undeveloped airspace above existing buildings. The platform serves as an intermediary between land owners, investors and developers, with a direct link into the supply chain for sourcing contractors, labour resources and building materials, providing professional expertise and services at each of the steps in the property development, construction and transaction processes. n

Visit  for more information.

Issue 111 October-December 2019



Thameslink West, a possible alternative to Crossrail 2 Lars Christian proposes ‘Thameslink West’ which he says is cost effective, retains the best of Crossrail 2 and increases north/south capacity through central London by 25 per cent

Crossrail 1, the most expensive transport investment for over a century, has proved even costlier than anticipated or hoped for. Observing the complex city centre stations – with their vast sub-surface ticket halls, demolishing half a dozen buildings at five central London stations – indicates that the line would be expensive. Slim-down design of stations, without complex ticket halls and interchanges with the tube, and with simpler escalator access at either end of the stations, directly from above ground, may have proved better value for money. Crossrail 2 of similar design, but with even longer tunnels deeper into the relatively low density southern suburbs of the city, needs to be simplified and redesigned to maybe half the cost. Thameslink West is an alternative approach, building on a 1943-idea to build a deep rail tunnel between Battersea and Paddington via Victoria). Thameslink West complements the existing Thameslink (East). Thameslink West – Thameslink West consists of a 3 kilometre tunnel between Victoria and Marylebone, with new sub-surface stations, tunnel ramps at either end and an intermediate station at Bond Street. – Thameslink West has 16 carriage long train platforms at the three new sub-surface stations and several new or remodelled on-surface stations such as Brockley, Battersea, Wembley Park, Brent Cross West, Tottenham Hale. – The costs of the three below ground stations would be

£1.5bn each, the tunnel another £1.5bn. Several new train line junctions would be provided in the north, including at Finchley Road, Kenton, Wembley, Haringey, Seven Sister, Tottenham and/or Walhamstow. The new junctions and on-surface stations would cost on average £50m each. – In the north, Thameslink West would extend to destinations such as Stansted, Cambridge, Hertford, Stevenage, Luton, Milton Keynes, Aylesbury and Bicester. And in the south to destinations such as Dartford, Sevenoaks, Gatwick, Horsham, Guildford and Heathrow via Staines. – At Brixton, Clapham North, Willesden Junction, West Hampstead, Haringey and/or Tottenham, Thameslink West will relieve the Victoria, Jubilee, Northern, Bakerloo, Metropolitan and Piccadilly lines. Providing extra capacity for up to 200.000 passengers an hour on the six lines together at peak hours, the equivalent of the capacity of half the north/south tube lines. – With Thameslink West, fewer commuters will need to travel through stations such as Highbury & Islington, London Bridge, Stockwell, Vauxhall, Green Park, Paddington, Euston, Moorgate and Liverpool Street, reducing station overcrowding at peak hours.

Three central stations Thameslink West trains will stop 24 times an hour in either direction at 16 carriage long platforms at a new sub-surface Victoria station under Buckingham Palace Road, with a train stopping every 150 seconds in either directions at peak hours. Where passengers can connect with the Victoria, District and

Thameslink East & West share these characteristics

Lars Christian, urbanist, UrbanPilot London & Scandinavia


Planning in London

• Thameslink E+W has eight carriage trains that join in pairs at outer London stations to form 16 carriage trains through half a dozen central London stations every 150 seconds on either line. • Thameslink E+W stops at Inner London stations for connection to the circular Overground loop, including half a dozen new stations. Allowing passengers to change to a enhanced loop service with eight carriage trains at 5 min frequency, with dedicated peak-hour bike carriages, doubling to trippling today's capacity.

• Thameslink E+W will interconnect with the Elizabeth Crossrail line at Farrington and Bond Street stations; with the high capacity Jubilee and Victoria lines at ten existing tube stations; with the modernised Circular line at five existing stations; with the extended Bakerloo and Northern line services at five existing and three new tube stations: Lewisham, New Cross and Battersea. • Thameslink E+W will together provide a north/south service every 75 seconds through Inner and Central London, with 50.000 passengers an

hour in either direction on either line. • The present Thameslink East will have 16 carriage long platforms at new stations at Bermondsey Deptford and Burgess Park; at the six existing central London stations; and at a dozen existing peripheral stations. • The present Thameslink loop servicing Sutton will join and split at Streatham to form a 10-15 min service in both clockwise and anti-clockwise direction, doubling the present frequency at 14 stations, and potentially alternating between Victoria and Blackfriars.







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Trains, trams, planes, e-bikes & finance The Thameslink East (existing) and West (new) together with the Overground loop will further revolutionise public transport throughout central, inner and outer London, by providing dedi-



Southern junctions & stations In the south, a Thameslink West train service will be provided with one double long train per quarter hour forming at e.g Barnes, Wimbledon, Balham, Hern Hill, South Bromley, Hither Green, Blackheath and/or alternatively further south. Allowing twelve origins/end destinations to be served per quarter hour. Providing a 16 carriage train service every five minutes through Clapham Junction and Brixton, direct to the three central London stations at Victoria, Bond Street and Marylebone. With a quarter hourly service at interconnecting stations at Putney, Battersea, Clapham North, Hern Hill, Loughborough Junction (new), East Croydon, Peckham Rye, Brockley (new) and Lewisham.



Northern junctions & stations At West Hampstead and Wembley Park, new train stations on the present Marylebone line will allow passengers to connect to the present tube/train stations. At Finchley Road, new train line junctions will connect north with the Thameslink line towards Luton, east with the Overground line towards Gospel Oak and Barking and west towards Willesden Junction. In addition, new train line junctions will be established at Kenton or Wembley in the northwest and at Haringey, Seven Sisters, Tottenham Hale and/or Walthamstow in the northeast. A new train station at Tottenham Hale and 2-3 remodelled stations on the Overground line will allow better connections to existing tube/train stations. Typically allowing one double long train service per 7-15 minutes on either of the four lines meeting at Finchley Road. From twelve origins/end destinations further north per quarter hour. Direct to the three central London stations at Marylebone, Bond Street and Victoria (fig 2).


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Circle lines, that together stop every 26 seconds at peak hours, or every 100-110 seconds on either line in either direction. At a new sub-surface Bond Street station one mile further north, passengers can connect with the Jubilee, Central and Elizabeth lines, that together stops every 20 seconds at peak hours. At a new sub-surface Marylebone station half a mile further north, passengers can connect with the existing Bakerloo line station and via travellators to Baker Street and Edgware Road stations, where the various tube lines together stop every 18 seconds at peak hours. With a fifth of a mile long platforms and up to three entrances/exits, passengers can also connect with buses, taxis and shared bikes further north and/or further south of today's tube and train interchanges.





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cated peak-hour bike carriages. Changing the commuting between lower density areas of the outer boroughs, from mostly "car or bus" to mostly "train and e-bike". The Thameslink lines will also revolutionise access to four of the five airports of the city. Potentially supplemented by a 24/7 and 25 miles long X-shaped north/south Heathrow E-bike and Tram-link, diagonally connecting four London boroughs and one Surrey district. Allowing 8 of 10 plane passengers and airport staff to arrive by public transport or e-bike at the five airports. Up from 4 of 10 passengers at Heathrow at present. To reduce congestion, increase renewal and allow for new investment â&#x20AC;&#x201C; including the Bakerloo line, Thameslink West, Heathrow E-bike and Tramlink â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the following may be considered: i) A congestion charging 'light' during peak hours of ÂŁ1.50 for crossing the North and South Circular roads, the Overground loop and the Thames bridges. With a weekly cap of ÂŁ10 for petrol and ÂŁ15 for diesel cars, maybe ÂŁ1bn of new annual revenue

Issue 111 October-December 2019




rail lines, three deep tube lines and the sub-surface Circular lines. Allowing direct east/west rail services south of the river between the southwestern boroughs, the inner city â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Clapham Junction, Battersea, Vauxhall, London Bridge and Bermondsey/Deptford â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and the southeastern boroughs. An possible additional tube or rail link could be provided between Cannon Street and Moorgate stations. A half a mile long tunnel would allow 24 six carriage trains an hour in either direction between Cannon Street and Finsbury Park. With intermediate stops at Highbury & Islington, Essex Road and Old Street. With train services extending north as well as southwards, either through London Bridge, Elephant & Castle and/or Waterloo.

