Planning in London issue 123 OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2022

Page 84

Issue 123 OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2022 Regulars LEADERS page 5 FINCH page 7 ¡PILLO! page 27 PLANNING PERFORMANCE p28 ROGERS page 43 PARKYN’S PIECES page 44 THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO DEVELOPMENT IN THE CAPITAL Please subscribe: page 90 The Journal of the London Planning & Development Forum POPULATION PROJECTIONS, REVISED NPPF, IMPACT OF INFLATION AND EMBODIED CARBON - London Planning & Development Forum page 32 • What does the growth plan mean for development? - Simon Ricketts page 14; • The Green Belt has been a disasterCLIPBOARD page 24 • The City is buzzing again - Juliemma McLoughlin page 75

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Planning and politics are like oil and water; Going for growth


Volume can count more than space


The new Putney Bridge pier


What does the growth plan mean for development? | Simon Ricketts ;

16 Suburban Task Force takes stock | Peter Eversden; 17 The West End office market on the up | Freddie Corlett; 18 Is this Localism #2? | Lucy Anderson;

19 The only constant in planning is change | Sam Stafford; 21 How visitor data and insights help councils with planning | Clive Hall;


The real worry is National Development Management Policies | Michael Bach,; Compulsory rental auctions are yet another half baked idea | Jonathan De Mello


23 Whole-life carbon assessment controversy strikes the Barbican


Green Belt expands; The Green Belt has been a disaster; Investment Zones: some handy existing legislation? Aylesbury Estate: new plans lodged as council approves compulsory purchase powers

27 ¡PILLO!

Growth, Growth, Growth; Royal Yacht; St Mungo’s homes set for go-ahead; Destination city City


Numbers of applications and decisions continue to drop

32 LONDON PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT FORUM Population projections, revised NPPF, impact of inflation and embodied carbon


Why planning is sexy Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022 CONTENTS



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Issue 123 October-December 2022

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4 Planning in London CONTENTS CONTINUED
Planning Aid for London London Metropolitan University THE LP&DF IS ASSOCIATED WITH THE LONDON SOCIETY 44 PARKYN’S PIECES ‘Doing Extraordinary Things’; Manchester’s Symphony of Slots; Order Order! Security Blankets? Places of Invention; Sense of Scale FEATURES 47 Momentum Connect Safeguarding our cities for the future 59 The CaMKoX Arc | Nigel Moor 63 Croydon’s Suburban Design Guide | Russell Curtis 66 A New Kind of Suburbia | Elanor Warwick 70 Chances of getting permissions | Genevieve Wong Truscott 73 Eastern
BID | Andrew Reynolds 75 The
is buzzing again | Juliemma McLoughlin 82 BOOKS Two
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Attacking the planning system

Planning and politics are like oil and water

The new government has old ideas about how to stimulate growth: attack the planning system. As usual, politicians spout nonsense about how they will simultaneously increase consultation, empower communities, and speed up decisions. Alternatively, they will make life easier by creating special zones where normal planning procures will not apply – subject to local political support. Or by encouraging generation of new energy sources, such as shale, but again on the basis of local support. Are these politicians taking any professional advice, one wonders?

At a local level things are no better. Take, for example, the behaviour of councillors in Southwark in respect of an office proposal for the Elephant and Castle area. The planners supported the application, describing the architecture as ‘exemplary’. Councillors on the other hand thought otherwise. The application by Lendlease was rejected, and since rejection requires reasons, out were trotted those old favourites, height, bulk and mass. Not exemplary then. You feel sympathy for the planning officer who might end up at a public inquiry being crossexamined about whether their judgement was utterly incompetent, or whether their political masters were simply inventing reasons for refusal which had no basis in fact.

There is a way whereby government could speed up planning. This would be to provide rapid inspection of applications supported by planners but rejected by councillors. Such cases could be referred to the office of the government chief planner, whose default position would be that the advice of professionals would be supported unless there were compelling planning (not political) reasons for overturning that advice. The local authority would have to pay for this service.

It would be tempting to re-introduce personal liability for councillors wilfully ignoring professional recommendations.

Whatever happened to moral hazard? n

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

Going for growth

Liz Truss’s demonisation of north Londoners as key members of an ‘anti-growth’ coalition reminds us of David Cameron’s 2011 broadside labelling planners ‘enemies of enterprise’.

Whilst sending broadsides against KamiKwase Trussonomics, The Economist and The Financial Times also chose recently to target the planning system as an enemy of growth. ‘Britain’s failure to build is throttling its economy,’ The Economist blasted in September, just before Liz and Kwasi put on their own firework show. ‘The country,’ it said, ‘has become a vetocracy…the whole thing is a disaster.’

The FT’s Martin Wolf, a fairly frequent commentator on land use matters, while labelling the Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022

Tories’ dynamic duo ‘mad, bad and dangerous’, instead of their ‘magic potion’ of unfunded tax cuts to encourage growth, called for further deregulation of land use. He didn’t think their proposed local investment zones would deliver desired growth, and nor would a ‘big jump in inequality’ implied by the now-torpedoed cut in the top rate of tax.

But there’s the point. Growth, good growth, encouraged by planning, is our best tool for tackling inequality. Where there isn’t growth, inequality is worse. And if there are people in London who think growth per se is bad, then they probably aren’t living where it is absent or necessary. If you live in an east London borough where the population has risen by 20 per cent again, you may be quite keen on more homes getting built.

And the irony is, the people who hate growth most are the Nimbys with which the Conservative Party is stuffed. Lots of them live around Amersham, where Boris Johnson’s plan ning white paper was blasted out of the water.

It seems unlikely however, even if Truss were to survive for two more years until an elec tion, that the Tories’ planning schizophrenia around its role as promoter or preventer of growth is likely to be resolved in planning reform. Too high above the parapet.

There is a more cunning plan for embedding growth, however. Suggested by former chief planner Steve Quartermain at the September meeting of the London Planning and Development Forum. And that is to swiftly implement the long overdue update of the National Planning Policy Framework, which requires no primary legislation.

Approval of Local Plans could be simplified and speeded up. Support for much needed growth could be strengthened, national development management policies could be stan dardised and downloaded and not reinvented for every topic by every authority, making plans easier and cheaper to create. Pulling all measurable conditions out of planning and into Building Regulations would greatly unburden and speed the process as well.

You would also expect, said Quartermain, that the NPPF might more strongly support legis lation around what needs to be done to deliver the climate change agenda through planning and could be clearer about retro-fit versus redevelopment.

Saving the planet should be a material planning consideration, but so is growth – as voters in the Red Wall, and the poorer parts of London, know only too well from years of waiting. n

6 Planning in London LEADERS
>>> RIGHT: Cover story and first leader in a recent Economist

Volume can count more than space

Design dilemmas and challenges facing clients and architects increase by the day. Even quite modest proposals require, as part of planning applications, analysis of carbon and fire implications which planners are not trained to pass judgment on. Hence the rise and rise of niche specialists within the planning process, commenting on matters which should properly be part of building regula tions. The idea that we are living in an era of dereg ulation is laughable.

A more important consideration is what it is that architecture can offer clients, investors and society at large to give confidence that we are not being car bon-profligate in the short-term, or that what we are building today will still be fit for purpose within a generation or two.

This raises the under-discussed, question of vol ume (as opposed to square footage). After all, when we enter any building, we move from the world of infinite space/volume, that is to say nature, to a world of enclosure which is defined not by area, but by the volumetric space and sequence of spaces which provide a useful definition of architecture itself. What we experience in any building is volume not area.

The fact that we generally apply rental values to area rather than volume, except in the case of very specific logistics sheds, says something about the way we have divorced real estate values from the experiential. Many of the buildings we admire have had a long life – the Georgian house being one obvi ous example – precisely because they include gener ous volumes within them, or at least volumes which are not simply replicas of every other floor.

Similarly, Victorian board schools have proved capable of adaptation to other uses, from residential to commercial, quite beyond the bounds of what one could think about doing with the supposedly efficient floorplates and floor-to-ceiling heights of commer cial building from the not-too-distant past.

Volumetric generosity, plus a bit of over-engineering, sets the scene for long life, loose fit and low energy.

Architects engaged in current debates about demolition versus retrofit know all about this. Is it necessarily the case that mixed use equals retails on basement and ground, plus offices above on the model familiar to developers from the 1950s onwards? Who says we need the offices more than, say, storage space? Is the future of Oxford Street fixed in time, or might we be on the cusp of a change in outlook where retail equals sampling and ordering – from stock which is stored in gigantic volumes about the showroom?

Indeed, for any architect and client undertaking an analysis of a substantial retrofit project, should the discussion be about area, or should it be about volumes? And shouldn’t it involve a really critical look at the location (or re-location of cores)? What makes

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

a building difficult to convert for different uses is fre quently this issue.

The most experienced developers can get this wrong because what seems the obvious place to put the lifts etc is not necessarily the one which provides maximum benefit in the short term, but may be dis astrous in respect of cost and difficulty if and when new uses need to be introduced.

This leads us to the role of investors and their sur veyors in respect of formal valuation. These days it is the less scientific but nevertheless significant ques tion of social, economic and environmental responsi bility which needs to be incorporated into valuation ideology. It is no longer acceptable for investment criteria to adopt a who cares attitude after the first rent review.

Investors and planners could promote carbon responsibility by requiring architects to show how their designs could be simply adapted to provide dif ferent possibilities for alternative future uses. A detailed planning application might, for example, be accompanied by indicative designs showing how the building envelope could embrace new possibilities with relative ease. A big part of that story would be how volumes, rather than space, matter. Film produc tion, anyone?n

First published in Property Week, with kind consent. Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022
Full applications might include indicative designs showing how the building envelope could embrace new possibilities, argues Paul Finch
These days it is the less scientific but nevertheless significant question of social, economic and environmental responsibility which needs to be incorporated into valuation ideology. It is no longer acceptable for investment criteria to adopt a who cares attitude after the first rent review.

The new Putney Bridge pier

The new Putney Bridge pier has led to controversy and concern amongst rowers. The architect Anthony Carlile illustrated the scheme for Planning in London

Just upstream of Putney Bridge, the new pier will form the western terminus for London’s river buses. The proposal moves the ferry stop approximately 80m downstream to a new purpose built pontoon.

The existing pier does not serve the ferries well, its linkspan reaches a gradient of 1:4.9 on the low spring tides and it is not accessible for wheelchair users for large parts of each day. At the very highest tides the pavement also floods and the entrance is extremely confusing, feeling much like a pri vate marina.

In contrast the new pier is designed to be a welcoming continuation of the public pavement. It will allow passengers to embark and dis-embark simultaneously which isn’t possi ble at the existing pier, frequently causing knock-on delays along the rest of the central RB6 route.

The proposal also moves the ferries further away from the Putney Crossing and the Upper Tideway to the west where rowing activity is most intense. The face of the new pier is 30m from the navigation channel leaving space for smaller

craft to travel safely outside of the fairway. The new pier also moves the ferries downstream and outside of the competi tive course for the traditional rowing races. As is the case in the current situation, the River Buses will work around special race events ceasing operation.

Accessed from the Thames Tideway build-out, the public transport use is well suited the large new civic space. The planning application is in and Thames Clippers are keen to commence work as soon as possible. Almost all of the pier will be constructed off site which will minimise local disrup tion.

The pedestrian and cycle ferries connect piers through central London to Barking Riverside in the East.

8 Planning in London
Anthony Carlile, principal of Anthony Carlile Architects
Article by David Brown Friday August 26 2022 in The Times


Client: Uber Boat by Thames Clippers Lead Consultant and

Marine Engineer:  Beckett Rankine

Architect: Anthony Carlile Architects

Planning Consultant: Rolfe Judd Planning

Heritage Consultant:  Alan Baxter

Environmental Consultants: Thomson Environmental Consultants Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022
10 Planning in London NEW PUTNEY BRIDGE PIER Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022

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What does the growth plan mean for development?


All I would say at this point is that:

•  I’m not sure whether it’s right to assume that this means the end of the road for the Levellingup and Regeneration Bill in its entirety? Along the way there is reference to a proposed Planning and Infrastructure Bill but there is no detail yet as to its contents and whether of the LURB will be retained or recycled.

• There are some eye catching proposals here and the direction of travel is clear, although in most instances of course what we need is a further layer of detail.

From the executive summary

“The Growth Plan 2022 makes growth the gov ernment’s central economic mission, setting a target of reaching a 2.5% trend rate.”

“To drive higher growth, the government will help expand the supply side of the economy. The Growth Plan sets out action to unlock private investment across the whole of the UK, cut red tape to make it quicker to deliver the UK’s critical infrastructure, make work pay, and support people to get onto the property ladder. New Investment Zones will provide time-limited tax reliefs, and planning liberalisation to support employment, investment, and home ownership.”

Chapter 2, “tackling energy prices”

“To increase energy resilience, the North Sea Transition Authority will shortly launch a new oil and gas licensing round. This is expected to deliv er over 100 new licenses. The government has also announced an end to the pause on extract ing reserves of shale. The government is driving the development of home-grown nuclear –including Small Modular Reactors – hydrogen, Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage and renewable technologies. The government will unlock the potential of onshore wind by bringing consenting in line with other infrastructure. The UK is a world-leader in offshore wind, with 8GW of offshore wind currently under construction. By 2023 the government is set to increase renew ables capacity by 15%, supporting the UK’s com mitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.”

Chapter 3, “growth”

“…the government must cut taxes, streamline the public sector, and liberate the private sector, by making Britain the place for:

• investment: creating the right conditions and removing barriers to the flow of private capital –whether taxes or regulation

• skilled employment: helping the unemployed into work and those in jobs secure better paid work

• infrastructure: accelerating the construction of vital infrastructure projects by liberalising the planning system and streamlining consultation and approval requirements

• home ownership: getting the housing market moving

• enterprise: cutting red tape and freeing business to grow and invest.”

Investment zones

“The government will work with the devolved administrations and local partners to introduce Investment Zones across the UK. Investment Zones aim to drive growth and unlock housing.

Areas with Investment Zones will benefit from tax incentives, planning liberalisation, and wider support for the local economy. The specific inter ventions in Investment Zones will include:

Simon Ricketts is a partner with Town Legal LLP

From Simon’s blog at simonici Personal views, et cetera

• Lower taxes – businesses in designated sites will benefit from time-limited tax incentives.

• Accelerated development – there will be desig nated development sites to deliver growth and housing. Where planning applications are already in flight, they will be streamlined and we will work with sites to understand what specific mea sures are needed to unlock growth, including dis applying legacy EU red tape where appropriate.

Development sites may be co-located with, or separate to, tax sites, depending on what makes most sense for the local economy.

• Wider support for local growth – for example, through greater control over local growth funding for areas with appropriate governance. Subject to demonstrating readiness, Mayoral Combined Authorities hosting Investment Zones will receive a single local growth settlement in the next Spending Review period.

Specified sites in England will benefit from a range of time-limited tax incentives over 10 years. The tax incentives under consideration are:

• Business rates – 100% relief from business rates on newly occupied business premises, and certain existing businesses where they expand in English Investment Zone tax sites. Councils hosting Investment Zones will receive 100% of the busi ness rates growth in designated sites above an agreed baseline for 25 years.

• Enhanced Capital Allowance – 100% first year allowance for companies’ qualifying expenditure on plant and machinery assets for use in tax sites.

• Enhanced Structures and Buildings Allowance –accelerated relief to allow businesses to reduce their taxable profits by 20% of the cost of quali fying non-residential investment per year, reliev ing 100% of their cost of investment over five years.

14 Planning in London
HM Treasury published its Growth Plan 2022 on 23 September 2022. This initial précis by Simon
simply sets out all of the key passages OPINION: THE GROWTH PLAN AND DEVELOPMENT | SIMON RICKETTS

• Employer National Insurance contributions relief

– zero-rate Employer NICs on salaries of any new employee working in the tax site for at least 60% of their time, on earnings up to £50,270 per year, with Employer NICs being charged at the usual rate above this level.

• Stamp Duty Land Tax – a full SDLT relief for land and buildings bought for use or development for commercial purposes, and for purchases of land or buildings for new residential development.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will shortly set out more detail on the planning offer. This will include detail on the level of deregulation and the streamlined mechanism for securing planning permission.

The government will deliver Investment Zones in partnership with Upper Tier Local Authorities and Mayoral Combined Authorities in England, who will work in partnership with their relevant districts and/ or constituent councils. All Investment Zone agree ments will contain tax and development sites. Areas will be responsible for putting forward sites and demonstrating their potential impact on economic growth, including by bringing more land forward and accelerating development.

Investment Zones will only be chosen following a rapid Expression of Interest process open to every one, and after local consent is confirmed. However, examples of illustrative sites that may have the potential to accelerate growth and deliver housing in the way the Investment Zone programme envis ages can be found in Annex A.

The government is in early discussions with 38 Mayoral Combined Authorities and Upper Tier Local Authorities who have already expressed an initial interest in having a clearly designated, specific site within their locality. A full list of these 38 authorities is available in Annex A.

The government will deliver Investment Zones in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and intends to work in partnership with the devolved administra tions and local partners to achieve this. The govern ment will legislate for powers to create tax and development sites in Investment Zones where pow ers are reserved.

The government remains committed to the progress of the Freeports programme. The govern

ment will work with local partners involved in cur rent and prospective Freeports to consider whether and how the Investment Zones offer can help to support their objectives, as part of the wider process for identifying Investment Zones. This will ensure that both programmes complement one another.”

Annex A lists 24 examples of “illustrative sites that may have the potential to accelerate growth and deliver housing in the way the Investment Zone programme envisages” and 38 authorities with which the government is in early discussions with a view to establishing an investment zone in their area. There is also an investment zones factsheet.


“To make buying a home a reality, the government must accelerate housing delivery. Planning permis sion was granted for more than 310,000 homes last year, up 10% on the year before,10 but fur ther reform is needed. Later this autumn, the gov ernment will set out its vision to unlock home ownership for a new generation by building more homes in the places people want to live and work and by getting our housing market moving. This will boost growth across the UK helping more people afford to live near good jobs. The govern ment’s full proposal will be set out in due course.

The government will promote the disposal of surplus public sector land by allowing departments greater flexibility to reinvest the proceeds of land sales over multiple years. This will encourage the sale of more public land for housing and allow departments and the NHS to reinvest in public ser vices. Devolved administrations have bespoke flexi bilities to move funding between financial years and the government will discuss the implications of this change with them in due course.”


“The UK’s planning system is too slow and too fragmented. For example, an offshore wind farm can take four years to get through the planning process and no new substantive onshore wind farm has received planning consent since 2015.”

“The Growth Plan announces that new legisla tion [the Planning and Infrastructure Bill] will be brought forward in the coming months to address

speed up the delivery of much-needed infrastruc ture. This includes:

• reducing the burden of environmental assess ments

• reducing bureaucracy in the consultation process

• reforming habitats and species regulations

• increasing flexibility to make changes to a DCO once it has been submitted.”


“The Growth Plan also announces further sector specific changes to accelerate delivery of infras tructure, including:

• prioritising the delivery of National Policy Statements for energy, water resources and national networks, and of a cross-government action plan for reform of the Nationally Significant Infrastructure planning system

• bringing onshore wind planning policy in line with other infrastructure to allow it to be deployed more easily in England

• reforms to accelerate roads delivery, including by consenting more through the Highways Act 1980 and by considering options for changing the Judicial Review system to avoid claims which cause unnecessary delays to delivery

• amendments to the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill to give telecoms operators easier access to telegraph poles on private land, supporting the delivery of gigabit capable broadband.”

“The Growth Plan also sets out the infrastructure projects that the government will prioritise for acceleration, across transport, energy and digital infrastructure. This non-exhaustive list is set out in Annex B and reflects projects which have particular ly high potential to move to construction at an accelerated pace. The government will also continue to focus on delivering its wider infrastructure priori ties, from major projects such as HS2, to its wider nuclear strategy.”

The agenda is set...

Simon Ricketts, 23 September 2022 Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022

Suburban Task Force takes stock

Peter Eversden

Suburban Task Force

Rupa Huq MP, Bob Neil MP, Lord True and Peter Murray talked about their contribution to its con tent and the importance of finding the right poli cies for the suburbs. Other cross-party politicians were part of the task force and the London Boroughs of Sutton and Waltham Forest gave evi dence to it.

The study took stock of the suburban places where many people live and ways in which they were experienced through the pandemic.

A repeated observation was the way the suburbs of London have had inadequate policy development for their opportunities and challenges.

The Task Force recommends consideration of a spectrum of characteristics that should be applied to the suburbs and five statistically significant subur ban typologies were identified. New working prac tices require a revised approach to the future of employment.

The report states that “There is evidence that the use of permitted development rights undermines the ability of local authorities to fully manage and mitigate the impacts of certain forms of develop ment.”

Increased digitisation and the engagement of communities and other stakeholders in local plan making, pre-application discussions and decisions are recommended. Some clauses in the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill (LURB) may lead to that

becoming policy.

The task force seeks national policy guidance on the key principles for handling small scale applica tions in suburban locations. However, the focus of this APPG is London and new guidance for suburban densification will be published before the end of 2022 by the GLA to help boroughs apply the policies in the 2021 London Plan for small and windfall sites. The London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies has opposed the LURB proposals for imposition of National Development Management Policies as there are too many local variations and options for the Government to try to cover them all.

A correspondent told the taskforce “The diverse nature of suburbs makes it difficult to develop tar geted policies.” There will need to be specific policies in each Local Plan developed with local people.

The impact of development in the suburbs such as very tall buildings without social infrastructure is causing tensions and needs to be better managed for design and context considerations. The report suggests that it is “creating ‘growing pains’ which might contribute to ‘tipping points’ in terms of com munity support for change.” There is a recommen dation for further consideration of the potential ‘tip ping points’ which exist in our suburban communi ties and ways that these might be managed.

The National Planning Policy Framework will be revised next year and that would be an opportunity

to include policies that would address some of the recommendations of the Suburban Task Force. For those policy options, the report recommends further research is carried out to identify suburban chal lenges.

In considering suburban ‘types’, the taskforce concluded that considerations are important for green space, density of overall development and local land uses (including dwelling types, retail, leisure and office space). That led to the identifica tion of five suburban types. The taskforce’s report has a lot of detail on the types of suburban environ ments within those categories including their social infrastructure.

There is a recommendation that “consideration should be given to a new spectrum model for under standing the suburbs and used by those in research, practice and policy.”

The taskforce report has an analysis of the requirements in suburban areas for transport and traffic, employment, housing and green space. It is recommended that “further consideration is given to the opportunities which exist for an evolution in the nature of local employment as a result of changes to working practices during the Covid-19 pandem ic.” In considering how change should be under stood, the taskforce report has a section on local identity.

In its conclusions the taskforce hopes their report will provide a platform from which to begin a meaningful public discussion and will help support the introduction of policies which are popular, informed and evidence-based for the suburbs. The taskforce intends to do more work on matters such as place-making and suburban culture and it recom mends that further research is undertaken to explore possible policy solutions to address the chal lenges identified.

16 Planning in London
n *
attended the launch of the All Party Parliamentary Group
report* at Parliament on 5th September

The West End office market on the up

The West End market defies expectations as occupiers continue to clamor for the best office space, says Freddie Corlett

Those who don’t know London’s West End office market may have looked at the ongoing debate about hybrid working and workers’ being slow to relinquish working from home, then the UK’s pes simistic economic outlook, and assumed that H1 2022 would have seen a disappointing number of occupiers signing up to take office space.

In fact, the market has experienced almost the exact opposite. Firstly, occupancy figures show the West End is leading the way in terms of workers returning to the office, with peak periods of the week now regularly recording occupancy of over 40 per cent (in the City, meanwhile, it’s about 35 per cent). Secondly, the volumes of space being taken belie notions that West End occupiers are looking to put their office requirements on hold any time soon.

By the end of H1 take-up had reached 2.17 mil lion sq. ft across 187 transactions - 13 per cent above the 10-year long-term average and 68 per cent higher than at the same point in 2021. June 2022 alone was the third busiest month Savills has ever recorded for the West End with 1 million sq. ft of transactions completing across 40 deals, including Capital International’s pre-let of 220,000 sq. ft across the 8th to 16th floors at the Sellar Group’s Paddington Square development, W2, and the much-anticipated completion of MSD’s acquisition of Belgrove House, WC1, to form its new 195,000 sq. ft UK HQ and Discovery Centre. As a result, the West End core vacancy rate has moved in by 80 basis points, from 6.7 per cent at the end of 2021 to 5.9 per cent at the end of H1 2022.

The Financial Services sector led the charge in taking space, accounting for 32 per cent of West End offices let so far this year. Drilling further down into this group of occupiers, it’s clear that Private Equity, Asset Management and Investment Management firms were the most acquisitive sub-sectors, contin uing a trend evident since 2021 and reinforcing another theme we’ve been noting (not just in the West End but across most office markets): the rush to acquire top quality space with high ‘green’ cre dentials in response to strengthening ESG require ments and rising employee expectations continues.

89 per cent of West End take-up to the end of H1 2022 was of Grade A quality offices, although in June, Grade A transactions accounted for an enor mous 98 per cent of space taken in terms of square footage. As a result, the supply of prime and Grade A office space in the West End is dwindling – particu larly in the core sub-markets of Mayfair, St James's, Covent Garden, Soho and North of Oxford Street West and East.

Even with several new buildings coming to the market over 2022, the supply of Grade A offices is currently 13 per cent down on the end of 2021, as much of this new space was already pre-let and the rest has been eagerly snapped up. With material and labour cost inflation pushing back the timelines on many future office development and refurbishment projects, competition for the best space is only set to intensify.

At the same time, the amount of ‘grey’ or ‘ten ant-controlled’ space in the West End market (office space that tenants are look ing to sub-let), after surging at the height of the pandem ic when firms were uncertain about their future require ments, has declined. Some has been let and a similar proportion withdrawn after occupiers decided they did require the space after all. West End grey space levels are now 1.3 million sq. ft compared to 3 million sq. ft at their peak in April 2021. This all means that West

End rents at the top end of the market are only heading in one direction over the short and medium term: up. By the end of H1, the average West End prime rent stood at £119.38 per sq. ft, a 6.6 per cent rise from the end of 2020, and the average Grade A rent was £84.37 per sq. ft, an increase of 2.5 per cent from the end of 2021. While the speed of increases may slow as the wider macro-economic climate plays on occupiers’ minds, the demand/supply imbalance is unlikely to lead to any sudden adjust ment in rents for spaces that deliver on the ‘prime and green’ strategy favoured by most occupiers.

As a consequence of occupiers being willing to pay higher rents for best-in-class space, there has been lessening demand for Grade B offices (spaces which have not been recently refurbished and don’t quite meet occupiers’ current high expectations). This caused Grade B rents to fall 6.7 per cent between the end of 2021 and June 2022 to £51.31 per sq. ft. There is the potential for many of these offices to be refurbished and new amenity spaces added to attract occupiers and thereby justify higher rents. This will come at a cost given the aforemen tioned inflationary pressures on materials and labour, but with thoughtful planning and design there is the potential to make many of the spaces currently considered Grade B attractive to business es. There are other ways of rising above the Grade A/B classification too: the new Class E planning use provides landlords with the opportunity to add dif ferent uses into a building, thereby creating more of the community which occupiers crave for their cul ture and staff retention.

The future of London’s West End market is not without challenges, but given the current dynamics, and the figures we’re recording so far in 2022, it is in a strong position to withstand any bumps in the road ahead and remain one of the UK’s most popu lar office locations. n Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022

Is this Localism #2?

Localism is now over ten years old. At the time of the Localism Act in 2011, Localism was fêted as the necessary impetus for a new era of commu nity empowerment, with the potential to strengthen local economies, rebalance economic growth and create locally-led solutions through partnership and collaboration. Localism estab lished a set of Community Rights which gave communities a framework in which to protect and own valued local assets, influence local plan ning and development, and run local services.

But Localism did not take off as was hoped: in 2017 the Commission on the Future of Localism found that that 80 per cent of people felt they had little or no control over decisions that affect their country and 71 per cent felt they have little or no control over local decisions. Furthermore, 68 per cent said that community spirit, rather than being empowered by Localism, had declined and asked about the specific vehicles of Localism, 79 per cent said that they were unaware of the Community Rights that the Act had introduced.

If the sentiment of Localism remains today it is undoubtedly in the form of neighbourhood plan ning. In June this year, a report by Neighbourhood Planners.London (State of Neighbourhood Planning in London – 2022), confirmed that London has 67 neighbourhood forums and 26 completed neigh bourhood plans. While this is a considerable achievement considering the restrains of the pan demic, it is a poor comparison to the 1,200 com pleted across England.

The report identified the specific ‘neighbour hood planning deserts’ which currently have no designated neighbourhood forum: Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Bromley, City of London, Croydon, Harrow, Havering , Merton and Newham.

The way in which local residents have engaged in neighbourhood planning across the country gen erally has demonstrated an appetite for grass-roots involvement in planning, which, it has been argued, has led to the range of new initiatives, including design codes and Street Votes which are present in the current Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. The principle of strengthening neighbourhood planning is also a fundamental aspect to the Bill.

However if neighbourhood planning is to be successful in London and elsewhere, it needs to change. It needs to become more broadly represen tative and cannot remain the NIMBY charter that

some have described it as: due to the presumption in favour of sustainable development, a neighbour hood plan will fail if constructed solely to defeat development.

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill includes proposals to create a Neighbourhood Priority Statement, a planning tool which will set out a community’s preferences on development in their local area. Councils will be required to consider such statements when preparing their Local Plan. Neighbourhood Priority Statements could provide a better means of engaging with communities, and could help to address the significant issues of accessibility, complexity and time taken to create a neighbourhood plan. They could also address the common problem of timing: in circumstances in which Local Plans and neighbourhood plans are completed years apart, they will invariably respond to a different set of circumstances and as such they will lack consistency. But the Neighbourhood Priority Statement could be updated at various points in the process of the Local Plan’s prepara tion, giving specific neighbourhoods a more mean ingful input.

I have worked on development schemes which have had significant influence from neighbourhood forums in the shape of neighbourhood plans. These have had both a positive and negative impact. It is important that neighbourhood plans benefit from local dialogue, which can create a scheme better suited to its specific location, but I have broader concerns about how the proposed strengthening of neighbourhood planning sits within the levelling up agenda. Currently the areas most likely to have a neighbourhood plan are established – predomi nately rural or suburban communities with a pro fessional and prosperous demographic, much less so the deprived inner-city communities with more transient populations. This accounts for the relative dearth of neighbourhood plans in London, and is unlikely to change without a significant investment in community development over many years. The detrimental impact of giving strengthened powers to the communities better able to put effective neighbourhood plans, therefore, has the potential to exacerbate the wealth divide - resulting in the opposite to levelling up. Indeed, the complexities and time commitments of undertaking the neigh bourhood planning process already acts as a barrier to a wide range of key demographics within com

munities from getting involved with neighbour hood planning.