Thameslink 2050 South & North Additional east/west capacity could be provided with a rail link between Waterloo and Waterloo East stations, a century old idea. This together with increased frequency on the Overground loop and the new Elizabeth line, would double east/west capacity through Inner London, with four east/west






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Afterword Thameslink West is an opportunity for London to do away with overcrowded pubic transport at a reasonable cost to the city and the nation. The Thameslink West & East both allow direct journeys i) into the centre from the suburbs, ii) between outer boroughs as well as iii) more capacity north-south within the Circle lines and Overground loop. With double long 16 carriage trains, 2500 passengers can travel every 150 seconds in either direction on either line. The Thameslink West will not solve overcrowding forever â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but should together with an enhanced Thameslink East, an enhanced Overground loop and the new Elizabeth line â&#x20AC;&#x201C; provide enough capacity for several decades to come. North-south and east-west as well as diagonally between the outer boroughs of the metropolis. n

Issue 111 October-December 2019



How to build a workspace brand Giving people more reasons to spend time in your space can foster a stronger sense of community says Maria Cheung

Over the past few years, Squire & Partners has collaborated with a number of workspace providers to launch flexible offices across London, as well as developing their award winning studio at The Department Store in Brixton. The practice is creating its own flexible office development adjacent to The Department Store, launching in 2020. Director and Head of Interior Design, Maria Cheung shares her thoughts on how to build a workspace brand.

Maria Cheung is head of ingerior design at Squire & Partners


Planning in London

Establishing your USP In helping workspace operators establish and refine their offer, we have seen how competitive the market is with large and small scale providers vying to attract businesses. It’s imperative to create a genuine product in line with your brand ethos, which will provide a backbone for the design and culture of your workspace. At People’s Mission Hall in Whitechapel – for new operator x+why – the core ethos was to attract and support purpose driven businesses, for whom people and planet are as important as profit. Interaction between like-minded tenants was important, so we created flexible social and event spaces where ideas could be shared in both informal and formal environments. Mental and physical wellbeing of staff was a priority, so we provided relaxing garden spaces and a studio for yoga and meditation as well as a

generous allocation of showers and changing rooms.

Understanding the audience Getting to grips with your target audience from the start will help to inform design and infrastructure decisions early on. The needs of a creative studio will differ from that of a FinTech company – how much privacy or group workspace is required, what IT infrastructure is needed, will the business want to host clients in the building, will they expect catering in-house, how much individual branding will businesses want to display within their space? We set out to create memorable experiences for both workspace members and visitors, so that businesses are committing to a lifestyle and aesthetic aligned to their business. At The Ministry we provided a series of private dining rooms, recording studios and a cinema as well as generous event and social spaces to suit their socially active tenant mix. At The Frames in Shoreditch, we provided a striking open plan reception floor at ground level where informal meetings and presentations can take place. Design for your location The first rule of workplace location is convenience and connectivity, ensuring that building users (and their staff/clients)

will easily be able to travel to your space. It’s also important to consider street presence, and how much you’d like to encourage interaction with the local community – will there be public elements to your offer such as a café needing customers, or do you want to create a more private space for building users. At The Ministry, the first co-working space and members club for Ministry of Sound, we created a deliberately covert identity with minimal street presence and signage. Responding to context is a key driver in all our projects. We strive to create bespoke products which relate to their situation or the history of the specific building whether in Mayfair, Shoreditch or Whitechapel. With The Department Store in Brixton, a former Edwardian shopping destination, we played on the aspects of retail and display to showcase facets of the practice’s work – from the working modelshop and raw building materials to polished interior spaces – to create an original and authentic space.

Design and Layout The majority of our projects have been for emerging workspace operators, so we have been involved with establishing their brand aesthetic – an opportunity we relish. With more established providers, whilst we recognise that a house style affords a sense of familiarity which many people enjoy, we believe that each location and context should be addressed in the design. A good house style allows for a level of individuality for different locations, and shouldn’t stifle creativity. Paul Smith stores are a good example of this – the shops can be very individual but there is an underlying theme of rebellious Britishness, colour and craft. Layouts must be flexible enough for users to move within spaces, and not feel confined to one desk or area. A variety of easily adaptable units will allow businesses to grow within the space rather than relocate, and can provide a mix of private and open plan areas. In several workspaces we have provided individual privacy booths for calls where discretion is needed. A variety of high and low desking creates a mixture of formal and informal spaces, and breakout areas promote relaxed group interaction. On top of desk space, you need to consider meeting rooms and how these will be managed between businesses. Staff amenities can include kitchens, a communal lounge, garden or courtyard, event spaces, bike store, showers, changing rooms, lockers, a gym and/or wellness studio. Acoustics are extremely important in both individual units and communal areas – nobody can communicate effectively in a noisy environment. We use screens and fabrics to diffuse noise and create physical and acoustic separation between spaces.

IMAGES CLOCKWISE FROM FAR LEFT: The Ministry, Borough for Ministry of Sound ©James Jones Greencoat House, Victoria for Derwent London ©Gareth Gardner The Ministry, Borough for Ministry of Sound ©James Jones

Issue 111 October-December 2019




>>> Customer service is key Service sets apart a well-run workspace brand and a conventional office let. Whilst a receptionist behind a desk is no longer a requirement, a convivial and friendly welcome should be established from the moment you walk through the front door – good design should help set the tone. A successful workspace brand remains flexible to respond to clients and building users, and should be prepared to evolve their offer to suit. A well-managed space caters towards demand rather than what they think people want. All the brands we work with have adapted their offer in the first few months in line with feedback – some moving from open to closed desking, changing food offers, swapping public uses to private, and creating additional social spaces from underused building areas. With modern technology (such as key fobs) it’s easy to collect and use data about how building users are experiencing the building – a commitment to analysing and responding to this data will help to refine your brand. Programming and Curation Giving people more reasons to spend time in your space can foster a stronger sense of community, as well as forge closer links between building users. Creative programming, specifically catered to the community of businesses using your space, will draw people together and attract new tenants to the building.


Planning in London

At People’s Mission Hall in Whitechapel, x+why curate a programme of events based around issues relevant to their ethically and socially minded businesses, such as social mobility, innovative business models and how to measure purpose. Alongside this, members have access to a wellness programme which combines high energy HIIT classes with yoga and meditation. The Ministry curates a cultural programme more focussed on music, arts and social interaction. Two ‘club floors’ were created for informal and formal eating and drinking, as well as an outdoor terrace, screening cinema, recording studios, gym and wellness studio. IT Infrastructure It’s an obvious one, but your IT infrastructure is absolutely essential. Every business relies on good bandwidth, connectivity and power to operate. Communal areas should have strong and easily accessible WiFi, as well as charging points. At The Frames we worked to achieve a Wired Certified Gold rating from the early stages of design, making sure that the required infrastructure was designed into the fabric of the building from the outset.

IMAGES CLOCKWISE FROM FAR LEFT: The Department Store ©James Jones The Frames, Shoreditch for Workspace ©Jim Stephenson The Department Store Ì©James Jones People’s Mission Hall, Whitechapel for x+why ©James Balston The Ministry, Borough for Ministry of Sound Ì©James Jones The Department Store ©James Jones


Connections to the Natural World More than ever, we consider biophilia as an important aspect of wellness in workplaces. Wherever possible we exploit outside space such as courtyards or gardens (or semi-external spaces such as lightwells) where natural light, fresh air and planting can enhance office environments. At Greencoat House in Victoria, we created a series of vertically stacked naturally ventilated terraces in two existing covered lightwells, furnished with bespoke planters and timber benches to create break out spaces accessed directly from office tenancies. For The Ministry we created a generous urban courtyard garden with an outside bar and fire pit, offering a unique social space for the various functions held within the space. The Department Store in Brixton exploits every opportunity to provide external terraces directly off workspaces, in addition to a landscaped south-facing roof terrace with high and low seating, a fire pit and planting which provides herbs and leaves for the restaurant kitchen. At x+why in Whitechapel, indoor planting forms an integral part of the interior concept as well as a central courtyard garden and areas of green roof. Large potted plants are combined with structures in the workspace and common areas from which plants can be suspended or positioned on shelves. Any planting or landscaping strategy needs to be carefully managed with regular visits by professionals – we have worked with Cool Gardens (The Department Store), Your London Florist (x+why) and Conservatory Archives (The Ministry). n

Issue 111 October-December 2019



Managing fire safety in a change of use building Developers, landlords and all responsible for the refurbishment of a change of use building need to be aware of their obligations when it comes to fire safety says Anthony Cassidy FOOTNOTES 1 2 3 4 uksi/2005/1541/contents/made Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – applicable in England and Wales; Fire (Scotland) Act 2005; Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006; The Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006; and The Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010. 5 /ukpga/2004/34/section/1 6 1244/guidance-on-fire-safetyprovisions-for-certain-types-ofexisting-housing.pdf

Anthony Cassidy is health, safety & fire technical manager at Bureau Veritas


Planning in London

Referred to as the ‘greatest challenge facing London today’ by the Greater London Authority1, the housing shortage in the City and the South East in particular has led to the rise in change of use buildings. Primarily, the increased demand for residential flats, combined with the slowdown of the office market has resulted in many developers looking for opportunities to convert office premises into residential dwellings. Whilst alleviating the housing crisis, there are considerations around managing fire safety in a change of use building, as requirements for residential buildings are different to other types of building. Some developers, especially smaller operations, may not be aware of this, especially as planning permission is not always required in change of use buildings; which poses a potential risk factor in terms of fire safety. As an added issue, these redevelopments or refurbishments often happen at a rapid pace which, alongside potential loopholes within the fire safety order and planning process, can pose a potential fire risk for residents. Generally speaking, planning permission is required when change of use works include what the Government defines as ‘development’, which includes but is not limited to ‘material change of use’2 In theory this incorporates change of use buildings, as the transition from say an office block (deemed a class B building) to a residential unit (deemed a class C building) would constitute a material change of use. A change of use where the before and after use falls within the same class would be permissible without planning permission; for example changing a shop to a café (both within class A). The lines become blurred however as there are certain circumstances that are the exception to this system, where developers may be permitted development rights which allow change of use, without having to make a planning application3. The governmentpermitted development rights scheme allows certain change of uses to be carried out without planning permission in these circumstances and an example is change of use from an office to a residential unit. Although it makes the process more straightforward for the developer (notwithstanding that they are still required to submit a Prior Approval application with planning drawings and supporting documentation, as well as seek consent from the local council for change of use), the consideration around adapting and/or installing correct fire safety features adequate for a residential dwelling is paramount. Fire safety obligations and considerations It is important that both the landlord and any other organisations responsible for managing the refurbishment process in a change of use building are aware of their fire safety duties and are mindful that these loopholes are not a means to cut corners. Additional legislation is in place to protect occupants of residential dwellings when it comes to fire safety, compared

with other types of building use. All building refurbishment work falls under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 20054, which outlines what is required in order to comply with fire safety law. The Housing Act 20045 was also designed to impose more stringent housing standards to protect occupants of residential dwelling and includes fire as a category hazard to be assessed. There is ample guidance available around fire safety management, including but not limited to the Guidance on fire safety provisions for certain types of existing housing produced by the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS6). There are also considerations around the building itself. Older buildings may have outdated fire risk assessments and fire preventative measures in place, which therefore must be revised. Refurbishments will need to follow the same stringent fire safety and fire risk assessment requirement as new builds and in these scenarios it can be more difficult to retrofit a solution that meets fire safety law. There may also be features in a building that were suitable for its original use but are not for residential use. Potentially safety-compromising scenarios to consider include things like compartmentation. For example, if an office unit had cables running through walls, the portholes created for this function might compromise fire compartmentalisation in a residential unit, unless this feature was modified. The means of escape also may not be suitable given the potential changes in occupancy figures. Additional fire risks may be introduced too, through communal cooking and use of cooking equipment in small confined bed-sit-type rooms; also items such as heaters may be brought in by residents to dry clothing where the provision of communal facilities are inadequate. Even small things such as lighting candles can pose an additional risk, which is why on this basis safety features such as automatic fire detection will certainly need reviewing. The same considerations should be applied to the higher education community, where rapid refurbishments are often done in order to meet a short-term need but the long-term use and suitability of these buildings are not always considered. As such, fire risk assessments must be carried out on all change of use buildings before passing building control and a building is occupied. This is critical, as in a worst case scenario, if fire safety does not meet requirements, building control will not be passed and if a building is occupied, an emergency evacuation procedure will be implemented until remedial work has been done. In order to avoid this, developers, landlords and all persons responsible for the refurbishment of a change of use refurbishment should be aware of their obligations and always seek expert advice when it comes to fire safety. n Bureau Veritas offers a one-stop solution for fire safety and compliance via an experienced team of technical experts. For more information, call 0345 600 1828 or visit


Goods, assets and houses and why real estate is a bit different Yolande Barnes says it is important to recognise housing for what it actually is – a complex composite good as well as a financial asset

My twitter feed has seen a few more skirmishes lately in a battle between two camps. Let’s call one camp the ‘Supplyiters’ who believe the housing crisis is down to not building enough housing units for the last 50 years and can be fixed by building a lot more homes. On the other side of the battle ground are the ‘Crediteers’ who believe expensive housing is down to a surfeit of credit and irresponsible lending. They say restricting mortgage lending and taxing home ownership would dampen demand sufficiently to prevent excess house price inflation in future. It’s tempting to simplify problems and isolate single causes and, in some fields, it may even be a helpful way to find solutions. But I don’t think that is the case for housing and especially not housing in London. I have watched a whole succession of governments, commissions, policy think tanks and other experts search for an all-elusive ‘single silver bullet’ solution to real estate issues over the last 30 years. (I think at least 3 of them came up with the answer “modern methods of construction”). But still Londoners complain (alongside inhabitants of many other global cities) that housing is expensive, inadequate, inaccessible or unavailable for an increasing number of people. Solving any problem requires an understanding of what the problem actually is. Could it be that we just haven’t been thinking about housing in the right way? Housing is a complex asset, a composite good, which is all at once a commodity, a necessity, a luxury, an investment, a liability, a financial instrument and more. So the key feature of housing is that it is simultaneously a ‘good’ and an asset. If we think of housing like any other consumer good, a car, a fridge or a pair of trousers, for example then the obvious solution to rising prices must be more supply. The increased and effi-

cient supply of goods like cars, fridges and trousers has demonstrably reduced the price of these items over recent decades without compromising quality. Why shouldn’t the same apply to housing? This may indeed work to some extent in the case of rented housing, higher supply in a particular location does seem to dampen rents. Renters consume housing purely as a good. They will value a flat or house by its size, amenities and qualities in much the same way as if it were a very large fridge. If there are more and better fridges, sorry flats, available then renters will pick those that are bigger, better, well serviced and cost less to run. Rents will tend to be stable unless l demand rises. On the other hand, if rental supply is constrained, renters will have to pay more for less. High-end rentals in London are a very good example of this type of supply and demand pattern at work. Demand for prime central London (PCL) property to rent has, for decades, been a reflection of corporate relocation activity. (When rents are a few thousand pounds a week, you don’t rent because owner occupation is inaccessible or unaffordable, you rent because it’s expedient and convenient). In this sector, the fundamentals of decreasing demand from this type of housing occupant have shown up as a decade of falling rental prices – at the same time as capital values have soared. So housing is one area where global competition and efficient manufacturing and supply measures won’t shift supply as significantly as they have for cars, fridges and trousers. Real estate is not a normal consumer good – it uses a very expensive, scarce and immovable raw material - namely land. This is particularly the case in cities like London which have been inhabited for centuries and where land is recycled from previous uses >>>

RIGHT: Capital growth in Prime Central London Source: Savills Research

Professor Yolande Barnes, Bartlett Real Estate Institute at UCL

Issue 103 October-December 2017



RIGHT: Nine Elms Point New Homes in Lambeth, Barratt Homes

>>> rather than obtainable (relatively) cheaply from agricultural sources. It is very difficult, particularly in ‘heritage neighbourhoods’ to increase the supply of housing as it cannot be increased without simultaneously increasing the supply of land in the demanded location. This means that, in most given locations, land is finite – even where it could be increased marginally through densification. Even if the costs of housing production fall, land prices can still rise. Cheaply produced housing ceases to be cheap if the land it stands on is a scarce and rare commodity. This is particularly the case in London where new build supply is typically high-end and more expensive than the rest of the housing stock. This leads us to the other component of housing: its value as an asset. Where real estate operates in a near-permanent condition of scarcity, due to land constraints, it is hardly surprising that its price has tended to rise faster than the price of cars, fridges and trousers. An asset is something that puts money in your pocket. Housing assets can do this in several ways. Most homeowners and investors think in terms of capital growth because for many of them it has been so high over their lifetime. At times, the expectation of future capital growth is sufficient to fuel housing demand over and above the needs of renters, creating booms, busts and bubbles. These booms are not necessarily reliant on excessive or irresponsible mortgage lending. Prime central London (PCL) provides us with an excellent lesson in this, alongside other topend markets in global cities. The majority of purchasers in this market do not use credit. Those that do will often do so from personal finance choice, rather than necessity. How come then, these markets have been the first to rise in past cycles and have not been dependent on lax credit in order to do so? The answer lies in the opportunity cost of capital. Wealthy, cash rich buyers experienced dramatic reductions on cash deposits after 2008 as interest rates fell in the wake of the financial crisis and quantitative easing. Asset price inflation, including real estate, was an inevitable consequence. So housing is one area where global competition and efficient manufacturing and supply measures won’t shift supply as