Debate surrounding the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill should also focus on whether the powers of neighbourhood planning need to be strengthened. Undoubtedly neighbourhood forums would be more empowered to create a neighbour hood plan if they were reassured that it would carry more weight than currently – unfortunately there are many examples of neighbourhood plans being put in place and supported but having little influence on outcomes.

And strengthening is relative: the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill promises to strengthen neighbourhood planning in addition to Local Plans and spatial development strategies proposed by mayors or combined authorities, while also strengthening planning at a national level by mov ing specific policies from Local Plans to a suite of policies to be defined at Government level. Can every element of planning be strengthened or does strengthening one function come at the cost of reducing the power of another? Furthermore, while technically, neighbourhood planning and Local Plans both carry weight in the planning process, how this works in reality depends on timing: if the neighbourhood planning is out of step with the Plan, its influence is weakened which further aggra vates fractured relationships between local com munities, local authorities, and developers trying to bring development forward.

As examples throughout the country have shown, neighbourhood planning can be an effective tool to involve local voices in the planning process and works well in areas of London with a specific demographic and an established sense of commu nity. But, as is clear from other areas, the real opportunity to strengthen neighbourhood plan ning through levelling up legislation is not simply to strengthen existing policy but to understand where the gaps lie, and to find the means of addressing these serious issues. n

18 Planning in London
The strengthening of neighbourhood planning through the levelling up and regeneration bill: Is this Localism #2? asks Lucy Anderson

The only constant in planning is change

On the one hand, as largely enabling legislation, it contains a number of hooks on which can be hung at a later date the kind of radical reform mooted by 2020’s ‘Planning for the Future’ White Paper. On the other hand, at present (and at the time of writ ing since being introduced to Parliament on 11 May 2022 the Bill has reached Committee state in the Commons), and perhaps deliberately to smooth it’s parliamentary passage, the detail that has emerged and the narrative around it amount merely to sensible ‘tidying up’ measures.

The LURB, according to the Government, “acts on several fronts to create a robust framework for level ling-up”. Despite the omission from the title, one of those fronts is the improvement the planning pro cess so that, again according to the Government, “it gives local communities control over what is built, where it is built, and what it looks like, and so creates an incentive to welcome development provided it meets the standards which are set”.

The LURB recognises that local plans should be at the heart of the system and its proponents point to two initiatives that it is hoped will incentivise local authorities to get plans in place: the removal of the need to demonstrate a deliverable five year supply of housing (5YHLS) where a plan has been recently adopted, and

Proponents of the Bill also anticipate that it will boost planning officer capacity by rationalising Section 106 (S106) Agreements and the Community Infrastructure Levy into a single Infrastructure Levy (IL); transitioning from the current Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regime to a new outcomebased process; and continuing the move to a more standardised, more user-friendly, digitised system.

Within that context, it is possible to identify areas covered by the Bill that the housebuilding industry is likely to be more and less supportive of.

The current crisis in local plan-making highlights the need for urgent action. The idea that a Local Plan Commissioner can oversee gateway progress checks and take over the preparation of a plan seems sensi

ble, as does the proposal than an authority cannot withdraw a submitted plan without the agreement of the Planning Inspectorate (PINS).

Whilst Strategic Development Strategies (SDS) are a welcome, tentative step back towards greaterthan-local planning, there is some scepticism as to whether they would address the fundamental rea sons why plans are being delayed and withdrawn. SDSs would only be undertaken voluntarily, but not in areas where there is already a combined authority or a mayoral combined authority and only if a higher tier, county-level authority is involved. SDSs would not allocate sites, would only be reviewed ‘from time to time’, as opposed to the five-year obligation on local plans, and, unlike joint local plans, cannot be willed into existence by a Secretary of State. It is legitimate to ask whether these arrangements will make it more or less likely that the twenty or so authorities that have publicly raised plan-making issues in the last few months will adopt a local plan in anything shorter than the long term.

The industry is likely to welcome the retention of narrower Section 106 Agreements for site-specific infrastructure within a new IL regime. Less negotia tion around S106 Agreements generally should make for quicker site start though it should be noted that the IL could have a negative impact on the amount of land coming forward for development if it is set unrealistically high.

Similarly the industry is likely to welcome a move to towards measuring environmental outcomes, which, whilst undoubtedly causing short-term delays as the EIA regime is replaced, is likely to be a helpful streamlining measure into the longer-term.

A proposed increase in planning fees (35% for ‘major’ applications), to be tied to a “better service for applicants”, will help to build capacity, but this increase on its own will not be enough to compre

The Levelling Up & Regeneration Bill (LURB) is something of a curate’s egg, says Sam Stafford
OPINION: LURB | SAMUEL STAFFORD Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022
The word planning noticeably does not appear on the front of the bill, but it does appear 680 times inside.

hensively address the issue of resourcing. A recent report by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) calculated that net expenditure on planning services by local authorities fell by 43%, from £844 million in 2009/10 to £480 million in 2020/21.

Amending planning approvals can be very compli cated so new ‘fast track’ provisions to determine broadly similar applications “where the local planning authority is satisfied that it’s effect will not be sub stantially different from that of the existing permis sion" are to be welcomed.

Despite not being especially controversial when first mooted by the White Paper, the inclusion of National Development Management Policies in the Bill has precipitated concerns about a ‘power grab’ by Government. It does, however, seem entirely sensible that local plans not replicate or unnecessarily deviate from national policies on matters like, for example Green Belt, and that consistent standards be applied across the country on matters like, for example, sus tainability or space standards.

It could be helpful for inspectors at PINS to be able to change an appeal’s determination procedure. This could lead to quicker decisions, especially if resources at PINS continue to be stretched.

The industry is likely to be comfortable with Commencement Notices, provided that the trigger point is the discharge of all pre-commencement con

ditions, on the basis that every builder is only ever keen to get on site as soon as is possible.

Of the areas that that the industry is less likely to be supportive of, the abolishment of the 5YHLS test, which is unlikely to be any kind of incentive to a recalcitrant plan-making authority, will have a detri mental affect on housing supply in those places. Similarly, it should not be made more difficult for sustainable applications in places without a plan to be approved.

The Duty to Cooperate, whilst a difficult legal test for some authorities to pass, does at least force diffi cult conversations about meeting housing need across a market area. The repealing of and its replace ment with a nebulous new ‘Policy Alignment Test’ is likely to make it less likely that housing needs will be met in full.

The requirement for every local authority to progress a local design code is not necessarily some thing that the industry would be resistant to in prin ciple, but the conclusions of the National Model Design Code pilot programme review were striking in this regard. This concluded that “a steep learning curve is required to produce design codes and to use the new methodology in the NMDC, and with a few exceptions local authorities were not set up to deliv er design coding in-house.”

The industry is likely to be wary of Completion

meeting of the

Notices, which authority’s will have the power to serve ceasing a permission if a development remains uncompleted after a certain time period. This could make it harder for smaller builders to restart on sites that another builder may have had to close down.

Finally, whilst industry welcomes recognition of the role for neighbourhood plans and the desire for them to afforded the same status and scrutiny as local plans, there could be some wariness towards ‘Neighbourhood Priority Statements’ if they can express views on matters such as design and housing locations that would be inconsistent with an emerg ing local plan.

Ultimately though, in respect of the LURB’s plan ning provisions, as has been identified by Levelling Up, Housing & Communities Committee, the main concerns are a lack of detail. As the Committee Chair Clive Betts wrote to Secretary of State Greg Clark:

If one central thrust of the Bill is not to centralise planning decisions, then the remaining planning pro visions in the Bill can be described as loosely con nected proposals to tinker with the current system, hopefully achieving some improvement. We have not received strong opposition to any of the proposals, but in part this is a factor of the detail not being pub lished, so witnesses are having to hypothesise what will be enacted rather than respond to a firm propos al. Added to this, of course, is the LURB’s likely onward progress. The White Paper was published by Robert Jenrick, the Bill was introduced by Michael Gove, has been overseen briefly by Greg Clark, and is to be picked up by Simon Clarke who will undoubt edly have new ideas on it’s timing, scope and con tent.

As always, the only constant in planning is change. n

The next
London Planning & Development Forum will be on Monday 12 December For details and to attend please email the Hon Secretary at James Mitchell at or AGENDA will be at > LP&DF >>>

How visitor data and insights help councils with planning

Footfall and location data help planners understand how their visitors are behaving, where they are being attracted from and what services they are using, explains Clive Hall

Clive Hall is Founder and CEO of Place Informatics

It is certainly a challenging time for anyone involved in the planning process for towns, cities and high streets across the UK. The huge shift in consumer behaviour due to the increase in online solutions and the ongoing impact of the pandemic has changed how our centres are being utilised. For many councils, they have had to quickly adapt to the loss of key visitor attractions such as large department stores or other popular retail outlets disappearing from our high streets.

At Place Informatics we provide footfall and loca tion visitor behaviour data monitoring to organisa tions such as town and city councils, retail and shop ping sites, large chains, leisure parks, tourism destina tions, heritage and environmental custodians.

Our market-leading insights are used by over 250 towns and cities across the UK helping council plan ners understand how their visitors are behaving, where they are being attracted from and most importantly what services they are utilising on their visit including retail, leisure, green spaces and car parks. Our platform offers our customers a featurerich dashboard giving them access to the huge vol ume of data in a useable format with visual graphs and charts for their location that can be distributed to key stakeholders easily.

We work with a number of councils in the Greater London area and our data gives them detailed information to show how their visitors are currently behaving and also which postcodes they

are visiting from, giving them the information they need to ensure their proposed initiatives have the very best chance of being successful. Our solutions offer insights such as the best time of day to run events, the expected increase in footfall and socioeconomic data can even provide guidance and reas surance to investors or funding bodies that the right demographic is in their catchment area.

By using GDPR compliant anonymous mobile GPS location data we are able to provide actionable insights which help support and enable decision making – to assist in health and safety, conservation, events, marketing and return on investment for eco nomic regeneration projects.

One of the London based councils we have worked closely with has used the detailed visitor insights to adapt their largest shopping centre, fol lowing the closure of a large department store and a key green space (urban park) which historically had been a popular destination for visitors. The combined loss reduced the volume of visitors to their main shopping centre and was therefore impacting busi nesses and services and the local community as a whole.

By using our platform, the council planners were able to understand what services were now attract ing visitors and adapt accordingly. It was evident that Doctors surgeries and other community-based ser vices were bringing a large number of visitors to the area, but none of these were available in the town

centre. Armed with this knowledge the team at the council decided to adapt the top floor of the shop ping centre into a community focused space specifi cally for doctors surgeries and other historically pop ular services.

These changes have already hugely increased footfall to the town centre, reduced the impact of the loss of the former visitor attractions and benefit ted many local businesses and services.

Our data dashboards are accessed by various teams across councils’ services, heritage and tourist organisations – ranging from planning, strategic mar keting, public event management, conservation, funding applications, parking to facilities manage ment solutions. A broad range of stakeholders across retail sites such as tenants and landlords, commercial property agents, facilities management and shopping centre owners – can all benefit from access to the data sets.

Across the spectrum, the data can also assist with decision-making for commercial agreements such as between landlords and tenants, advertising rate set ting or commercial pitch trading pricing, shareholder fund investments and proposals for planning and development.

Customers benefit from the simplicity of our market-leading dashboard, our ability to provide ret rospective data going back to pre-pandemic 2019 and the automatically generated charts and graphs that make it easy to spot trends.

Visitor Insights help planners make good, informed decisions based on historic evidence and quickly show how changes have a positive impact on town centres and communities. n

Clive Hall is co-founder and CEO of Place Informatics, a provider of visitor insights and footfall data for over 250 town centres, retail sites, shopping centres, leisure parks, tourism destinations, Heritage Action Zones (HAZ) and custodians of open spaces.. Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022 OPINION: VISITOR DATA | CLIVE HALL


The real worry is National Development Management Policies


If top-down national housing targets get ditched, London Plan housing figures will remain as London’s targets – although that was expected anyway, if still post 2024.

The real worry is the National Development Management Policies and, specifically their status. The present regime, where a plan is only required to conform generally to a higher level plan, could be adopted, but the threat of nationally determined policies with only a nod to locally-specific circum stances is a recipe for conflict. And why do we need national development management policies when we already have the London Plan?

The NPPF totally lacks any spatial planning poli cies – it is all very well trotting out a mantra – “the right development in the right place” – but totally fails to indicate what a more sustainable pattern of urban development would look like.

Michael Bach, London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies

Compulsory rental auctions are yet another half baked idea


The idea of ‘compulsory rental auctions’ – part of the draft Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill 2022 –has caused significantly controversy since it was ini tially presented a few months ago, and with good reason. Whilst rejuvenating our high streets is abso lutely a laudable pursuit, it seems that the govern ment – via this bill – are placing blame squarely at the feet of property owners for the decline of the high street, as opposed to the inexorable rise of ecommerce – a rise substantially catalysed by COVID.

The reality is that our high streets have been undergoing significant structural change for years. Not only do we have too much retail space in the UK, but also the wrong sort of space – hence the popluarity of out of town retail among traditional high street retailers such as Next, M&S and many others.

The government however seems to view land lords not only as the problem, but as a potential solution – deciding that they clearly do not want to let their premises out to occupiers and therefore forcing them to do so via this draconian idea. Landlords are to an extent a convenient punch bag for the government, enabling them to deflect atten tion from the real issue at hand – business rates.

the previous year or been vacant for at least 366 days out of the previous two years. This in itself is far from easy to determine, and the government has not defined the precise meaning of ‘occupation’ in this instance.

For example, would a property count as unoccu pied if it is currently vacant for site assembly pur poses pending a redevelopment, or if it is undergo ing a major refurbishment? It is also not clear how the local authority will obtain occupancy informa tion. To gain access to up to date information, local authorities would have to engage regularly with agents and landlords, which requires both capacity and resource that many of them do not have, and the government has certainly not offered to provide such resource.

Other questions the government have failed to provide answers to include: who will decide which bidder ‘wins’ the auction, and how? Who has enforcement responsibility if the ‘winner’ does not pay the rent? How is the tenancy granted to the successful bidder? So many unanswered questions.

Finally, the timing of the announcement of com pulsory rental auctions smacks of electioneering, given it came just before crucial local elections. Being seen as doing something proactive to revi talise the high street – particularly in ‘red wall’ towns blighted by high vacancy rates – was certain ly convenient timing.

The government have consistently failed to meaningfully reform business rates over the years –their most recent reform rendered almost meaning less for multiple retailers with a very strict cap on rates relief payable. Business rate payments gener ate billions for the Treasury, but they are far from equitable given no such tax exists for online retail ers, and globally there are very few examples of large scale property based taxation – with physical store occupancy costs ratios far more palatable in similarly developed economies.

Not only are compulsory rental auctions unfair, they are also unworkable in practice. The idea is that such auctions would be undertaken in streets local authorities deem as ‘crucial’ to the local economy because of a concentration of high-street uses of premises in those streets.

The issue is that local authorities have made no such designation, and to do so would require signifi cant research into local property needs, which they would first need to undertake. To qualify the proper ty must also have been unoccupied for the whole of

Compulsory rental auctions are yet another half baked idea by a government that has paid lip service to saving the high street over the years, but has failed to act to reform the biggest single issue facing it – business rates.

Jonathan De Mello, Founder & CEO of JDM Retail Ltd

22 Planning in London LETTERS


Whole-life carbon assessment controversy strikes the Barbican

The AJ reports: Plans to demolish parts of the Barbican Estate are based on ‘misleading data’ about carbon emissions and the site’s structure, a residents group has claimed

Last year the architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Sheppard Robson unveiled plans to pull down the 1970s Bastion House office block as well as the neighbouring current home of the Museum of London, replacing them with two office blocks separated by a public plaza. A planning application has not yet been submit ted for the proposal.

The early plans caused controversy among Barbican residents, heritage bodies and amenity societies. Resident-led group Barbican Quarter Action argued that the proposals should be reviewed as the Barbican is ‘an area of interna tional and historic significance’.

The City of London, which owns the Barbican Estate and is leading redevelopment plans, published a whole-life carbon assessment for the development in May. The report was prepared by the City ‘in co-ordina tion’ with the architects, engineer Buro Happold and planning consultant Gerald Eve.

The report concluded ‘that retaining the existing buildings is not appropriate in this instance’. It said that demolition and rebuild would ‘require more carbon spend in absolute terms’ but added that it ‘would perform 10 per cent better’ on a kgCO2e/m2 basis…

Barbican Quarter Action’s whole-life carbon assessment was written by architect Simon Sturgis, of Targeting Zero, and says that the City of London’s report ‘appears to be designed to pay lip service to the requirement to exam ine retrofit, and to set out to prove that new build is the only realistic solution’.

Sturgis says that the City of London’s assessment’s refurbishment scenario, which is compared with demolition and rebuild, does not retain Bastion House, which he argues would make a ‘positive difference’ to the

Response by the City of London Corporation

Our proposals have been carefully developed with industry experts, and would deliver cultural, com munity, and economic investment, and public realm improvements for the benefit of City residents, workers and visitors.

With the Museum of London planning to move, and Bastion House falling below the standards expected for an office block, it is important to find a viable new future for the site.

Fully retaining the existing buildings is not a suitable option due to significant structural issues, fire safety, very poor energy performance, and the limited uses which would be possible at the site.

Redevelopment allows for a larger, more efficient scheme, and will deliver lower whole lifecycle carbon emissions in comparison to the part demolition/part retention option, per square metre.

On balance, redevelopment is therefore considered to be the preferred option for the site.

whole-life carbon emissions for a retrofit option. He adds that the City of London has assumed a new-build scenario would have lower embodied carbon for façades than refur bishment – but suggests this is unlikely given that the proposed new buildings have ‘consider ably more façade area’. And he points out that even under the City of London’s assessment, the new-build and demolition option would

create 20,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions more than the refurbishment – an amount that would take 340,000 trees 10 years to absorb.

Sturgis concludes that, while the City of London has declared a climate emergency and produced guidance for how to respond to this, ‘this ambition and intent are in opposition to the promotion of schemes such as this which are high carbon in construction and use’. Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022 >>>


Green Belt expands

England's green belt has expanded for the first time in more than a decade, but the increase is expected to be short-lived because of pressure for new housing. Land designated as green belt jumped by 1.5 per cent, or about 24,000 hectares (600,000 acres), in the year up to March, the Department for Levelling Up said.

The total area under landscape protections now stands at 1. million hectares, leaving 12.6 per cent of the country shielded from urban sprawl.

However, the figures are not evidence of a nationwide bounceback for green belt land, and campaigners warned that they masked declines in several parts of the country. The increase came from land around the market town of Morpeth in Northumberland, which was already effectively treated as green belt but had been awaiting formal designation.

Paul Miner at CPRE said: "We're most concerned by the continued losses in and around London. The Northumberland case is merely confirming what the working boundary had been for some years, so isn't really 'new' green belt.

Of the 14 local authorities that made changes to green belt boundaries last year, Northumberland was the only one to increase the area.

Central Bedfordshire removed 1,290 hectares, followed by Brentwood in Essex 430 hectares and Halton in Cheshire losing 410 hectares. “From our perspective the main concern is really with the con tinued nibbling of the metropolitan green belt caused by substantial and in our view largely unnec essary releases in central Bedfordshire," Miner said.

Housebuilding is forbidden on green belt apart

from in exceptional circumstances, but polling has shown that younger people are far more supportive than older generations of allowing building on such land to go ahead. Rishi Sunak, the former chancel lor, promised during the Conservative leadership campaign to block housebuilding on the green belt, with brownfield sites given priority instead. Authorities under pressure to meet housing targets can remove land from green belt status.

About 260,000 homes are proposed for green field land removed from the green belt, according to CPRE. Miner said there was no reason to expect any thing other than a continued nationwide decline in designated green belt next year.

A spokesman for the government said that it would continue to prioritise development on brown field sites in towns and cities.

The Green Belt has been a disaster

It stops the expansion of productive cities. London should have nearer 20m people than 10m. The secret is that Truss and Sunak are the same candidate: market-loving, awkward and impatient. Liverpool and Manchester should be a DallasFort Worth-style metroplex. The research labs that constitute much of his country's economic future are out of room. And all for the preservation of often nondescript land. If patriotism is the sacrifice of one’s own interests for the nation's, Nimbys are unpatriotic. No prime minister can say that, I

hear you interject, especially one who looks like Sunak. Of course he can.

Voters will - what? - hound him all the way to the Santa Monica branch of his property empire in 2025? Only Sunak can say it.

– Janan Ganesh in the FT

Investment Zones: some handy existing legislation?

Simon Ricketts writes:

I know we all lose bits of legislation down the sofa. The Government’s 24 September 2022 guid ance on investment zones in England said this: “The government will look to introduce primary legislation in order to enable the offer on tax and simplified regulations. The final offer will be sub ject to the passage of that legislation through par liament.”

There really isn’t much clarity as to the nature and extent of any primary legislation that will in fact be required to deliver the regimes envisaged for each investment zone (potentially bespoke for that investment zone). When you add this to the wider confusion as to the relationship of the proposed Planning and Infrastructure Bill with the current Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill (with much of what was trailed for the former either already within the latter - eg environmental law reform - or shortly to be added by way of amendments.- eg amend ments to NSIP processes - or able to be secured by way of secondary legislation), some clarity from Government is urgently needed.

Turning to the question of on what amended planning regimes may be appropriate for some investment zones, people have rightly pointed to the potential use of local development orders, which for example the Government has previously encour aged in relation to enterprise zones and freeports.

However I’m wondering whether, instead of fur ther primary legislation to achieved some unspeci fied new procedure (which sounds slow and imprac tical), the Government has considered whether two provisions which are already on the statute book are in fact sufficient: simplified planning zones and plan ning freedoms schemes. Are ministers even aware of

24 Planning in London BRIEFING

them? I would be interested in people’s experiences with either.

Simplified Planning Zones were introduced by way of section 82 of the Town and Country Planning Act 19901 which provides as follows:

“(1) A simplified planning zone is an area in respect of which a simplified planning zone scheme is in force.

(2) The adoption or approval of a simplified planning zone scheme has effect to grant in relation to the zone, or any part of it specified in the scheme, plan ning permission—

(a) for development specified in the scheme, or (b) for development of any class so specified.

(3) Planning permission under a simplified planning zone scheme may be unconditional or subject to such conditions, limitations or exceptions as may be specified in the scheme.”

See also the Town and Country Planning (Simplified Planning Zones) Regulations 1992.

This is a good explainer, with examples: How simple are Simplified Planning Zones?2 (Local Government Lawyer, 4 February 2016) and here is some informa tion about Slough Borough Council’s Slough Trading Estate SPZ3

Planning freedom schemes were introduced by section 154 of the Housing and Planning Act 20164. From the explanatory notes to section 154: “Section 154: Planning freedoms: right for local areas to request alterations to planning system

441 This section enables the Secretary of State, by regulations, to make planning freedom schemes in England. Planning freedom schemes may only be made following a request from the local planning authority for the relevant area and only if the Secretary of State considers the scheme will lead to additional homes being built.

442 Before bringing forward proposals for a scheme the local planning authority must consult in their local area.

443 Such schemes will operate for a specified period (although subsection (7) includes the power to bring schemes to an end early, for example, where the local planning authority asks the Secretary of State to do so).

444 Planning freedom schemes will apply in relation

Aylesbury Estate: new plans lodged as council approves compulsory purchase powers

The Aylesbury Estate in Walworth is part-way through a 20-year regeneration project led by Southwark Council, which will see 4,200 homes built on the estate, originally home to 2,758 peo ple. The latest phase, 2b, includes buildings by masterplanners Maccreanor Lavington and four other practices: Sergison Bates, Haworth Tompkins, East, and Architecture Doing Place. It is being delivered in partnership with Notting Hill Genesis.

Phase 2B involves the demolition of the exist ing blocks to make way for five new buildings

to a specified planning area which will be the area of a local planning authority or an area comprising two or more adjoining areas of local planning authorities. The Secretary of State may restrict the number of planning freedom schemes in force at any one time.”

Is anyone aware of this, extremely open-ended, power ever having been used?  Planning legislation is full of these false starts and dead ends. I’m sure there’s plenty more that you can point to. Regardless of any substantive changes, a spring clean of the whole legislative framework is well overdue. Although who knows what we’ll find.  - Simon Ricketts, simonicity - Personal views, et cetera 1. ding/simplified-planning-zones

2. ning-features/28701-how-simple-are-simplified-planning-zones 3. 4. acted

between five and 25 storeys, providing 614 homes, of which 165 are social housing, 367 pri vate homes and 82 intermediate. The tallest building will be located on the corner of Albany Road and Thurlow Street as a gateway building to Burgess Park.

Most of the estate is now empty after the council acquired 46 leasehold properties and suc cessfully rehoused 293 households on secure ten ancies. However, negotiations are still ongoing with 11 leaseholders.

In a bid to make progress on stalled discus sions, in June the council’s cabinet approved the use of compulsory purchase orders (CPOs), which ‘as a last resort’ would allow the authority to buy residents’ homes without their consent and move them off the estate.

A previous attempt by Southwark to obtain CPO powers on a different Aylesbury phase was blocked by former communities secretary Sajid Javid, a decision the council eventually over turned in the High Court in 2018.

The Council has drawn up rehousing options for resident leaseholders, from a council tenancy to the purchase of a council property under either shared ownership or shared equity arrangements or the purchase of a housing asso ciation property on either shared ownership or shared equity. Southwark Council decided to demolish and rebuild the estate in 2005 and so far 408 homes have been completed by develop er L&Q in Phase 1a, led by architect HTA Design.

Works are on site for a further 581 council homes and 122 private homes, as well as a new library, health centre and early years centre, scheduled to complete between autumn 2022 and 2025. n Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022
Bagshot Park, part of the latest phase of the Aylesbury Estate regeneration


Growth, Growth, Growth

Liz Truss vowed to get London’s economy “firing on all cylinders” if she became Prime Minister.

She hailed the capital as key to driving the nation through the economic storm with skyrocketing energy bills in the autumn. Amid fears that the city is losing funding due to the Government’s levelling-up agenda, she also insisted she would be “London’s strongest champion”.

As the economic clouds over Britain were darkening, Ms Truss, writing in the Evening Standard, said: “London has long been the engine of our economy. When Londoners thrive, the rest of our United Kingdom thrives too.”

She added: “I know some of the most deprived areas in the country are found in the capital. So I will take bold action to get London’s economy firing on all cylinders through tax cuts, bold reform and removing regulation that stifles business.”

She also unleashed a stinging attack on Mayor Sadiq Khan, highlighting the level of knife crime in the capital. She slammed the “militant trade unions grinding London to a halt” and the “shocking violence” against women and girls.

Royal Yacht

Following up on Boris Johnson’s promise to build a new Royal Yacht, a transparency request has revealed that, so far, the Ministry of Defence has engaged three external consultants on the project, spending a total of £330,000.

This included the law firm DLA Piper for legal advice and the Royal Institute of British Architects for architectural services. Commentators suggest that given the ‘Cost of Living Crisis’ this new boat idea is dead in the water.

St Mungo’s homes set for go-ahead

AHMM's proposed residential tower and hostel block in west London, designed for charity St Mungo’s: Source AHMM

Proposals for a new centre for homeless people, backed up with a 20-storey development of build-to-rent flats have beengranted approval by Westminster City Council. AHMM’s scheme for charity St Mungo’s will replace an existing west London hostel with a more modern facility featuring 45 self-contained en-suite rooms and 11 fur ther “move-on” units where people will be supported for their next steps.

The 0.12ha site between Harrow Road and the Westway, will see the new hostel facilities delivered in a ninestorey building fronting the main road, and the tower featuring new rental homes to the south. Council officers say the proposals would deliver numerous benefits, including providing better facilities for St Mungo’s and con tributing to the authority’s housing target. They say that while the floorspace for the reprovided hostel would be “slightly smaller” than the existing building, the space would be better used, resulting in four additional rooms and a higher standard of accommodation.

The build-to-rent element of the scheme, which has been worked up in partnership with developer Stories, would feature 98 apartments – up to 14 of which would be designated as “affordable”, depending on the coun cil’s preferred mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom homes. Officers claim that AHMM’s scheme would deliver a “very substantial” package of public benefits, including replacing an “architecturally harmful” building and making a “significant contribution” to the city’s 985-new-homes-a-year housing target. – BDonline

Destination city City

The City of London’s planning committee has resolved to approve plans for a new hotel development. A higher block facing onto Jewry Street will be 15 storeys and a lower block will be eight. The scheme will have 311 hotel rooms, a café/bar on the ground floor and a rooftop restaurant, both open to the public.

The City Corporation recently announced a bold new vision for the future of the Square Mile –Destination City – to ensure it remains a worldleading location for UK and international visitors, workers and residents to enjoy.n

27 ¡PILLO! ¡ Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022

Numbers of applications and decisions continue to drop

Latest planning performance by English districts and London boroughs: planning applications in England between April to June 2022


Between April to June 2022, district level planning authorities in England:

• received 106,800 applications for planning permission, down 17 per cent from the cor responding quarter of 2021;

• granted 87,600 decisions, down 12 per cent from the same quarter in 2021; this is equivalent to 88 per cent of decisions, down one percentage point from the same quarter of 2021;

• decided 86 per cent of major applications within 13 weeks or the agreed time, down one percentage point from the same quar ter in 2021;

• granted 8,700 residential applications, down nine per cent on a year earlier: 1,000 for major developments and 7,700 for minor developments;

• granted 1,800 applications for commercial developments, down five per cent on a year earlier.

• decided 58,000 householder development applications, down 16 per cent on a year earlier.

This accounted for 58 per cent of all deci sions, down from 62 per cent a year earlier. In the year ending June 2022, district level planning authorities:

• granted 362,000 decisions, up three per cent on the year ending June 2021; and

• granted 37,100 decisions on residential developments, of which 4,600 were for major developments and 32,500 were for minor developments, down by 11 and five per cent respectively on the year ending June 2021. This is equivalent to a decrease of six per cent in the overall number of resi dential decisions granted.

Planning applications

During April to June 2022, authorities undertaking district level planning in England received 106,800 applications for planning permission, down 17 per cent from the corresponding quarter in 2021. In the year ending June 2022, authorities received 437,700 planning applications, down seven per cent on the year ending June 2021.

Planning decisions

Authorities reported 99,900 decisions on planning applications in April to June 2022, a decrease of 11 per cent on the 111,700 decisions in the same quarter of the previous year. In the year ending June 2022, authorities decided 412,000 planning applications, up three per cent on the number in the year ending June 2021.

Applications granted

During April to June 2022, authorities granted 87,600 decisions, down 12 per cent on the same quarter in 2021. Authorities granted 88 per cent of all decisions, down one percentage point from the June quarter of 2021 (Live Tables P120/P133).