Planning in London

significantly as they have for cars, fridges and trousers. Real estate is not a normal consumer good – it uses a very expensive, scarce and immovable raw material - namely land. This is particularly the case in cities like London which have been inhabited for centuries and where land is recycled from previous uses rather than obtainable (relatively) cheaply from agricultural sources. But this is due to change. Interest rates cannot fall much further, if at all. Asset price inflation that results from downward yield shift is over. In an era of low and stable interest rates, there can be now capital growth without rental growth. I believe income will be much more important to real estate value in coming decades. Capital values have reached a ‘high plateau’. The size and quality of net income streams will now determine the value of a property. This is true for both landlords and owner occupiers. Owner occupiers will focus on value in terms of imputed rent (that is money not paid to a landlord each month), landlords will be more focussed on actual income received (rather than an estimated rental value). Both will become very focussed on all the running, holding, maintenance and repair costs of real estate over the longer term. Obsolescence and depreciation will become greater concerns for many and could devalue certain types of property. There is a lot of change and disruption for policy makers to consider in coming years and this makes it all the more important to recognise housing for what it actually is – a complex composite good as well as a financial asset. We won’t stand a chance of solving the housing crisis if we don’t study, understand and allow for this complexity and also understand the way in which all the components of it interact in different ways at different times. While it is almost certainly futile to try to stand in the way of the juggernaut that is a good social-media bust-up, my plea is that you don’t see the Supplyiters and Crediteers as enemies but rather just two facets of a very complex puzzle. Both can be right in their own way on certain issues but their proposed solutions are fraught with the possibility of unintended consequences if we don’t understand the very much bigger and more complex picture. n

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Issue 103 October-December 2017


Air Quality Forum 2020

Tuesday 25th February 2020 | Arup, London Practical guidance for planning and implementing targeted solutions to improve air quality through an interdisciplinary approach Highlights of attending: • Explore what are the consequences of missing the legally binding 2020 emission targets and how we can develop new initiatives for quicker actions on solving air quality issues • Understand how health, transport and planning teams can work together to develop targeted solutions for overcoming poor air quality • Receive practical guidance on developing and implementing updated air quality action plans for your local area • Hear from local authorities on their progress with implementing solutions and what challenges they face when planning to support improved air quality and reduced pollution • Discover how clean air zones are being implemented across the UK and how to overcome the challenges faced with their introduction • Hear from leading case studies across the UK on the work underway to improve air quality – including a focus on the role of public health initiatives A team of patients, staff and Cassel supporters will be running a series of races over the coming months to raise money for The Cassel Hospital Charitable Trust - Fix Events 5km & 10km, 29th June 2019 - The Richmond Runfest Half Marathon, 15th

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Issue 103 October-December 2017



After Grenfell: whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s next for procurement? Procurement teams should re-examine their procurement strategies and work to develop alternatives to lowest-price tendering, and review their standard terms says John Forde

John Forde is a Managing Associate at Trowers & Hamlins LLP

The Hackitt Review recommended sweeping changes to procurement practice across the building industry to ensure that building safety was prioritised. The Government's recent Building a Safer Future consultation proposes radical change to construction and a host of new dutyholder roles, but was silent on any reforms to procurement law or practice. Where does this leave procurement in the UK, and what will need to change to support the proposed law reforms? The 2018 Hackitt Review emphasised the importance of procurement in determining whether high quality work and safety was prioritised in the construction of high-risk residential buildings (HRRBs). Chapter 9 of the Review noted that "the procurement process kick-starts the behaviours that we then see throughout design, construction, occupation and maintenance" of buildings, and recommended a number of changes to procurement and contracting practices to produce "safer building outcomes". These included contracts for HRRBs stating that safety requirements must not be compromised for cost reduction; tenders for HRRBs setting out how the solution that is proposed will produce safe building outcomes; and the tender review process being used to test tenderers' proposed safety cases. The Review criticised the practice of lowest price tendering and low contractor profit margins, which led to building safety being compromised and pushed risk downwards in the supply chain, but stopped short of making any express recommendations in these areas. Given this impetus for change, it was surprising that the Building a Safer Future document, while accepting most of the Hackitt Review's recommendations, said nothing about reforms to procurement practice. It's still unclear whether the Government intends to provide further guidance on procurement practice, or whether the building industry will be left to find its own solutions. Many industry leaders have seen this as a missed opportunity, particularly around discouraging the use of lowest-price tendering in the construction and maintenance of HRRBs. In the absence of any express guidance, the Steering Group on Competence for Building a Safer Future has released its own interim report Raising the Bar, which sets out an ambitious programme to improve professional competence across the building industry. The Steering Group proposes a series of national standards and competence frameworks for a range of professional disciplines, and a national registry of accredited individuals within each profession, supported by an industry-led Building Safety Competence Committee and a Government Oversight Body. In respect of procurement practice, the Steering Group report that "poor procurement practices can lead to decisions that compromise all aspects of building and life safety", and that key procurement activities "are too often carried out by individuals who are not fully qualified or fully competent which leads to poor decision-making and focus on price rather than building safety". With this in mind, a new procurement competence framework

covering every stage of the RIBA Plan of Work, that will identify the capabilities and knowledge needed to use procurement to prioritise building safety The framework will be developed by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply with oversight from a government body, probably the UK Accreditation Service. All HRRBs will require a Procurement Lead, who will be assessed against the competency framework, eventually leading to a register of accredited persons to undertake this role. The Steering Group recognises that this will require a culture change in the construction sector, and that further work will be needed to raise awareness of the new competence requirements and ensure compliance. There are a number of procurement-related issues raised by the Building a Safer Future proposals that are potentially problematic, and remain without clear answers. It is unclear how procurement teams will be expected to navigate the procurement of the new Dutyholder, Accountable Person and Building Safety Manager roles proposed in the Government's law reforms, or how liability for these roles will be formalised in building contracts and appointments. Accordingly, it is unclear if industry professionals will be willing to accept criminal liability for undertaking Dutyholder and Accountable Person roles, and whether these liabilities can be adequately insured. Given the widespread concern about a skills shortage in the construction industry, the new competency frameworks will need significant resourcing to meet the demand for trained and qualified professionals to take up these roles. There is also an ongoing concern about the "lowest price cul- >>>

Issue 111 October-December 2019



ABOVE: Project partnering at work: the £500m Glasgow estate regeneration project using the ACA’s PPC 2000 contract

>>> ture" in the construction industry. Alternative pricing models are in use to attempt to steer procurement decisions away from lowest price contracting. However, in the absence of a clear steer from government, there is a concern that (as the Steering Group note) "despite the best intentions of everyone involved in the various working groups… the culture of low prices and undercutting of competitors will continue." With landlords facing huge costs to ensure that new HRRB projects comply with the new Gateways system, and that existing buildings comply with in-occupation safety requirements, appointing a Procurement Lead will be yet another expense for an already cost-constrained industry. It's clear that without sufficient resourcing and a generous implementation timetable, the good intentions of these various proposals will become unworkable or prohibitively expensive. Pending the tabling of the draft Building Safety Bill, landlords can prepare themselves for the changes by informing their Boards


Planning in London

and executive teams about the likely impact of the changes, and undertaking stock condition surveys on their existing asset management portfolios to identify potential building safety issues and source important building safety information. Landlords can also take advantage of the many resources available to promote good procurement practice in their organisations. Procurement teams should re-examine their procurement strategies and work to develop alternatives to lowest-price tendering, and review their standard terms and conditions of contract. Dame Judith Hackitt endorsed the use of partnered methods of procurement as a way of developing collaborative working relationships with contractors and integration with the supply chain. Use of partnering contracts such as the PPC2000 Project Partnering Contract and the FAC-1 Framework Alliance Contract have been employed effectively to ensure service delivery within agreed timetables while avoiding the punitive contract terms and low profit margins complained about in the Hackitt Review. n


Owning and operating the world’s largest coliving community James Penfold says our message to the planning community is: to solve the housing crisis we need to innovate, and co-living is one of the answers

James Penfold is Global planning and communications Director at The Collective

Ten years ago, our founder Reza Merchant was a student sitting in the library at the London School of Economics and was struggling to rent a reasonably-priced room in the capital’s highly competitive housing market. As Reza grappled with finding a student flat the idea of The Collective formed in his mind: why wasn’t there anything easy, sociable and affordable for people arriving in London who didn’t want to live in a traditional Home in Multiple Occupation? He launched The Collective, which has grown from offering small house shares to owning and operating the world’s largest co-living community, with over 8,500 units operating or under development. We employ 250 people operating from London to New York to Berlin and we have raised $900 million to fund our growth. Our mission is to enable human connection and our aspiration is to help people to lead more fulfilling lives. We want to support wellbeing, combat loneliness and also be at the heart of the communities in which we operate. These are bold aims, but what does The Collective actually do on the ground? The best example to offer is our flagship The Collective Old Oak development in West London, where the co-living development has operated at 98 per cent occupancy for 3.5 years and at the same time provides 25-30 events a week for the people living there. Co living is a mindset and is for anyone who is looking for greater human connection and wants to be part of vibrant, inclusive and diverse communities.  Consequently, we are seeing intergenerational living at The Collective Old Oak already, with ages ranging from 18-66, whilst more than 25 per cent of members are 35-plus. Opportunities for social interaction within our buildings range from sessions on art and culture to music and mindfulness, delivered in high quality, shared spaces which are a fundamental building block of the co-living concept. But it is important to stress that those co-living spaces don’t just exist for the benefit for The Collective members living at Old Oak, some of whom have been in occupation for three years. For example, our Old Oak development is fully integrated with the wider neighbourhood, and we strove for this from day one. Our members helped with a local canal clear-out, local people have access to our shared spaces and can take part in activities like our yoga classes. We are also playing our part in solving the London housing crisis, through a range of affordable options at new developments we are planning in Wandsworth and Harrow.  At the riverside redevelopment of Garratt Mills in Trewint