Overall, 82 per cent of major and minor decisions were granted, unchanged from the quarter ending June 2021 (PS2 development types dashboard).

Over the 12 months to June 2022, 362,000 deci sions were granted, up three per cent on the figure for the year to June 2021.

Historical context

Figure 1 shows that, since about 2009-10, 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 (July to September quarter for applications and July to September for decisions) and troughs in the Autumn (October to December quarter for appli cations and January to March quarter for deci sions), there was a clear downward trend during the 2008 economic downturn, followed by a peri od of stability leading to a large dip in 2020 fol lowing the start of the pandemic and a subse quent recovery in early 2021, including a particular peak in applications received.

Regional breakdowns

Table 2 shows how numbers of applications received, decisions made and decisions granted varied by region. It also shows how the percentage of decisions granted varies widely by region, from 81 per cent in London to 94 per cent in the North East.

Speed of decisions

• In April to June 2022, 86 per cent of major appli cations were decided within 13 weeks or within the agreed time5, down one percentage point from the same quarter a year earlier.

28 Planning in London

• In the same quarter, 82 per cent of minor appli cations were decided within eight weeks or the agreed time, up one percentage point from a year earlier.

• Also in the same quarter, 87 per cent of other applications were decided within eight weeks or the agreed time, up one percentage point from a year earlier.

Figure 3 summarises the distribution of the percentage of decisions made in time across authorities for major, minor and other develop ments using box and whisker plots. The ends of the box are the upper and lower quartiles, meaning that 50 per cent of local authorities fall within this range, with the horizontal line in the centre of the box representing the median. The whiskers are the two lines above and below the box that extend to

Planning decisions by development type, speed of decision and local planning authority. All tables and figures can be found here: Source: DLUHC/ONS

the highest and lowest observations (the range).

Figure 3 shows that the variation in percentage of decisions made in time this quarter is widest between authorities for major developments (0 to 100 per cent), followed by minor developments (11 to 100 per cent) and other developments (40 to 100 per cent).

Use of performance agreements Table 4 summarises the recent use of performance agreements6. It shows that they are more com monly used for major developments than minor or other developments, with 74 per cent of major

decisions made during April to June 2022 involving a planning agreement, compared with 50 per cent of minor decisions, 37 per cent of other decisions and 41 per cent of all decisions (also shown in Reference Table 2). Figure 4 shows, from 2010, numbers of decisions on major developments made involving a performance agreement, com pared with numbers of major developments with out a performance agreement. The underlying his torical figures are available in the PS2 develop ment type dashboard. Notwithstanding definition al changes, there has been a marked increase in the use of agreements since early 2013. This Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022

longer upward trend has been driven by both the additional scope for recording them and their additional use.

Performance of individual district level local planning authorities

Live Tables P151a and P153 present data on the performance of district level local planning authorities against the latest published criterion in Improving planning performance: criteria for designation on the speed of decision-making for informing decisions on the designation of poorly per- forming local planning authorities under sec tion 62B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. In particular, Live Table P151a gives detailed figures for the time taken for major decisions to be made over the eight most recent quarters and Live Table P153 presents data for the time taken by dis trict level local planning authorities for decisions on ‘non-major developments’ (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 depart ment’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 percent age of decisions on non-major 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 pub lished 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 2022, 12,000 decisions were made on applications for residential 7 developments, of which 8,700 (73 per cent) were granted. The num ber of residential decisions made decreased by eight per cent from the June quarter of 2021, with the number granted decreasing by nine per cent.

The number of major residential decisions granted decreased by 16 per cent to 1,000, and the num ber of minor residential decisions granted

decreased by eight per cent, to 7,700 (Live Table P120A, and the PS2 development type dashboard).

In the year ending June 2022, authorities grant ed 4,600 major and 32,500 minor residential applications, down by 11 per cent and five per cent respectively on the year ending June 2022 (Live Table P120A and the PS2 local planning authorities dashboard). This is equivalent to a decrease of six per cent in the overall number of residential deci sions granted.

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 applica tion, such as the number of homes in the case of housing developments. The department supple ments this information by obtaining statistics on housing permissions from a contractor, Glenigan.8

The latest provisional figures show that permission for 280,000 homes was given in the year to 30 June 2022, down 16 per cent from the 334,000 homes granted permission in the year to 30 June 2021.

On an ongoing basis, figures are revised to ensure that any duplicates are removed as far as possible, 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 2022, 2,100 decisions were made on applications for commercial developments, of which 1,800 (89 per cent) were granted. The total number of commercial decisions granted decreased by five per cent on the same quarter of 2021. In the year ending June 2022, 7,700 applications for commercial developments were grant

ed, up four per cent on the year ending June 2021.

Trends in numbers of residential and commercial decisions

Historically, numbers of residential decisions dropped sharply during 2008 (particularly for minor decisions) then increased from 2012, before decreasing since about 2018 (major decisions) and 2019 (minor decisions).

Numbers of commercial decisions also decreased sharply during 2008 and then stabilised at around 2,100 per year for major and 10,000 per year for minor commercial decisions, but have undergone some further decreases recently, partic ularly for minor decisions.

Trends in the percentage of residential and commercial decisions granted

The percentages of major and minor residential decisions granted increased between 2008/09 (from about 65 per cent for each type) and 2010/11 (to about 80 per cent for major develop ments and about 75 per cent for minor develop ments) and have stabilised since then, at just over 80 per cent for major developments and just under 75 per cent for minor developments. The percentages of major and minor commercial deci sions granted increased steadily, from 89 and 85 per cent respectively in 2007/08, to 94 and 91 per cent respectively in 2014/15, and have both been largely stable since then.

Householder developments

Householder developments are those develop ments to a residence which require planning per mission such as extensions, loft conversions and conservatories (more details are in the glossary accessible from the Definitions section of the Technical Notes). The number of decisions made on householder developments was 58,000 in the quarter ending June 2022, accounting for 58 per cent of all decisions, down from 62 per cent of all decisions made in the quarter ending June 2021.

FIG 9:

Applications for prior approvals for permit ted development rights reported by district planning authorities.

England, thirty-three quarters from April 2014 to June 2022

30 Planning in London

Authorities granted 90 per cent of these applica tions and decided 88 per cent within eight weeks or the agreed time.

Permission in Principle/Technical Details consent decisions

Since 16 April 2017, local planning authorities have had the ability to grant permission in principle (PiP) to sites which have been entered on their brownfield land registers. Where sites have a gra of permission in principle, applicants have been able to submit an application for Technical Detail Consent (TDC) for development on these sites. In addition, since 1 June 2018, it has also been pos sible to make an application for PiP for minor housing-led development as a separate applica tion, independently of the brownfield register. Where a site has been granted PiP following an application, it is possible to apply for a TDC and a determination period of five weeks applies as it is minor development. Extensions of time may be agreed.

TDC applications have a 10-week determina tion period for major development and a fiveweek determination period for minor develop ment. Extensions of time may be agreed and where it is an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) development, the 16-week determination period applies.

Major public service infrastructure development decisions

Since 1 August 2021, major public service infras tructure developments – broadly defined as major developments (excluding Environmental Impact Assessments) for schools, hospitals and criminal justice accommodation - have been subject to an accelerated decision-making timetable under which they are to be determined within 10 weeks instead of falling within the normal 13-week determination period.

Separate figures on major public service infras tructure development decisions have been collect ed on the quarterly PS2 return with effect from 1 October 2021. They are provided at local planning authority level in Live Table MJPSI. In summary, during October to December 2021, local planning authorities reported five such decisions, of which four were granted and all five were decided within 10 weeks or the agreed time. During January to March 2022 there were eight decisions, of which all eight were granted and seven were decided in time. During April to June 2022 there were 10 decisions, of which all 10 were granted and eight were decided in time.

Permitted development rights

Planning permission for some types of develop ment has been granted nationally through legisla tion, and the resulting rights are known as ‘permit

ted development rights’. In some cases, if the legis lation 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 of the Technical Notes). A local planning authority can withdraw specific permitted development rights across a defined geographical area, bringing these types of development within the control of the main planning process13.

The results for the latest quarter for which they have been collected (April to June 2022) are included in Live Tables PDR1 (local authority level figures) and PDR2 (England totals). Of the 7,400 applications reported in the April to June quarter of 2022, prior approval was not required for 4,200 and permission was granted for 1,600 and refused for 1,600. This resulted in an overall acceptance rate14 of 78 per cent. Larger householder exten sions accounted for 69 per cent of applications (5,100), with six per cent relating to change of use from agricultural to residential and 18 per cent relating to ‘All other’ permitted development rights.

Taking i) granted applications and ii) those for which prior approval was not required together, 5,800 applications were approved without having to go through the full planning process, down 28 per cent from a year earlier. Within the 28 per cent decrease in the reported total number of PDR applications between April to June 2021 and April to June 2022:

• larger householder extensions decreased by 29 per cent;

• change of use from agricultural to residential decreased by 12 per cent; and

• ‘all other’ permitted development rights decreased by 18 per cent.

Part of the decrease in the overall total between April to June 2021 and April to June 2022 is due to applications under the PDR for change of use from office to residential no longer being able to be submitted after 31 July 2021: 600 such applications were reported for the April to June 2021 quarter.

A new PDR for Commercial, business and ser vice to residential use was created with effect from 1 August 2021. Figures for this were collected for the first time in October to December 2021, when – to quote unrounded figures - 138 applica tions were recorded. Of these, prior approval was not required for 17, 64 were granted and 57 were refused. In January to March 2022, 196 applica tions were recorded, of which prior approval was not re-quired for 18, 113 were granted, and 65 wererefused. In April to June 2022, 231 applica tions were recorded, of which prior approval was not re- quired for 42, 119 were granted, and 70 were refused.

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 work sheets in Live Table PDR1. These show that a total of 800 applications for changes to residential use were reported in April to June 2022, of which 500 (63 per cent) were given the go-ahead without having to go through the full planning process.

Overall during the thirty-three quarters15 end ing June 2022, district planning authorities report ed 289,800 applications for prior approvals for per mitted developments. For 163,400 (56 per cent) of them prior approval was not required, 67,500 (23 per cent) were granted and 58,900 (20 per cent) were refused (Figure 9). n Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022

Population projections, revised NPPF, impact of inflation and embodied carbon

Account of Forum meeting on 12 September 2022 on Zoom

Full minute by James Michell also at > LP&DF


London population projections from the census figures. Implications for planning - see leader in latest Planning in London at . Led by Lee Mallett with Wil Tonkiss and Lisa Fairmaner [Head of London Plan] of GLA.

Lee Mallet (co-publishing editor of Planning in London)

• Since the early 1980s until now, one of the biggest stories was the turnaround in the popula tion statistics:

The city lost 540 000 people in the 60s, 750 000 in the 70s and since early 80s, the population num ber has risen consistently as revealed by the Office for National Statistics, from 6.6 million in the early 60s people to 8.8 people.

• The accuracy of the statics and what they really imply for the number of houses needed is hard to define. The figures continue to reveal that the pop ulation is still increasing, while there are not enough housing being built to match the figures, leading to a shortage of housing.

To what extend is the job of the planning system try to address this issue or the politicians should directly tackle the issue?

• The statistics also revealed an imbalance shift as people from center areas such as Chelsea, Kensington and Westminster had a decrease in population of 9.6 per cent, whilst places such as


Dartford, Tower Hamlets shown a 20 per cent increase in population – areas that also have a high score in deprivation.

Will Tonkis (Senior Data Scientist for City Intelligence Unit)

• WT area of responsibility is population projections –the data is used for the London Plan

• WT starts with the general context of what cen

Meeting held on 12 September 2022 on Zoom


Brian Waters (BW)


Lee Mallet (LM)

Will Tonkiss (WT)

Lisa Fairmaner (LF)

Steve Quartermain (SQ)

Michel Bach (MB)

Thomasin Renshaw (TR)

Dr Riette Oosthuizen (RO) (Jt Hon Sec)

Siobhan Cross (SC)

Nicholle Kingsley (NK)

Peter Eversden (PE)

Attendees (as listed by Zoom)

Nikki Linsell

Paul Higgs

Peter Stewart

Stephen Heath

Steve Norris

Tim Wacher

Michael Kiely

Mark Willingale

sus says and what it means for us. 8.8 million population now according to the census in London. The previous media estimated for June 2022 – (9 months before the census) - was 9 mil lion.

The difference in number is part because the media estimate is wrong and part because of the pan demic effects. This period had the most population

Nigel Moor Andrew Rogers

Anthony Carlile

Brian Gatenby

Deon Lombard

Eric Sorensen

James Mitchell (Jt Hon Sec)

Michael Coupe

NK Nicholle Kingsley

Stefano Koryziss


Joanna Averley, Jonathan Manns (v-chair)

32 Planning in London
population: 8.8 million


Pandemic Effects

change in movement.

• The census number is right and it is showing what the population was on the very specific day, specific unique time. How useful that number is for the next year is to be questioned.

How government use that number and how future projections in population incorporate the new census point into the data:

One of the first thing that happen after the cen sus was to go back and check the changes in a decade and draw a line between the 2 census, understanding the reality of how the population changed over 10 years. This is then projected for ward.

ONS (Office for National Statistics) plan is to produce the next subnational population projec tions in early 2024, while City Intelligence hope is to produce them manually by early 2023.

• WT shared screen showing diagram of the num ber of population since the census and the Greater

London Authority (GLA) projections.

Lisa Fairmaner (Head of the London Plan and Growth Strategies)

• The London Plan Population projections are cru cial for the London Plan going forward

• The planning for London Programme:

Discussions with a group of representatives across UK and their views of the future of London, pick ing up themes such as climate change, commer cial opportunities, health, housing, and economic growth opportunities.

The Programme includes Talk London Work. The next phase is deliberative events and stake holders events early next year.

• It is important to reiterate that any change will not be ready until next mayoral administration.

The work is to identify challenges and potential options rather than coming up with what the next London Plan will include.

Demographic of the population projections – are

an important part of the process.

• Running alongside the London Programme, is the new Integrated Impact Assessment Framework (IIA) - literature baseline and information. Expected to have IIA scoping report available in the early new year to use as a framework to con sider and assess all the options for the London Programme.

• Moving towards live digital SHLAA (London Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment)


LM: How do you feel about previous census telling the population has increased by 600 000 in each decade but we did not build nowhere near enough houses? How do you see the plan addressing this issue.?

LF: We are not at that stage yet. We identify that London housing delivery has not kept pace and that London average occupancy rates have increased slightly, but we are not in the stage of putting for

>>> Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022
City Intelligence Unit GreaterLondonAuthority Adjusting previous estimates ! !"# !"$ !"% !"! & &"# #'((#'(##'()#'($#'(*#'(%#'(+#'(!#'(&#'#'#'#( ,-..-/01 2-345678961:-27:61 ;601<1 Population since the census ! !"# $ $ # %& %& # '&%%'&%('&'%'&'('&)%'&)('&*% +,--,./0 123 4-5678.93:;,./ :3/0<0
Census tells us what the population was on a single specific day Census Day was 21 March 2021 when we were in Phase 1 of the ‘Route Out of Lockdown’ This can be problematic because •It doesn’t tell us anything about how we got to that population • The data gets used as a proxy for much longer periods particularly once data are converted into rates Resources • Census First Release Summary • Blog on how to interpret the census • Census Pages on the London Datastore • email: Census population: 8.8 million ! !"# !"$ !"% !"! & &"# #'((#'(##'()#'($#'(*#'(%#'(+#'(!#'(&#'#'#'#( ,-..-/01 2-345678961:-27:61 ;601<1

ward what we might do to address that.