Street, Earlsfield specifically, we have secured planning consent for the transformation of a former scrap metal yard and will be starting on site in the first quarter of 2020. The development will include 292 co-living rooms and, crucially, will include affordable accommodation for people earning £18,000 a year upwards, accommodation for foster care leavers, and community and employment incubation space free of charge for local people and businesses. For us, it is very important that our developments are tenure blind too and all members benefit from the same level of service and experience. We are also proactively seeking partnerships with local public bodies, such as South Thames College and local hospitals, to secure first preference on homes for key workers and existing local residents. This transpires through exclusively marketing our co living homes to local people and public sector workers for a period of three months prior to launching on the open market and local council’s benefiting from nomination rights over 35 per cent of the co-living rooms provided at a discount market rent. We are also moving into other forms of development, through London’s first co-living destinations to be combined with workspace. Hackney Wick and Harrow will be the focus for our efforts in this new arena, because we also want to drive job creation,  economic growth and support the creative industries and local >>>

Issue 111 October-December 2019



>>> entrepreneurs – at the same time as giving out members a platform from which to work. Our Wallis Road development in Hackney will include a double height ground floor incubator space which will be home to a 20,000 square foot `Market Yard’ focused on making, creating, music, arts and culture. Adjacent to the Market Yard will be a 20,000 square foot `Makers Yard’ which will contain units available as artists’ studios. These will be aimed at small manufacturing and local creative businesses such as dress makers, fashion designers and microbrewers. So how do we work with planners and local authorities in delivering these ideas? Firstly, I want to stress that we love to work collaboratively with local stakeholders. We like to engage with communities very early, so that what we build has been designed from the grassroots up rather than through the top-down approach favoured by so many developers. We want to hear what local authorities and local people want before embarking on design, because our ethos is not to create communities but to knit seamlessly into communities that are already there. Who are we, after all, to transform a part

James Penfold is Global planning and communications Director at The Collective and oversees the planning strategy for the business and across its portfolio. James’ role involves working in partnership with local communities and the public sector to deliver innovative and community focused places. James is a specialist in the co-living sector having advised Welive, Realstar and The Student Hotel before he joined The Collective.


Planning in London

of London that has grown up over centuries? Next, we work with planning officers through two use classes – Sui Generis Shared Living and C1, depending on whether we are building a long-stay or short-stay co living destination. Sui Generis Shared Living is the use class we created for long stay co living and is recognised in Draft Policy H18 in the draft London Plan. We have worked with City Hall for the past 6 years

to help create draft policy H18 because, as long term players and pioneers in our sector, it is critical to us that the co living sector is properly regulated and only the best players are able to enter the market and deliver projects in London. Sui Generis Shared Living applies to co-living developments where people stay for more than 90 days – at our Old Oak development this is the minimum time that people can live as members with us. We also progress under a C1 use, which traditionally governs hotel development. Our new Collective Canary Wharf development has a C1 consent, allowing shorter stays which we find are more popular in central business districts where people want to co-live for weeks or months rather than years. Our short stay projects are the focus of significant demand from corporate businesses for corporate memberships for work placements and graduates and we recently did a deal with JP Morgan at Canary Wharf for several hundred rooms. This is a real opportunity to drive talent and inward investment into an area.  We recently took the decision to switch from a Sui Generis Shared Living use to C1 use at a planned development in Stratford, again to provide short stay accommodation near to a growing business district in a move which the local London Legacy Development Company welcomed. We are also looking in future at creating more developments which are a mix of Sui Generis Shared Living and C1 use because we see a future in providing the widest possible range of accommodation and maximum convenience for our members as we forge ahead and create a global brand with destinations across major urban centres. Alongside our co-living development programme, we are also promoting three other initiatives: Pop Brixton, Peckham Levels under our Makeshift business, and The Collective Foundation. Pop Brixton is a project that supports local jobs, training and enterprise. It is a community initiative that has transformed a disused plot of land into a pioneering space that showcases the most exciting independent businesses from Brixton and Lambeth, providing a new destination that supports them to set up shop and share space, skills and ideas. Peckham Levels occupies the underused space inside a town centre car park, building a new creative workshop and cultural destination that showcases its members and connects them with the world outside. This is a grassroots project and over the coming months and years, working with our members and other local people, the space will continue to evolve, change and develop. The Collective Foundation is the philanthropic arm of The Collective and has a series of missions, ranging from eradicating homelessness to bridging the skills gap, to connecting communities, breaking down social barriers and improving people’s mental health.The Foundation’s initiatives include The Collective Accelerators, which is a network of start-up accelerator pro-

grammes that support promising entrepreneurs around the world. For example, at our Old Oak development we run The Collective Global Accelerator, a four-week residential programme that has supported 20 entrepreneurs operating worldwide.It all goes to the heart of our philosophy, which is based on the principles of the sharing economy. Far from putting up barriers to our co-living spaces, we welcome the local community into our buildings free of charge. Secondly one of the principles of the sharing economy is to share resources, and share energy. Our members don’t drive, but they also conserve energy in other ways. For example, 705 people would share 30 washer-driers at a Collective co-living development, whereas 705 people would probably share 350 washer-driers at a traditional apartment block or housing development. Our message to the planning community is this: To solve the housing crisis we need to innovate, and co-living is one of the answers. It will help to increase housing choice and optionality, and to create mixed and balanced communities. It will also help to resource equilibrium in a housing market which is under severe pressure ensuring that housing stock is used efficiently. If you are a planning authority and you are evaluating your options in terms of housing delivery we would love to connect with you and share our experience in creating co living policy. We are proud to be a London born and raised company and to be at the forefront of the global challenge to solve the housing crisis. n

Issue 111 October-December 2019


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Housing Design Handbook The new edition of the Housing Design Handbook is intended to demonstrate that sacrificing design quality in favour of basic numbers would be both dangerous and counterproductive. The authors David Levitt and Jo McCaffery set the context From £33 paperback, Routledge

Jo McCafferty is a director and David Levitt a founding partner of architectural practice, Levitt Bernstein

The new edition of the Housing Design Handbook was written not only as a campaigning document to promote quality in all forms of housing, but also as a primer to provide a firm foundation of practical knowledge, an aid not only to architects but to everyone involved in commissioning housing. The book is intended to demonstrate that sacrificing design quality in favour of basic numbers would be both dangerous and counterproductive. We know that homes must be built to last and that replacing them after just a couple of generations is not merely wasteful but can be deeply disturbing for the people affected. It would be a tragedy if a significant proportion of homes built today simply replace those that have failed to last. Writing more than 2,000 years ago, Vitruvius identified ‘Firmness, Commodity and Delight’ as essential components of a well-designed building. However, it appears that firmness and delight are often forgotten in new housing, despite it being the most significant built form in the urban landscape, while its ability to achieve a ‘sense of place’ provides an essential basis for social continuity. And in addition to housing quality, there is pressure on space itself: research published by LABC shows that space standards have been in continuous decline since a peak in the 1980s. Since the onset of the 2008 recession, a succession of government ministers enacting a programme of austerity has presided over the removal of direct subsidies for construction, particularly in the provision of affordable housing. This has had the inevitable consequence of increasing densities in a scramble for more private sales to cross-subsidise the affordable homes that developers are obliged to provide. In London in recent years, local authorities have started to build their own housing again; some boroughs have even established their own development companies to circumvent lengthy procurement processes and increase borrowing capacity, while local communities are instigating co-housing projects. But, regrettably, these smallscale initiatives alone are not going to solve the housing crisis. Many have called for renewed state funding and a reskilling of borough departments or even a centrally funded national housebuilding agency. Without a radical rethinking of procurement and funding for truly affordable dwellings, homelessness will continue to soar, and with it a rising burden on all the major services: health, education and policing. Meanwhile, accessible central locations will be solely for the wealthy. This is the context in which David and I invited some 26 of the country’s most esteemed designers and clients to discuss the challenges and principles in the design of good homes, drawing from exemplary projects in the UK and beyond. Much can be forgotten in the drive for numbers, but this manual aims to refocus attention on the importance of quality in the creation of the fundamental right for all: good housing that lasts. Beginning with Claire Bennie’s discussion of the factors influ-

encing housing that gets better over time, the rest of the book explores a series of issues that designers need to consider – a base of useful experience from which their own creative contributions can spring. As this book shows, there are many good examples of housing of all generations; they have stood the test of time and are supporting happy, healthy and mixed neighbourhoods. Evaluation of these and other built projects, through discussions with their designers, contractors, residents and housing managers is crucial in defining what works and what doesn’t, in order to influence what we design and build tomorrow, particularly with the current focus on offsite construction methods, new technologies, speed and efficiency. Meaningful analysis of long-term cost-in-use for all scales and types of development also needs to inform our thinking. New forms of tenure that offer the hope of affordability, with a broadening of rental and ownership options in both the public and private sectors, are emerging and should continue to evolve. But at the heart of all this, there has to be a genuine commitment from all those involved in the funding, design, delivery and management of housing to the social purpose of creating good homes – not social or private, just ‘good housing’ in the words of Neave Brown – a message he delivered with such passion and poignancy on being awarded the RIBA Gold Medal in October 2017. Just as almost all books on housing published since 1968 had to mention the collapse of Ronan Point, so Grenfell Tower, >>>