LM: Are you able to say how politicians might act to address this discrepancy?

LF: This will be a London Plan and we do not know who the political makeup will be. That is why is so crucial to take all the options that are put forward to us, assess them and identify the pros and cons. It will be up to the next mayor to look at all the policy leavers and create the London Plan.

BW: Property Week reports a study by Hamptons with the headline that ‘inflation and flexible working push Londoners out of town’ and they have a data on that. What extend is a permanent shift or a reac tion to lockdown? What is your perception of your recent trends that might have been distorted or been missed by the census count in terms of the move out of London?

LF: There is a wealth of information out there about what is likely to happen. We will just be con tinuing to update the baseline that we are assessing against. We are still in a fluid situation at the moment.

WT: For the population data point of view – pan demic statistics are particularly timely. We do not know yet what the longer impact of pandemic will look like in a longer span of time. Looking at the jobs data by sector – during the pandemic a lot of jobs such as retail, hospitality disappeared but now they came back. There is a lot of data but it does not cover the whole peace. It is difficult to get a handle of what exactly is going on.

Eric Sorensen (EO): I am interested in population projection. Will’s graph showing a dip and then an increase in population. I would be interested to know what that assumption was based on? The fact is that 6 years ago we were projecting a significant increase in young population and we build many primary schools. We now have many primary schools that are underpopulated by pupils. It is an illustration of how difficult is to make this projections.

One last point – a lot of the house developments particularly in the east London have been high rise residential developments. Talking with estate agents about who actually lives there you will notice that there are not standard families but tends to be short let, Airbnb, parking investment capitals. To under stand how much housing we need, we must under stand what is the mix of housing and who is living there to make any sense of the population and social requirements.

Steve Quartermain (SQ): Question for Lisa –given the change in the figures is there anything you feel you should do in the meantime to encourage the local boroughs to follow the higher figure in esti mating the housing needs rather than the lower fig ure?

LF: We are not expecting to see a change to the role of the London Plan in setting and apportioning the housing targets across London local authorities. It

is an entirely separate question to how the London Plan understands the housing needs in the future and what the housing targets for each local authority should be.

Michael Kiely (MK): The number of houses needs is different than the rest of the country and it is based on capacity.

LF: Establishing the targets is made up of a whole host of very complex factors. MK is right the housing needs is based on capacity and not based on each individual borough need.

MK: The 300 000 figure is not a real figure derived by demographic, it is a political figure. We have the affordability equation – if you build more houses the housing prices drop down. There is no evidence of this. The actual housing needs is below that figure. Hopefully these changes will come from the govern ment and will be addressed properly by looking at people.

Michael Bach (MB): The current situation will make the process even slower with the rise in costs, Brexit, inflation etc.

Short lets are now biting into the housing figures in some boroughs and it is higher than what is deliv ered. For the London Plan, we probably would end up with a negotiation figure of the number of housing needs and I think this is a more sensible solution.

LM: We need to understand how it is impacting on younger generation who are finding difficult to find affordable accommodation.

Thomasin: How much work has been done to underlines where the population projections come in terms of the household size and composition of household with the population changes? How we are using our housing stock? How the real demand is vs the usage vs the projection?

WT: It is partly to do with the population projec tion but it is also to do with the house hold projec tion model and it is based on census data 2001 and 2011 data. The question is if this is fit for purpose as you want to move forward?


Changes to the NPPF: The promised update has been trailed but failed to appear before the Summer recess. What might it, should it contain?

Led by Steve Quartermain of Town Legal (recent ly Government chief planning officer) Michael Bach and Peter Eversden of the London Forum of Amenity Societies.

Steve Quartermain:

• 2.5 years later – Planning Bill – so much is not explained. As part of the things promised was an updated NPPF. A revision is long overdue. There are many issues that need to be addressed. It was not a detailed NPPF that was forecast but a perspective of what the revised NPPF might look like.

• National Development Management Policy

Some policies do not attract that much atten tion. The most comments received on policies are on allocation policies.

Michel Gove said there will be consultations on the policy. If that is the case then plan making would be a lot quicker, easier and cheaper if some of the policies would be banged as they were.

The policies in the NPPF should have the same status as in the local plan with legal backing.

Some of the other issues:

- SQ is expecting for the NPPF to be clearer on the climate change agenda, clearer about retrofit and how the planning system should be more support ive, expect to adjust some of the issues we dis cussed today.

-In terms of the government position – there is a 9 months to 2 years window of change – new Prime Minister, Prince Legislation etc.

-The context of the economic challenges, there are concerns about the housing number, questions about the Levelling Up Agenda? Investments zones and planning zones- does that address the level ling up agenda, the approach of green belts?

All this gives a real opportunity to champion the NPPF.

There are things that you can change with imme diate difference. There should be a specific change to paragraph 35 on examining plans –local plans and spatial development strategies to be constantly reviewed. Another change should be to paragraph 33 to keep plans rolling.

Michel Bach:

• MB was responsible for the proactive PPGs (Planning Policy Guidance notes) and PPSs (Planning Policy Statements).

• The problem with the NPPF is that a lot is about process rather than policy. Policies need strength ening. Examples: policies to strengthen town cen ters;

In terms of the allocation, before deciding on the right development for an area, it should be identi fied how the place will look like.

• The biggest problem – there is nothing specific about big cities and London. London Plan provide very specific policies which NPPF will never pro duce.

• GLA talking about the London Plan and about the bill and not about what is going on in London. London situation is extreme with land values, development pressure, housing pressure, social and community uses that need protection. Any devel opment is usually at the expense of something else.

What is worrying is the status that National Development Management Policies would have –they would trump local plan policies. We should not discard the General Conformity principle where The London Plan has to conform with NPPF, and the Local Plan with the London Plan. You can


diverge from the other where it proves that there are local reasons.

• Another concern is the uncertainty about the future of the London Plan.

• Every chapter should have an introduction to make clear what is the purpose. The location development chapter (transport) is very weak. An important aspect is about strengthening local communities.

• A policy on tall buildings as in London Plan should be in the NPPF for all authorites

• A rethink of the content of NPPD and what it is about.

SQ: The government talked about National Development Planning Policies trumping the local policies if there is a difference. The issue is why would be a difference?

MK: National Development Planning Policies –the reason for having the same policies about differ ent things is to give section 38.6 status.

We do not know what policies government will produce. It might be that the generic policies might not be appropriate on specific areas. It is necessary that if it is to depart from the policy, an inspector should check and fresher policies should be intro duced to the specific areas and should carry weight

At the moment there is no freedom for local dis tinctiveness in the areas covered by NPPF.

NPPF is a mixture of policies and processes. There is a need to stand back and review all that; get all the policies in one document and all the proce dures into a practice guidance.

Peter Eversden (PE):

PE view on National Development Planning Policies is that they should be like any other guid ance and should have roots in NPPF. There should be a subject on which the guidance is given, not be

something special to determine if a planning appli cation is approved or not.

Robert Jenrick interfered with the London Plan –after it has been inspected, he ripped and inserted parts of it on the basis that only if you do this he will allow the publishing, reflecting the government attitude towards London and its plan. Clause 85 of Leveling Up and Regeneration Bill threatens the London Plan.

The NPPF does not include many of the subjects the London Plan covers. There are different rules for what would you do, where. The government does not know enough about London to try to change. The NPPF should cover the subjects that needs guidance rather than impose them.

Nigel Moor (NM): Retired local planning, and retired local politician-

In the last two years, the politicians started to see planning as a toxic subject. We need to try and promote a much more bipartisan approach.

Brian Gatenby (BG): Practicing architect and qualifying planner.

Real world planning moves faster than policy. It is not new – planning has been described as a wob bly pillar from the first day. We should look more at implementation with a more focus on reality of how it works in practice.

BW: Looking at the practicality of the process –the development management process is drawing in the process of technical requirements which are demanded before even the planning application is refused. Anything measurable should be in the Building Regulations rather than planning.

MK: Agree with BW in large. There is only a need for 2 documents – a design justification, and the other document should identify the impact of the development. The documents should have a word

limitation. At the moment - trying to access all the documents is impenetrable. We should focus in jus tifying a good design and its impact assessment.


Impact of inflation on London’s housing supply

Led by Thomasin Renshaw of Pocket Living and Riette Oosthuizen of HTA Design and BCIS (invited). SEE: Housebuilders costs up 15 per cent in last year - BCIS

Thomasin Renshaw (Development Director at Pocket Living):

Cost of the planning application – is astronomi cal. TS supports the notion that if consent is not implemented it should be because of a problem and not reluctance to the delivery.

Pocket Living

• Focus primarily on delivering 1bedroom homes –(1 bedroom-1 person homes)

• Deliver all over London - 50 live schemes on dif ferent scales. Diversity of schemes.

•The percentage of build cost inflation is higher the smaller the contract value

• Schemes:

West Green Place in Haringey: 98 pocket 1 & 2 bedroom homes, 12 pocket edition 2 bedroom homes and 16 family town houses and communi ty center.

Gainsford Road in Waltham Forest: 45 - 1bedroom pocket homes.

The current state of the industry:

• construction materials up to 23 per cent since August 2021

• cost of materials at a 40 year high.

• As a result there is a lot of insolvency, build cost inflation.

• Alarming signs for housing delivery –the graph >>> Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022

shows the number of affordable housing in 22-23 decreased exponentially in 10 years.

• There are many construction Insolvencies with 213 construction firms becoming insovent in June alone. It makes up a 5th of all insolvencies.

As an example – on one of the schemes the con tractor became insolvent. The project had to be retendered increasing the bill of the scheme by 30 per cent. There was no profit from the scheme.

• The developers profit margins has been impacted by the build cost inflation. You need a higher profit margin at a time that is particularly risky, but what it happened is that the profit margin is squeezed. Very challenging for a market that invested heavily to get a planning consent.

Dr Riette Oosthuizen (Planning partner at HTA Design LLP)

2007 - Established a planning consultancy within the practice

• HTA multidisciplinary practice specializing in house delivery and place making.

• Deliver schemes of all sizes- infill house delivery, 70 per cent of the clients are local authority.

• Schemes:

Joyce and Snells Estate, Enfield - regeneration scheme. Looking at reshaping a place at this scale is affected by a number of different phases. The project is in planning stage and will be delivered in the next 20 years. With the current market there are some challenges to think about as funding plays an impor tant part in the project.

Islington is one borough that HTA Design works closely with- 30 schemes that are build or in the pro cess of being build. The projects cover different scales trying to tap every single space that can be used for additional housing. Most projects are delivered inno vatively and because it is local authority driven they have a high-quality architecture.

Vorley Road, Islington – utilizing a small site to provide 72 new homes and a new library and a GP center.

Local authorities can drive contextual develop ment. It is important to have enough evidence based so you can envisage how the borough will look like in the future.

A number of small Enfield Infill Projects - with Peter Barber and the council Tallest Modular Tower in Croydon

• Construction cost inflation and hosing delivery, a summary:

- Uncertain and volatile market: Brexit, Covid, Ukraine - Russian War

- Volatility in the housing market based on a range of issues from debt exposure, mortgaged to grant availability, land and planning, labour and skills shortages. The market has proven historically to be resilient; will it be again?

- Construction Products Association market impact

36 Planning in London

analysis July 2022: construction output forecast to rise by 2.5 per cent in 2022 and 1.6 per cent in 2023. Strong growth in warehouses and infrastruc ture offsets, but slowdown in private housing and fall in private housing repair, maintenance and improvement.

- Material cost inflation is acutely felt: the Construction Leadership Council reports in June 2022 that inflation of around 23 per cent has been typical for construction products and material in year.

- Regulations changes – decarbonization and venti lation – to help UK reach 2050 net zero targets are increasing cost on projects.

- Cost of constructing labour (ICMS data) avg cost of construction labour, including skilled and unskilled has reached 33.60 pounds in the UK. Green collar installation operatives – high demand and low supply – installing renewable energy infrastructure – command rates of 52 pounds per hour.

-Balance of project viability considerations are shifting.

- Inflation potentially impacts on social outcomes and not just project delivery.

Experiences from Practice

- Developer forced to renegotiate affordable hous ing levels with the Local Authority as a result of inflated tender return from contractor

- Major developer in talks with the London Local Authority about concessions that will be required

by them to move their predicted return from what is now down at 12 per cent back to the ‘Broad approved’ 15 per cent margin.

- Infill estate regen project now in 4th year post planning struggling with delivering different ele ments of the scheme. Had to be rephrased and was subject to various post planning changes. The origi nal contractor pulled out. A further contractor is on board but the scheme is struggling to get off the ground, due to brick and window prices. Compounded with issue of costs is supply chain.

- Local authority, the client, reaction – as much cer tainty on design detail that is affordable at current prices as possible, leading to difficult discussions with planning officer about the quality of design,

HTA Planning

and leading to extreme project delays.

• Solutions - supply chain resilience, project resilience and pro ject optimization, team culture and leadership and management. (Arcadis, 2022)

- need for greater collaboration between all parts of housing delivery – including earlier selection of contractors and MMC providers and also longerterm relationship to avoid transactional approach es that will create cost spikes.

- Clients driven by ‘patient capital’ in the BtR and PBSA sectors. They currently continue to invest in housing.

Questions Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022 BRIEFING | LONDON PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT FORUM >>> I @HTADesignLLP I

es se

BW: The design might be correct at planning appli cation stage but then value engineering comes on and cheaps the design. Does it suggest that people are building things that would have not gotten planning permission?

RO: We would not want that. The desire is to always deliver the best quality design and that is

why it is the discussion to keep the design team involved at all stages.

What often happens is planning application are broken down in smaller components. During that stage problems creek in.

MC: When working for LB Croydon, we put in Clause 106 that the architect had to be retained as

executive architect to ensure the design was deliv ered and it was interesting to see the developers who welcomed that and who resisted it.

TR: Coming back to Impact of Inflation on London Housing Supply - interested to get people responses and what we can do about that? Housing delivery will fall off a cliff and what we will see is

38 Planning in London
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developers will reduce the affordable housing. At the moment Section 106 negotiations is not more flexi ble than it was 5 years ago. Is it perhaps something that we should look at? Are the local authorities understanding of what is going on right now?

LM: The whole viability situation is designed to try to accommodate some of these difficulties. It is a

fierce, expensive negotiation.

I don’t think that the system will immediately going to help stop the delivery figures from falling. I think what it is needed is a reappraisal of the realism of the high affordable housing requirements within the commercial equation of most developments.

To achieve the quality that is necessary, Local

Authorities, are trying with Section 106 to attach monitoring in order to ensure the quality of design is not eroded because of the viability issues TR is describing.

TR: I will challenge this - in order of the architect to be able to monitor, the schemes have to be deliv erable. TR is not sure if it is the right solution. Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022 that
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LM: If it is not viable it will not be built.

TR: That is the issue. It takes a while for people to understand how deep the issue is before having a constructive discussion. What can we do to escalate this – we should learn from the mistake of delaying the response and respond faster this time.

LM: Whole idea of community infrastructure levy was to try and remove doubt and uncertainty intruding in the planning system.

RM: The whole process is moving too slowly because this is fluctuating all the time. Some of the projects were viable at the planning stage and then a con tractor comes on board. The client is surprised by the price inflation of the con tractor. The next thing is about the delivery of the phase one, when suddenly the price of materials is higher or the materials are not available, having to go back to the design and make changes to the scheme.

There is a reality at the moment that makes the delivery of a project very difficult.

MW: I think we need a much greater tolerance of planning conditions.