Issue 111 October-December 2019



>>> which burned in June 2017, now represents a watershed in the study of regulation and procurement. Unless some way is found to avoid the disconnect between the component parts of the entire design and construction team and those in control of managing and maintaining the housing itself, similar issues are likely to reappear. New forms of contract are essential to bind these relationships together formally through the design and construction process, and to ensure that the team working together at the beginning of a project is still there at the end. Architectural education also has its role to play in engaging young designers in housing – and it’s only of late that schools of architecture in the UK have begun to run programmes focussing on this most fundamental building typology. From the late 1970s until recently, the design of housing did not find its way into a student’s portfolio and has been actively discouraged as an area of study by some tutors in schools of architecture across the UK. To many studying architecture in central and northern European countries outside the UK and in the US, this seems incomprehensible – outrageous even. For students to have no understanding of the history, joys and complexities of designing homes that they themselves might live in, a built typology which forms 90% of the fabric of all our cities and is the very foundation of every aspect of our lives and wider society, is utterly perverse. And so now, given the dearth of resource within Local Authorities due to the rapid austerity-driven decline in central government funding, we should be encouraging aspiring architects to study housing, enabling more skilled designers to enter BELOW: Local Authorities when they graduate. A state funded, national Jo and David have visited house building programme, which is what we need to ease the several architectural schools availability and affordability of housing in the UK, requires a to emphasise the importance complete re-skilling of the industry – design skills, construction of housing design skills, management skills – and this needs to start in academic institutions. The picture is beginning to change for the good. Housing projects and studios are now appearing in several different schools across the UK, some led by leading practitioners, such as Alex Ely at The CASS and Peter Barber at the University of Westminster. Housing projects are evident at Sheffield, Newcastle, Oxford Brookes, Nottingham Trent and Liverpool schools, to name a few, in undergraduate and postgraduate courses. In addition, a specialist housing masters is due to appear in the London based studio of Liverpool University in the next couple of years, and the Housing and Urbanism Masters Unit goes from strength to strength at the AA. A Senior Lecturer in Housing Design, Policy & Development is also being advertised by the University of Westminster this year. Following the publication of the Housing Design Handbook last year, David Levitt and I embarked on a national tour of architectural schools to prompt a wider conversation about the


Planning in London

importance of good design in housing within academia. Already we have encountered 11 schools in the last eight months and there are more visits to come. Our intention has been to empower students with the knowledge and confidence to design good housing, and always advocate for quality in their working lives – whether within a Local Authority or private practice. It has been heartening to see a renewed passion for housing across the country from both students and academics – due no doubt also to the ever-increasing crisis faced by so many of us and the stark, visible increase of homelessness on our city streets. Many of the lectures have involved hundreds of engaged, informed students, and most events have been initiated by the student body themselves, including MASS’ highly successful Megacrit in April this year. So, please join the campaign to raise housing quality across the UK and ensure our academic institutions and all those involved in the commissioning of new homes prioritise high quality design. We need to speak of ‘homes’ not ‘units’, and ‘people’ rather than ‘occupants’; this shift from merely considering the number of homes to their quality and longevity is fundamental to the evolution and successful growth of sustainable neighbourhoods across the country. n


Climax City and the planning of London We need to reform our planning system to rediscover the subtle art of regulating and shaping the natural process of urban growth say David Rudlin and Shruti Hemani in their new book Climax City: Masterplanning and the complexity of urban growth, David Rudlin and Shruti Hemani £36 RIBA Publications

The planners throughout history have been a frustrated bunch – forever striving to create a better world only to see their plans end in failure. It is a failure that takes one of two forms, the most common is to see their plans ignored or superseded by events, the most depressing is to see their plans built and to fall short of their aspirations. This frustration is a particularly British concern, dating back to the failure to rebuild London after the Great Fire of 1666. As the renowned planner Thomas Sharp wrote in his plan for Exeter after it was destroyed by wartime bombing: ‘To rebuild the city on the old lines… would be a dreadful mistake. It would be an exact repetition of what happened in the rebuilding of London after the Fire and the results in regret and and lost opportunity will be the same.’ Whether the unreconstructed London or the comprehensively redeveloped post war cities got the better deal is a moot point.  Our book Climax City: Masterplanning and the complexity of urban growth, written with my co-author Shruti Hemani explores this frustration. It is an exploration undertake through large hand drawn maps at five scales through which we seek to understand the interaction between planning and the natural growth of cities. We draw on examples from across the world, particular Shruti’s native India, but inevitably we keep returning to London.  John Evelyn who drew up one of the masterplans for the City after the fire (the other being by Wren) wrote of a London where ‘the buildings are as deformed as the minds and confusions of the

David Rudlin is a director of URBED and Shruti Hemani a professor of urban design at Aayojan school of architecture, Jaipur

people... [a] large very ugly town, pestered with hackney coaches and insolent carremen, shops and taverns, noyse and such a cloud of sea coal as if there be a resemblance to hell on earth.’ He compares this unfavourably to Paris that was ‘so incomparably fair and uniform that you would imagine yourself rather in some Italian Opera.’ As Michael Hebbert points out in his history of London, many of the portraits of city merchants at the time included ideal cityscapes as backgrounds. Yet the same merchants had little time for fancy plans which came a poor second to the business of business and the city was rebuilt on its old plan.  However what did change things was the 1667 Rebuilding of the City of London Act intended to prevent the spread of future fires. This established five types of street and four classes of house, with the widths of the former and the heights and materials of the latter precisely fixed. This was to be the design code that would regulate the rebuilding of the city. The urban form that it created is what we now know as the London vernacular. It is a good example of the core idea of the book which is that a particular set of social and market conditions combined with a regulatory framework creates a ‘climax' urban state, just as climatic conditions create climax vegetation. For the latter half of the 20th century this climax state was the suburban cul-de-sac in many parts of Britain, but in London the terrace and the square are an enduring climax form that can be dated to the Great Fire.      This of course is not to say that London is an unplanned city. Indeed by the 1830s the boot was on the other foot as Napoleon III was exiled in London and was able to admire the results of Nash’s great remodelling of the axis from Regent's Park via Portland Street and Regent Street to Piccadilly Circus and Clarence House. We tell the story of this very British masterplan which kinks and turns through the gap between Soho and Mayfair. When Napoleon III was elected as president in 1948 he returned to Paris determined to complete the Rue de Rivoli that had been started by his uncle Bonaparte 50 years earlier. So frustrated was he by the lack of progress in his four year term that he declared himself emperor with absolute powers, appointed Haussemann as his prefect and spent the next 18 years remodelling Paris. Indeed one of the unsettling conclusions of the book is that large scale masterplanning in existing cities tends to be only possible in a dictatorship.    >>> LEFT: The rebuiling of London after 1666: The city prior to the fire in the 1660s (top) with the area in red showing the extent of the fire. The two masterplans drawn up after the fire by Christopher Wren (middle right) and John Evelyn (middle left) London in 1806 showing the persistence of the Medieval plan but with the planned estates of Bloomsbury (1) appearing in the north west of the plan

Issue 111 October-December 2019




RIGHT BOTTOM: 10km radius Trellis plan of London centres on Trafalgar Square BELOW; 2km radius Figure Ground plan of London centred on Trafalgar Square


Planning in London

London by contrast, outside the City, is an informal patchwork of masterplans promoted by land owners and coded through a process of plot based urbanism based largely on leasehold powers. Together with building codes these plans have created a frame for the city to grow into shaping its climax state. This of course is not unique to London a large part of our book is devoted to this type of masterplan-led development as the way that cities have been built, across the world and throughout history.  This is true until we get to the birth of modern planning systems after the war. These were based on the idea that cities could be planned on paper in an orderly efficient way. Planners, as we said at the start of this article, have been frustrated either by the failure of these plans to be implemented or disappointed by the results when they have been built.  The core message of Climax City is that we need to reform our planning system to rediscover the subtle art of regulating and shaping the natural process of urban growth. n RIGHT: 80m Radius Tissue plan of Doughty Street as an example of typical London urban fabric

ABOVE: London Regent Street: Before and after plans of the remodelling showing how the street was threaded between the squares occupied by the rich and powerful.


Regents Park


Park Crescent


Portland Place


All Souls


Oxford Circus


Regent Street


The Great Quadrant


Piccadilly Circus


Carlton House

Unlocking Housing Through Local Plan Development Tuesday 3rd December 2019 | Dentons, London A practical masterclass on meeting housing targets and developing local plans Highlights of attending: • Understand the impacts that the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) will have on housing delivery • Explore how you can create your local plan, in light of the revised NPPF guidance, to meet your housing targets • Discover how your local plans will be examined and what requirements will need to be met to allow for a successful plan adoption, avoiding common pitfalls and delays • Hear from local authorities what challenges they are facing including how to address a lack of resources to enable faster housing delivery • Share you views on what we can do to speed up local plan development and housing delivery to meet housing targets • Learn how to identify deliverable sites to enable development and what flaws there are in the standard methodology for assessing housing needs

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Issue 111 October-December 2019


BUY NOW: Interpreting the NPPF: The new National Planning Policy Framework The first book to explain in depth the revised NPPF & how it is likely to be interpreted in the courts. Essential reading for anyone with involved in local planning and development including planners, developers and their legal advisers About the Author Alistair Mills is a member of Landmark Chambers, one of the country's leading sets of planning barristers. He works for a range of clients in the planning field: private developers, objectors, central and local government.

READER OFFER Save £10 on the print / digital edition bundle - normally £60 but £50 for Planning in London readers when you use the code PIL0119 at checkout

He also maintains a digest of decisions relating to the NPPF on the Landmark Chambers website. 1st edition published October 2018 Paperback, 210 pages Print: £40 + p&p Digital: £40 + VAT Print / digital bundle: £50 + VAT (when using code PIL0119 ISBN 978-1-9164315-2-2

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Planning in London


Planning and Environment Reference Guide Please notify any changes immediately by e-mail to with the subject â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;planning in london directoryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. LONDON BOROUGHS DIRECTORY

London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Barking Town Hall Barking IG11 7LU

Mr Paul Moore Acting Chief Executive 0203 045 4901 David Bryce-Smith Director Public Protection, Housing and Public Realm 0203 045 5779

020 8215 3000 -and-building-control/ Chris Naylor Chief Executive London Borough of Barking and Dagenham 020 8227 2137 Simon Green Predsident of Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce 020 8591 6966 Jeremy Grint Divisional Director of Regeneration and Economic Development 020 8227 2443

London Borough of Barnet Building 4 North London Business Park (NLBP) Oakleigh Road South London N11 1NP 020 8359 3000 John Hooton Chief Executive 020 8359 2000 Lesley Feldman Planning Development Manager

Seb Salom Head of Strategic Planning and Transportation 0203 045 5779 Kevin Murphy Head of Housing and Regeneration 0203 045 5837 Robert Lancaster Head of Developmental Control 0203 045 5837

London Borough of Brent Brent Civic Centre Engineers Way Wembley HA9 0FJ 020 8937 1200 Carolyn Downs Chief Executive 020 8937 1007 Amar Dave Strategic Director Regeneration and Environment 020 8937 1516 Alice Lester Head of Planning, Transport and Licensing 020 8937 6441

Annie Hampson Chief Planning Officer and Development Director 020 7332 1700 London Borough of Croydon Development and Environment Bernard Weatherill House

London Borough of Bromley Civic Centre Stockwell Close Bromley BR1 3UH 020 8464 3333 Ade Adetosoye OBE Chief Executive 020 8313 4060

8 Mint Walk, Croydon CR0 1EA 020 8726 6000 planningandregeneration

Jim Kehoe Chief Planner 020 8313 4441

Chief Executive Ms Jo Negrini

Lisa Thornley Development Control Support Officer

Director of Planning and Strategic Transport Ms Heather Cheeseborough Director of Development Ms Colom Lacey 020 8604 7367 London Borough of Camden Town Hall Extension Argyle Street WC1H 8EQ 020 7974 4444

Head of Building Control Ric Patterson

Jenny Rowlands Chief Executive 020 7974 5621 Frances Wheat Acting Assistant Director for Regeneration and Planning 020 7974 5630

London Borough of Ealing Perceval House 14-16 Uxbridge Road Ealing London W5 2HL 020 8825 6600 Chief Executive Paul Najsarek 020 8825 5000

Aktar Choudhury Operational Director of Regeneration 020 8937 1764

City of London Department for the Built Environment PO Box 270 Guildhall London EC2P 2EJ 020 7332 1710

London Borough of Bexley Civic Offices Broadway Bexleyheath DA6 7LB

Rob Krzysznowski Spatial Planning Manager 020 8937 2704

Town Clerk and Chief Executive John Barradell OBE 020 7332 1400

Executive Director of Environment Keith Townsend 020 8825 5000

020 8303 7777

David Glover Development Management Manager 020 8937 5344

Director of the Built Environment Ms Carolyn Dwyer 020 7332 1600

Director of Safer Communities and Housing Mark Whitmore 020 8825 5000

Director of Regeneration and Planning David Moore

Issue 111 October-December 2019



Chief Executive Tim Shields 020 8356 3201

London Borough of Enfield PO Box Civic Centre Silver Street Enfield EN1 3XE 020 8379 4419 Chief Executive Ian Davis 020 8379 3901

Assistant Director of Planning and Regulatory Services John Allen 020 8356 8134

Head of Development Management Andy Higham 020 8379 3848 Planning Decisions Manager Sharon Davidson 020 8379 3841 Transportation Planning David B Taylor 020 8379 3576

020 8863 5611

Director of Regeneration John Lumley 020 8356 2138

Chief Executive Tom Whiting 020 8420 9495 Divisional Director of Planning Paul Nichols 020 8736 6149

The London Borough of Havering Town Hall Main Road Romford RM1 3BD

Head of Planning Regeneration John Finlayson 020 8753 6740

01708 433100

Royal Borough of Greenwich The Woolwich Centre 35 Wellington Street London SE18 6HQ

Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills Pippa Hack 020 8921 5519 Assistant Director of Planning Victoria Geoghegan 020 8921 5363 Assistant Director of Transportation Graham Nash London Borough of Hackney

Environment and Planning Hackney Service Centre 1 Hillman Street E8 1DY 020 8356 8062


Planning in London

Chief Executive Andrew Blake-Herbert 01708 432201

Planning and Building Control Simon Thelwell 01708 432685

London Borough Of Haringey Level 6 River Park House 225 High Road Wood Green London N22 8HQ

Head of Development Management Dean Hermitage

Head of Regeneration & Spatial Planning Ian Rae 020 8583 2561

London Borough of Islington 222 Upper Street London N1 1XR 020 7527 6743 Chief Executive Ms Lesley Seary 020 7527 3136

Team Leader for Planning & Projects Eshwyn Prabhu 020 7527 2450

Director for Housing, Regeneration & Planning Dan Hawthorn

Head of Planning Policy, Transport & Infrastructure Rob Krzyszowski

Head of Development Management Marilyn Smith 020 8583 4994

Service Director of Planning & Development Karen Sullivan 020 7527 2949

020 8489 1400

Assistant Director for Planning, Building Standards and Sustainability Emma Williamson

020 8583 5555

Planning Control Manager Helen Oakerbee 01708 432800

Development & Transport Planning Martyn Thomas 01708 432845

020 8921 6426

London Borough Of Hounslow Civic Centre Lampton Road Hounslow TW3 4DN

Strategic Director of Housing , Planning & Communities Peter Matthew

Chief Executive Ms Kim Dero 020 8753 3000

Head of Policy & Spatial Planning Pat Cox 020 8753 5773

Head of Major Initiatives, Strategic Planning & Transportation Jales Tippell 01895 250230

Chief Executive Niall Bolger 020 8770 5203

London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham Hammersmith Town Hall Extension King Street London W6 9JU 020 8748 3020

Head of Development Management Ellen Whitchurch 020 8753 3484

Acting Chief Executive Ms Debbie Warren 020 8921 5000

London Borough of Harrow PO Box 37 Civic Centre Station Road Harrow HA1 2UY

Head of Spatial Planning Randall Macdonald 020 8356 8051

Head of Planning Policy Joanne Woodward 020 8379 3881 Assistant Director Planning, Highways & Transportation Bob Griffiths 020 8379 3676

Head of Planning & Enforcement James Rodger 01895 250230

London Borough of Hillingdon Civic Centre High Street Uxbridge UB8 1UW 01895 250111 Chief Executive & Corporate Director of Administration Ms Fran Beasley 01895 250111 Deputy Director of Residents Services Nigel Dicker 01895 250566

Deputy Head of Development Management & Building Control Andrew Marx 020 7527 2045 Head of Spatial Planning Sakiba Gurda 020 7527 2731