BW: I wonder whether a moratorium of affordable housing tax for a limited period would bring forward more schemes, especially for independent smaller house builders. This might bridge the gap.

TW: There is a misunderstanding. Affordable housing and their payment come from the land value, not from developer profit.

Having experience the previous attempts of taxing betterment, they were all totally not comprehensible. The benefit of the existing system is that each site is independently measured. If it is up to the national tax- when it gets down to the more detail -it will become very complex.


Embodied carbon: the implications for planning policy and the risk that long-term energy savings in modern construction will be lost to shortterm retention of old structures. [Follows on last Forum discussion between Lichfields and Fred Pilbrow, the architect of the M&S scheme in Oxford Street, on the issue of embodied carbon, and demolitions versus development] - see PiL issue 122].

This is a follow up of a discussion from UCL at the last forum, where Fred, the architect of M&S in Oxford Street explained that they spend nine months trying to make use of the existing structure and finding that they could not.

In London, nearly every site for development has an existing building. Will it be the death of any new buildings because of the embodied carbon?

Siobhan Cross (Pinset Masons - Real Estate Dispute Resolution Layer)

• Context – climate change act 2008, legally binding UK targets to hit net 0 by 2050, to achieve a 78 per cent reduction of carbon emission by 2035 and by 2030 we need to achieve a 60 per cent reduction.

• June, 2022 CCC latest Progress Report – 47 per cent reduction achieved (excludes UK consumption emissions); 4 per cent increase emissions against 2020;

Progress in manufacturing and construction hard to ascertain due to poor data;

Calls for plan to mandate WLC assessment of buildings by 2025;

• Buildings 25 per cent of UK emissions to buildings and manufacturing/con struction 14 per cent of total emissions

• Definition of whole life carbon emissions – everything from construction, manufacturing of the raw material, transport, construction site energy use, during life and at the end of its life - dismantle, demolition and materials dis posal.

• RICS 2017 whole carbon assessment –

For an office the upfront embodied carbon will be 35 per cent of the whole life building with later work to the building accounting for 32 per cent.

For a warehouse the upfront carbon goes up to 47 per cent with works going to 29 per cent.

For a residential scheme – the upfront carbon is 51 per cent. The construction stage is a huge amount of the whole life carbon emission. • UKGBC (UK Green Building Council)- Net Zero whole Life Roadmap – UK build environment was responsible for 25 per cent of UK carbon emission. The embodied carbon emissions - 20 per cent of UK built environment emis sions; by 2035 – 50 per cent of UK built environment emissions. Embodied carbon will become increasingly more important.


• Government commitments on embodied carbon are non-existent. They have committed in the industrial decarbonization strategy to disclosed embodied carbon for major public works by 2025 and set targets for embodied carbon from 2030. As well as improving carbon information on materials by extending environmental product declaration.

• Industry is ahead of government – Part Z proposal-building regulation requir ing mandatory whole life report for buildings of over 1000sqm or comprising more than 10 residential units.

The second part of part Z is mandatory and ratcheted periodically limits on upfront embodied carbon and we should be at that stage– by 2027.

• This assessment should be done at planning stage.

• UK Green Building Council – Roadmap Nov 21

If we carry on as we are will succeed only 60 per cent reduction by 2050 and not achieve the legally binding targets.

Summary for policy makers:

– 2020: mandatory WLC assessment via Building Regulations plus limits on embodied carbon as per Part Z timings and scope – National tool for data

– VAT and planning reforms to prioritize reuse over demolition and rebuild Recommendations for Local Authorities:

– Requirement for design stage to reduce carbon

– Existing buildings – circular economy statements Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022 >>>

– Major developments to the whole life carbon assessment

– Monitoring as build carbon emissions via plan ning conditions

Building to Net Zero Recommendations

– Building Regulations for mandatory WLC assess ment as per Part Z

– Set timeframes for above the end of 2022

– Use RICS Professional Statement on WLC assess ment as national methodology

– Prioritize retrofit and reuse – review Permitted

Developments Rights, circular developments state ments, whole life carbon for the retrofit and reuse vs for a new building.

ance these priorities. Is it something that could come through national management development policy? What trumps what?

• It would be a shame to get to the point of refurb only because it is not the only solution.


BW: It is a void in the regulations – and other coun tries might be ahead of UK. Permitted develop ment rights - are unfairly attacked as they still need building regulation permission.

Stefano Koryziss (SK): Account Director at London Communication Agency

fact there is much longer life cycle – 100 years. This underlines the critical importance of having a nation al methodology that is consistent across the board and that make sense.

TR is supportive in making sure the schemes delivered are sustainable. Has been any assessment of the additional cost this monitoring process will add to the developers?

Picking up the conversation about affordable housing payment coming from the land value. Some projects take up to 10 years to get on site. During this time there would be many changes in regula tions, often the developers having nowhere to go. It is important this to be recognized.

The London Plan

– Corporate NZ policies covering all emissions –have other drivers to deal with the embodied car bon. SBTi verified NZ targets only permit offset 510 per cent of residual emissions.

• PR and public affairs firm with focus on build envi ronment in London.

• the work is focusing on research aspect– politics, policies, people, market research

• There are 2 questions:

London Plan 2021

– Increasing mandatory reporting requirements –not mandatory in UK to report Scope 3 Emissions (Scope 1 & 2 covered by SECR).

Nicholle Kingsley

• If climate change is priority there should be a clearer regulatory framework and have clear ideas of what the priorities are.

• There is no legislation but we have London Plan and the mayor leading away with the circular econ omy requirement, whole life carbon assessment requirement, energy statements and requirement to update them regularly and carbon offset pay ments as part of Section 106 contribution.

• City of London – published their planning note. Trying to regulate and make more transparent the methodology of how you assess the carbon impact of the development.

• NPPF – the embodied carbon is not mentioned directly. There is a paragraph encouraging the reuse of existing resources.

• What is the balance in all of this in relation to planning application. What the situation with M&S scheme in Oxford Street brought to light is that the government is not clear in the way to approach this and what it wants from the development. It is more reactionary.

• It is unclear of how local authorities should bal

The first one is in relation to M&S development – it was mentioned there is no regulation for the embodied carbon and yet the scheme was called in on the grounds of the debate of retrofit or new build. On what basis the inspectors will judge against?

In assessing the whole life carbon emission that would be done by advisers of a landlord or developer, do we risk to create a liability assessment system with all the controversial and political elements that go with that and delay the progress even further?

NK: Dealing with the first question – London Plan Policy requires that all major applications submit a circular economy report and a whole life carbon assessment and be updated as the development pro gresses. Energy monitoring requirement condition or in Section 106.

The inspector has to determine it against these planning policies SI2 Minimizing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and SI 7 Reducing waste and supporting circular economy.

The second question. – more assessment for developers to do for their planning application that massive increase the cost.

SC: To add – the whole life carbon assessment of the heritage group was based on the acquired assumption in the methodology used to do the assessment as it was only 60 years life cycle, when in

In terms of additional cost in monitoring carbon emission in different building uses – could it be that some forms of development will be priced out of market? TR welcomes case studies to understand the unexpected ramifications later on.

SC: The Environment Audit Committee Report considers the issue of the cost. The evidence received seems to be that once there are established comput er models for doing this it would not be expensive. The design element to do the whole life carbon assessment is expensive but the assessment itself is not expensive – 200-400 pounds per property.

TR: That implies to have a detailed design to feed into the planning application which a developer would not do because of the expenses. It is a risk a developer would not take.

There should be a different way to do it.

BW: There was once an outline planning permis sion – needing only a red line on an OS extract, onepage TP1 planning application form and a stamp, and that is all you had to do.

Now there are many digital documents that are required for planning. The idea to turn to the client for extra time and money to be able to give the assessor what it needs about the technical specifica tions, before having any assurance that is getting the permission, is quite unrealistic.

We need to review what happen to outline plan ning permission and establish some things in princi ples and kick as many measurable conditions into building regulations as opposed to planning. n

Delivering Good Growth in uncertain times Rob McNicol, London Plan Manager 8 March 2022
On 2 March, the London Plan 2021 became part of the development plan for Greater London 10 per cent of new homes must meet the highest standards of accessibility 95 per cent of construction and demolition waste to be reused, recycled or recovered 43 safeguarded wharves 80 per cent of trips to be taken by walking, cycling and public transport by 2041 27 designated strategic views 55 strategic industrial locations 47 Opportunity areas 52,000 new homes per year 50 per cent of new homes to be genuinely affordable 102 policies The London Plan 2021 in numbers All major developments to meet net zero carbon 400 metreexclusion zone for new hot food takeaways near schools 4,000 consultation 300 organisations and LPG current programme StatusTimingLondon Plan Guidance Adopted October 2021Be seen energy monitoring Public London Charter Live public engagement Running until 27 March 2022 Large-scale purpose-built shared living Running until 27 March 2022 Characterisation and growth strategies Optimising site capacity: a design-led approach Small housing developments and design codes Housing design standards Running until 20 June 2022 Fire safety Adoption pending Early 2022 Circular economy statements Whole life carbon Mid 2022 Urban greening factor Sustainable transport, walking and cycling Air quality positiveDesign and Characterisation LPG A characterisation assessment and growth strategy should be used to inform Local Plans. This feeds in to small site design codes (developed by boroughs) and site parameters for larger sites (for site allocations and planning applications). The four documents work together work together in the following way The Housing Design Standards should be used to inform the design of residential development.
The next meeting of the London Planning & Development Forum will be on Monday 12 December. Location and agenda and if you would like to attend please email the Hon Secretaries at or


Why planning is sexy

No sex please - unless it’s incidental, says Andy Rogers

“While not a technical term in the world of planning, we need to make the planning profession sexy again … bringing the planning system into the 21st century should be a priority…”

– BEN EVERITT, MP for Milton Keynes North, speak ing in a parliamentary debate on housing and planning in rural communities, July 2022

When I read that an MP considered that planning had once been sexy, I found it hard to imagine what this might mean. In the spirit of Ben Everitt’s comment I have taken on the role of Agony Uncle and culled some of the more obscure questions that, as an elected representative of the current legislature, he should perhaps be able to answer.

Dear Ben

My friendly local planning officer says that his attempts to engage his colleagues in mildly lewd banter has been referred to the council’s HR depart ment with a possibility of pending dismissal. Can this be true? Annie Wokeman

Dear Ms Wokeman

I fear that you may be acting as devil’s advocate. You have assumed a negative perspective to the council’s policies by suggesting that the replace ment of innocent office banter with lewd com ments would be likely to make planning more sexy, which is clearly wrong. Shame on you!

Dear Mr Everitt

I have been asked to submit a detailed fire escape statement and checklist before my local planning authority will validate an application for the change of use of my client’s house, which has three flats, to a single dwelling. This means that I will be obliged to enter the flats so that I can confirm existing bed rooms, etc. How can I do this without being accused of a serious invasion of privacy, especially if the occupiers are in bed?

Perplexed planning consultant.

Dear Perplexed planning consultant

I suggest you speak to your local planning authority about proportionality. They will probably have no idea what you are talking about since most officers

don’t even understand the concept of proportion in design, let alone proportionality. However, when you have proved that the change of use will make the property more sustainable, you may not need planning permission at all (depending on which council you will be dealing with). This is just what we MPs and local councillors hate - losing control of development due to the rise of so-called “per mitted development”.

Dear Mr Everitt

You and your colleagues have repeatedly said that the planning system needs to be brought into the 21st century. This reminds me that numerous plan ning acts have required all local plans to be put in place by various deadlines which very often have not been met, but omitted any sort of real sanction – my own authority has had all of its policy drafting plans shelved or extended indefinitely. How does 21st century planning fit in with the inevitable approvals by appeal that will follow?

Dear Ms Caseofficer

It doesn’t.

And, finally (as a bit of fun) here is a short quiz. Why is this sexy garden shed in a sloping garden NOT allowed as a permitted development Class E outbuilding?

Is it

1. Because the dwelling to which it relates was created by a permitted change to residential from some other use? - NO, it has always been a C3 dwelling house.

2. Because it’s not in the curtilage of the house? - NO, it’s definitely within the curtilage*.

3. Because it exceeds 50% of the total curtilage area? - NO, it’s far too small.

4. Because any part of it is in front of the principal elevation of the house? - NO, it’s entirely in the back garden.

5. It has more than one storey? - NO. it’s clearly single-storey.

Dear Mr Ben

Ministers have praised the proposed merger of local planning services, eg LBHF, WCC and RBKC or RuT and Wandsworth. What happens when local elec tions change the colour and composition of the participating authorities? (and don’t say that local politics should play no part in planning because we all know they do). Mrs Mary Busybody

Dear Mrs Busybody

Local politics play no part in the planning process.

Dear Mr Everitt

I understand that you consider that the planning profession used to be sexy. Given that most of my local authority planning work consists of box-tick ing due to the increasingly complex checklists that I have to complete, what has gone wrong? I think we should be told. A concerned validation clerk.

Dear Validation Clerk

Whether the planning profession was ever truly sexy is a matter for debate, but you must admit it made a headline-catching statement for the boring plan ning press. n

6. It is more than 2 metres from the house but more than 4 metres high?NO, its height (measured as it should be from the highest point of the adjoining ground) is exactly 3.8 metres to the ridge.

7. Its eaves are higher than 2.5 metres? - NO, the eaves are 2.2 metres high (again, as measured from the highest adjoining ground).

8. It is within the curtilage of a listed building? - NO, the house isn’t listed.

9. It includes a verandah, balcony or raised platform? - NO, it doesn’t.

10. Its drilled ground-screw supports are a specialist engineering feature? - NO, the owner installed them himself (and he’s not a builder).

11. It’s in a Conservation Area and situat ed at the side of the house? - NO, as noted above, it’s completely at the rear.

12. It includes a double bed? - YES, it can not be permitted development if its use is not incidental to the enjoyment of the house, but instead provides additional pri mary accommodation that is ancillary*, or supplementary.

(No sex please - unless it’s incidental.)

*See my column in the last issue of PiL Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022


Neil Parkyn reflects on things various

‘Doing Extraordinary Things’

A sign outside The Engineers’ Club in New York reminds us that so much of the world around us is shaped by this remarkable breed of men and women. The fulll citation along side the entrance includes the apt phrase ‘ordinary men doing extraordinary things’, which seems spot on.

London is so full of their work, from Crossrail to the skeletons of the newest outburst of towers that the modesty of the engi neers involved remains resfreshing. The highly complex jigsaw puzzle of the rebuild of Liverpool Street Station, for example, required enginnering and contracting skills of the highest order.

Passing through the sunlit station concourse can bring a sense of exalation and splendour. My personal enthusiasm for the World of Engineers was probably nurtured long ago by the pages of the Meccano Magazine, where a brother kneeling in front of a Tower Crane model he has just completed was admired by his sister kneeling opposite.

So it’s time for just celebration of these achievements. Let’s see more articles, visits, explanations and related events so that the public at large can appreciate these major new works of London’s infrastructure. Getting them designed and built were challenges too often left unsung, yet they fully deserve the spot light.

Manchester’s Symphony of Slots

A recent visit to this sleek and swishy city centre left the strong impressiion that almost all of its recent office and resi dental towers present facades composed of vertical slit win dows. These are stacked, joined side-by- side, syncopated, clustered or scattered apparently at random. The eye strives for visual rhyme or reason but fails to make sense of the dis tribution. After a while, one abandons the search for visual order and thinks of the slots in a pianola roll or in ancient Hollerith punched cards. Adieu good old Functionalism, in which there could be a consistent logic in the fenestratiion. Here by contrast we get swept up into almost musical ryhthms that don’t add up to any tune. There are further combos on offer – double height slots, partly glazed panels, blanks and much else.