Chief Executive Ms Janet Senior 020 8314 8013 Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea The Town Hall Hornton Street London W8 7NX

Development Manager Geoff Whittington

020 7361 3000

020 8891 1411

Chief Executive Barry Quirk 020 7361 2991 Executive Director of Planning & Borough Development Graham Stallwood 020 7361 2612

Chief Executive Paul Martin 020 8871 6001 London Borough of Merton Merton Civic Centre London Road Morden Surrey SM4 5DX 020 8545 3837 Chief Executive Ged Curran 020 8545 3332

Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames Guildhall 2 High Street Kingston Upon Thames KT1 1EU 020 8547 5002

Assistant Director Traffic & Engineering Nick Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Donnell nick.oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; uk Deputy Director Highway Operations & Street Scene Kevin Power

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets Mulberry Place 5 Clove Crecsent London E14 2BE 020 8364 5009 Chief Executive Will Tuckley Divisional Director Planning & Building Control 020 7364 5314 Strategic Planning Manager Adele Maher 020 7364 5375

Director of Community and Housing Hannah Doody 020 8545 3680 The London Borough of Southwark 160 Tooley Street London SE1 2QH 020 7525 3559 London Borough of Newham Newham Dockside 1000 Dockside Road London E16 2QU 020 8430 2000 Chief Executive Kim Bromley-Derry

London Borough of Lambeth Phoenix House 10 Wandsworth Road London SW8 2LL

Director of Housing and Regeneration Brian Reilly

Director of Environment and Regeneration Chris Lee 020 8545 3051

Interim Chief Executive Roy Thompson 020 8547 5343 Head of Planning Lisa Fairmaner 020 8470 4706

London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames Civic Centre 44 York Street Twickenham TW1 3BZ

Executive Head of Economic Development, Planning & Sustainability Eleanor Purser

The London Borough Of Waltham Forest Town Hall London E17 4JF 020 8496 3000

Chief Executive Eleanor Kelly 020 7525 7171 Strategic Director of Environment & Social Regeneration Deborah Collins 020 7525 7171

Director of Commissioning (Communities, Environment & Housing) Simon Litchford QPM

Chief Executive Martin Esom 020 8496 3000 Strategic Director, Corporate Development Rhona Cadenhead 020 8496 8096 Director Regeneration & Growth Lucy Shomali

Chief Executive Andrew Travers 020 7926 9677 Divisional Director for Planning, Regeneration & Enterprise Alison Young 020 7926 9225 Divisional Director Housing Strategy & Partnership Rachel Sharpe

London Borough of Lewisham Town Hall Catford London SE6 4RU 020 8314 6000

London Borough of Redbridge 128-142 High Road Ilford London IG1 1DD

The London Borough of Sutton 24 Denmark Road Carshalton SurreySM5 2JG

020 8554 5000

020 8770 5000

Chief Executive & Head of Paid Service Andy Donald

Chief Executive Helen Bailey

Interim Head of Planning & Building Control Ciara Whelehan

Assistant Director, Resources Directorate (Asset Planning, Management & Capital Delivery) Ade Adebayo 020 8770 6349

Head of Inward Investment & Enterprise Mark Lucas 020 8708 2143

The London Borough of Wandsworth Town Hall Wandsworth High Street London SW18 2PU 020 8871 6000

Strategic Director of Environment, Housing & Regeneration Mary Morrisey 020 8770 6101

Chief Executive Paul Martin 020 8871 6001 Head of Development Permissions Nick Calder 020 8871 8417 Environment and Community Services Directorate

Issue 111 October-December 2019



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Permitted Development Rights+ Peter Barbalov calls for a new PDR+ which will allow more unused and tired office buildings to become much needed good homes

Peter Barbalov is a partner at Farrells

There has been a lot of discussion recently on the merits or otherwise of Permitted Development Rights (PDR) - a process that was introduced in a rush in 2016 to enable the conversion of unused office buildings into residential properties to help combat the housing crisis. Recently, professional bodies and the industry have been very critical of PDR and schemes that pay no heed to planning standards, provide any section 106 benefits or offer a poor quality of life for residents with low levels of space and amenity - a true Trojan Horse for unscrupulous developers where local authorities’ hands are tied. Following the legislation’s extension, now is the time to reassess its allowances, to learn from its failures and limitations and adapt the legislation, rather than writing it off as ‘too-difficult-tohandle’ and scrapping a scheme that has the potential to effectively support the ever growing demand for housing. A creative approach is needed to encourage private developers to invest in housing in somewhat uncertain times. A revision and improvement of PDR, which learns from its broad brush and laissez-faire spirit to a more mature and well-thought-out approach should be adopted. I would argue that the Horizon Building, a project designed by Farrells London on behalf of U+I in Ilford provides a blueprint and a direction of travel to a revised Permitted Development Rights process, one which gives developers the reassurance required to embark on the planning journey while at the same time ensuring that regulations, best practice, and design take lead - let’s call this Permitted Development Rights Plus (PDR+). Where the current process is undoubtedly open to abuse by cavalier developers and where local authorities are left with little control, one would argue that when implemented in the right spirit of collaboration and dialogue among all parties, and where the developer’s aim is to provide quality homes rather than profitdriven, the certainty of change of use which PDR gives has its merits. A PDR+ based on this premise has a positive place in the current planning system, as a tool to provide comfort to change-ofuse developers and de-risking the planning process by offering a change of use guarantee. Given the current shortage of homes across London particularly, this more collaborative and controlled approach PDR+, can be used as a way to give existing buildings, where commercial use is either no longer viable or desirable, a new lease of life; locations where mixed-use, residential-led development and conversion of existing tired office buildings can be part of comprehensive regeneration (and part of a comprehensive local authority-led masterplan framework) rather than one-off, often buccaneering in nature, PDR schemes. We were first commissioned by Development Securities in 2013 to convert Valentines House in Ilford into residential flats and try to optimise the site and its potential to provide new quali-

ty homes next to the new Elisabeth line at Ilford. Working with an existing building can often be challenging, but with this scheme the complexities inspired creativity and therefore optimised the scheme for both the developer and the residents who would live there. The initial idea dated back to 2008, when the Crossrail plans were launched and the Ilford redevelopment ‘Action Plan’ was put forward by the council. We proactively studied several sites in the area and saw huge potential in Valentines House - a tired office building adjacent to Ilford Station. We approached U+I with our plans and they were equally excited about the opportunity to repurpose the building. Through collaborative work between the design team and support from the developer throughout, we completely refurbished and remodelled the dated and unused 1980’s office block, adding four additional floors and a side extension to transform it into 122 high quality apartments with landscaped roof gardens for residents’ enjoyment, along with three retail units at ground level. The main challenge was retaining the existing structure, which influenced the design of the internal and external façades. Although beautiful, when looking at the waffle slab we had to consider designing spacious apartments that also accommodated the required services. This was when the strong relationships between members of the design team proved to be invaluable. We found a solution that worked, not only architecturally but also structurally and for mechanical and electrical services. The planning strategy and process which the team undertook >>>

Issue 111 October-December 2019



IMAGES: Farrellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Horizon Building Ilford for U+I

RIGHT after

>>> in discussion with the London Borough of Redbridge considered the newly introduced PDR route to ensure the timely redevelopment of the site. Among the options explored, a conversion rather than a new build was deemed the best approach to the site based on the project timeline, and reuse of an existing buildBELOW before ing with its long-term sustainability benefits, and the desire to


Planning in London

deliver the development quickly to create new homes in the borough. The team took an incremental approach in discussing the application with the local authority, where three sequential steps were taken, each one of them in discussion with the planning team at Redbridge. Step one was to submit for PDR under the new rule to establish the use of the building as residential. This was followed by a full detailed planning application for a new façade design and amenity provision to ensure that the proposed scheme would meet the London Housing Design Guide and other statutory and non-statutory requirements. On the approval of the application, the team submitted an expanded design to maximise the number of homes of the converted building by increasing its height and footprint to provide 122 homes for Redbridge. The Horizon Building is an example of PDR being used as a tool in the larger planning toolset, to create the quality homes that London needs in a responsible way. We believe this provides a way forward to give comfort to developers that change of use is allowed, limit speculation and waste of resources (both local authority and developer) and encourage development. Statutory instruments are needed to ensure that post PDR approval, the development is subject to the same planning and design scrutiny and same spatial and amenity standards as other residential developments. If this can be achieved, a new PDR+ will allow unused and tired office buildings to become much needed homes and make a positive contribution to the wider borough development plans and their communities. n



Issue 111 October-December 2019




Profile for brianwaters1

Planning in London issue 111 October-December 2019  

THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO DEVELOPMENT IN THE CAPITAL Planning in London issue 111 October-December 2019 88 pages

Planning in London issue 111 October-December 2019  

THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO DEVELOPMENT IN THE CAPITAL Planning in London issue 111 October-December 2019 88 pages