Perhaps it’s all a well meant attempt at ersatz excitement, but so much of it on so many neighbouring facades creates a sense of disorder and unease, not variety and animation. It’s sel dom that you encounter such concentrated slotterry at large.

Time to sip your early evening drink served in one of the numer ous cafés and restaurants which rather neatly occupy the double height ground level corners of most towers. You won’t be able to tease out any discernable pattern nevertheless, but it’s an appealing exercise in company. But there’s no denying that it’s still a tease. Or is the pattern of slots and solids actually intended to convey an extraterestrial message, or does the sequence defy

other would-be codebreakers?

Order Order!

All of us, at one time or another, have faced the admitedily trivial but pesky problem of how to arrange a handfull of indi vidual, diferrently sized posters on a notice board. Where to begin, with so many options available? The traditionaliists among us may plump for the familiar ‘washing line,’ on which the tops of the notices are neatly aligned. Others will favour stacking them in vertical columns centred on the midpoints of all items. Those of an artistic bent may prefer to assemble compositions based on colour, graphic merit or even in terms of how important they regard the information thereupon. It can all become something of a minefield, with layouts trans formed by deft redeployment of tacks.

Budding archeologists may try to explore the sequence of a Notice Board’s development from the remaining imprints of Scotch tape or PostIt notes. There may have been a burst of graphic activity as sport teams are formed, or with the flow of the academic year. There are,of course those favoured moments when the Notice Board becomes the static star, beloved of Hollywood directors, as students crowd and jostle each other for a peek at the exam results or staff promotions.. Even when most of this informatiion could be transmitted electronically, we would miss the seasonal splurge of posters,often decorating all available vertical surfaces, proof of vibrant activity and adven ture.

Security Blankets?

Rulers, rubbers, stubby pencil holders, ancient protractors and the like, it’s no surprise that many an engineer, architect or designer retains these items as personal charms, signs of con tinuity or simply as souvenirs of a well loved project. Sample

44 Planning in London PARKYN’S PIECES
Neil Parkyn is a retired architect and urban planner living in central France
RIGHT: Engineers ‘Doing Extraordinary Things’

window sections are effortlessly attractive in their own right, with mysterious nooks and crannies without any applied effort. There is certainly real pleasure in turning a chunky nut-andbolt in the hand that’s not avalilable in any artful fingerwork on the Ipad. Rotating a non-electric pencil sharpener requires just enough care and skill as to partially occupy one’s thoughts and allow others to float in. The grinding sound and the fall of shav ings have an attrractive artisana. Old boxwood scales from the pre-metric age are perfect desk accessories.

Places of Invention

In the annals of invention and discovery there has always been space for unpreposessing locales from which Wonders have emerged. Think of Sir Alexander Fleming’s modest plaque on the facade of his laboratory at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington or the shabby huts of of the codebreakers. Crossing the Atlantic, California can boast Sacred Sights of Invention that began life as humble garages and car ports. Anything it seems to keep things cheap and simple, utilitarian and tempo rary. By starting modest, inexpensive and banal the innovator and his pals are placing themselves proudly in a world without pretention, status or prestige. No donor’s name outside but a stack of ideas within. As long as there can be room for the cir cular plaque in due course. But if the course of science does not run smooth after all, a Garage Sale of mysterious assemblies might lessen the pain.

Sense of Scale

Time was when the size of objects could be readily visualised by lining up the requisite number of London buses, but such comparative measures now seem as archaic as the fading

pages of the Meccano Magazine. Today’s micromeasurements are seemingly impossible to visualise without recourse to such references as the thickness of a cigaarette paper. Undoubtedly a gain for science if a loss to mankind, perhaps as significant as Othe demise of Beyer Garret locomotives and the like. Which reminds me. Charles and Ray Eames, the endlessly and effort lessly inventive couple of American designers, once made a short film entitled The Power of Ten, in which their camera pans away from a square of grass progressively by multiples of ten until, conceptually at least they reach the outer edge of our glalaxy. It is a delightful and vivid presentation of relative dis tance, made before space travel was commonplace. Catch it if you can. n

BELOW: Notice boards give us ‘Order Order’ Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022
LEFT: Manchester’s Symphony of Slots

Planning in London have negotiated a reader’s discount for the purchase of this book.

Order online at and enter the promo code PLANNING30 to receive a 30% discount.

Safeguarding our cities for the future



Safeguarding our cities for the future

The most serious challenge we all face is climate change. Globally, the transport sector is the major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and it clearly follows that progressive transport planning and consultancy must be at the forefront of the fght against it. We continue to work every day with our clients to push sustainability boundaries and do things better.

But our work also has to go beyond moving the dial on emissions targets. People are our priority and society today is facing many other challenges, which good urban design can help to mitigate or solve. The projects that we work on, across market sectors and around the world, ensure more people can travel sustainably, while also creating safe, liveable, well-planned and equitable places and neighbourhoods. The articles in this edition of Connect explore these areas in more detail through the lens of the role of heritage and 20-minute neighbourhoods in Scotland’s bid to improve societal interconnectivity, reduce social isolation, improve health and wellbeing, improve levels of activity and regenerate areas of decline; and decelerating transport’s contribution to emissions. We also feature a snapshot of our case studies which are already delivering benefts to our clients and to the people using the spaces which have been created through our transport strategies.

With these themes in mind, we’re also excited to invite you to visit Momentum City.

Over the coming months Momentum City – our exemplar global city – will grow to explore how good urban design and transport can accelerate the transformation of our economies and communities, bend the curve on global emissions and deal with the impacts of climate change. You can read more on pages 10-11 or head to to fnd out more.

Transport consultancy is changing faster than it ever has. It’s an exciting place to be with opportunities to tackle some of society’s biggest challenges.
3. 20 minutes to better health, net-zero and more equitable communities: creating imaginative and attractive places to live. Decelerating transport’s contribution to emissions – with fve initiatives. Case study snapshot Introducing Momentum City 04 - 05 08 - 09 06 - 07 10 - 11 Contents !"#$$%&'()'*+#,)-'.+"/%&'+&/'0#12,+'3$4#&-2&5'' 3"$#-$'+&/'6#"%1$2"'27'8%+9$#79,'*+$%"#+,-'6%-#:&';$9/#2 !"#$$%&'()'6+<#/'=+"$ >,,9-$"+$#2&-'()'?+-#+'."+@+A 49

20 minutes to better health and more equitable communities

Written in collaboration with Nicola Atkinson, Artist and Director of Beautiful Materials Design Studio, who has established a practice at the forefront of creative, placemaking, community engagement, and delivering artworks developed through genuine public participation. Beautiful Materials Design Studio is committed to delivering wellconceived and durable artworks that inspire and prompt actions, interactions, and reactions.


4. !"#$#%&'(##)'*'+,-',.'-*+/'*(,0-' 12345)0-#')#56"(,0$",,7&8 9+-",06"' ),-'*')#:';,);#<-':5-"5)'<+*))5)6=' -"#$#%&';#$-*5)+>'*'$#)#:#7'<,+5-5;*+'*)7 &,;5#-*+'.,;0&',)'-"#5$'7#?#+,<4#)-'*)7 <,-#)-5*+'(#)#.5-&8 In Scotland, 20-minute neighbourhoods feature as a concept in several national policies as a means of both supporting post-Covid recovery and reinventing places for the future. They also serve Scotland’s emissions reduction target of becoming net-zero by 2045 by an anticipated reduction in the need to travel. Scotland’s fourth National Planning Framework Position Statement (published in November 2020) focuses on four key areas: ‘a plan for net-zero emissions’, ‘a plan for resilient communities’, ‘a plan for a wellbeing economy’ and ‘a plan for better, greener places’. It’s clear to see how the 20-minute neighbourhood concept, along with sustainable
planning and urban design, might be the enabler to all these aims.
Public Artwork ‘Damask & Red Shoes’. Photo ©Jim Payne

From examples around the world, we know that 20-minute neighbourhoods work. Being tried and tested from Portland, Oregon, to Paris, community feedback from pilot programmes has demonstrated what can be achieved with a set of (relatively) straightforward interventions such as improving cycling and pedestrian crossings of railway lines; enhancing connectivity of existing facilities through improved walking and cycling paths; reviewing bus service routes and frequency; supporting safe walk-to-school programmes; supporting community public art programmes and installations to refect cultural heritage; and delivering streetscape improvements to revitalise local centres.

The Edinburgh City Plan 2030 has already identifed eight town centres as starting points and Scotland has the opportunity to be a global leader in delivering this concept across the country, showing that it is feasible in both urban and rural locations. We can also showcase and refect Scotland’s rich cultural heritage through public works of art and design tailored to suit each town or city. As Glasgow City Council states in its Heritage Assets Plan: “The importance of heritage cannot be overstated; it contributes substantially to prosperity, health, education and civic pride through providing evidence of our collective shared past, a high-quality urban environment and a unique identity for a place. It also sustains neighbourhoods as attractive places in which people wish to live, work and play.”

There is, without doubt, a major opportunity for Scotland to use 20-minute neighbourhoods to improve societal interconnectivity, reduce social isolation, improve health and wellbeing, improve levels of activity and regenerate areas of decline.

So great is the opportunity that in its Programme for Scotland, the Scottish Government committed itself to work with local government to take forward its ambitions for 20-minute neighbourhoods where people can live, work and learn in communities close to home, as well as promising over £500 million over fve years for large scale, transformational active travel infrastructure projects and introducing Low Emissions Zones in Scotland’s major cities in the frst half of 2022.

Designed as places where residents can meet most of their day-to-day needs within a 20-minute walk from their home, they are considered enablers for many of the objectives our transport strategies seek to achieve, such as improved health and wellbeing, increased

active travel, sustainable and inclusive transport, and air quality improvements. But future 20-minute neighbourhoods must also be designed in a manner that nurtures strong local communities characterised by trust and people working together to create a liveable place. Creating a sense of community is an important identity-creating factor for people and the design of such a neighbourhood should inspire inhabitants to have a sense of pride in their community.

Nicola Atkinson, Artist and Director of Beautiful Materials Design Studio, says “With this understanding artists should be involved throughout the process, working in cooperation with the project leaders and the community to create thoughtful, imaginative and attractive places where the environment supports a high quality of life and sharing the hierarchy of ideas. Art and design is an essential part of this and is fundamental to the success of the identity and sense of community in any neighbourhood. Art brings imagination, creativity, expertise and inspiration to the everyday. Creating an artistic landmark by using locally sourced materials or just excellent design will provide long-lasting pieces of public art which would be of beneft to the community and its sense of place.”

One such example is the public artwork ‘Damask & Red Shoes’ on Bruce Street in Dunfermline (see left), created by Nicola. The public art installations have improved the look and feel of the street, as well as refecting local history and encouraging more people to visit the area by foot and bike. Bruce Street is a partnership between Sustrans Scotland, Fife Council and local partners Delivering Dunfermline and Dunfermline Heritage Partnership.

Strengthening the concept of 20-minute neighbourhoods using art and design will help to build social capital as people select communities to live in based on many parameters including attractive urban qualities, pleasant atmospheres and good social infrastructure.

And this means working together with communities to create spaces in a collaborative approach to enhance community cohesion, inclusivity, safety and resilience. All the while recognising the importance of creativity, culture and the arts to our collective identity and future places.



Decelerating transport’s contribution to emissions – with fve initiatives

Walking and cycling, and the ‘healthy streets’ agenda

In London, TfL’s healthy streets agenda has undoubtedly brought about a shift in modal priorities, with active travel being prioritised over cars. Whereas historically the overriding priority for schemes was to model traffc, we’re now seeing a change: with a transfer of streetspace from cars to active travel modes.

We work extensively in development planning and are increasingly seeing sites becoming more permeable. The idea of fortress-like blocks is being left behind in favour of dissecting sites out and creating new pedestrian routes through them. We’re seeing improved connectivity and a blurring of the lines between buildings and streets - entrances at ground foor level are more porous, allowing the public to come in and integrate with new buildings.

52 6. !"#$%&'(")&#*'#+',-'.'#*'#/0'# 1#/(2#3/.'#+''(#4-(5'#*'#*'0'# 6%)(2'2#-(#7897#1#/"#"3'#6%0'60%("# %6#/220'44-(:#/(2#6-:3"-(:#5,-&/"'# 53/(:';#<)"#/4#*'#-(53#5,%4'0# "%#"3'#2'/2,-('4#%6#"3'#&/(=# '(.-0%(&'("/,#"/0:'"4#"3/"#3/.'# +''(#4'">#-"?4#&%0'#-&@%0"/("# "3/(#'.'0#"3/"#*'#/44'44#/(2#@)"# &'/4)0'4#-("%#@,/5'#"3/"#/0'#:%-(:# "%#+'#"0),=#'66'5"-.'; As part of all the projects we work on, we consider how to enable our clients to be compliant with current policy - while also thinking about how to reduce and minimise the predicted environmental impacts from the development and project. At the World Car Free Day Summits in 2020 and 2021, we’ve spoken of the ‘micro’ initiatives that can lead to ‘macro’ change within our towns and cities, and how we can decelerate transport’s contribution to emissions – with fve initiatives.

Urban logistics and consolidation




The ‘marmite’ of mobility, micromobility (and in particular e-scooters) has the potential to provide a vital role in unlocking sites outside of city centres. Our research shows that 98% of inner London and 78% of outer London are brought within reach of a rail or tube station with a 10-minute e-scooter journey.


Enhancing public transport

Making sure developments are well connected to public transport networks, to infuence people’s travel habits, is key if London is to meet its aim of 80% of trips on foot, cycle or by public transport by 2041.

Our current work for Landsec at Victoria brings a fnal piece of the puzzle –introducing a contra-fow bus lane to help cut bus journey times while also dedicating more priority to pedestrians and more open permeability.

Political courage needed

Are we on the path to meeting the aims laid out by governments and cities? Yes, we’re seeing the green shoots of strategies and initiatives, but we’re unfortunately moving much too slowly if we are to achieve these vitally-important targets.

Greater behaviour and attitude change towards car usage is needed in urban areas, but the essential element is that we see some political courage. Many of the interventions above are being progressed with policy support, albeit in a piecemeal way. Fundamental changes that bring more impactful change are also needed. I believe it’s time to seriously consider road user charging schemes which charge for every single bit of distance driven by a car, as well as factoring in emissions, occupancy of the vehicle and the vehicle’s desired routes. It requires courage to implement congestion charges in the frst place – and that’s what we need to see more of now, alongside robust transport strategies which enable places to be built and adapted to support car-free environments.

The recent huge increase in e commerce, accelerated by Covid, has resulted in a corresponding increase of delivery vehicle mileage. Yet, from a development perspective it’s generally accepted that up to half of delivery vehicles could be cut through good consolidation strategies. We strongly encourage our development clients to bring through consolidation strategies and advocate for the role that cargo bikes can play in micro consolidation roles, replacing vans and trucks. A holistic consolidation strategy, serving the entirety of a city, would represent a massive step forward in taking vehicles off streets.


Road user charging

With the London congestion charge now nearly 20 years old, it has become – in my opinion – defunct, with its effect largely nullifed. A revamp is needed to provide a more robust and larger-scale imperative to reduce the prevalence of the private car in London.


Case study

mobility and freight solutions

of urban spaces including micromobility and innovative urban logistics such as consolidation and ‘frst and last mile’ strategies. We help our clients (including local authorities, councils, commercial developers and architects) to develop more effcient and sustainable transport strategies. These strategies

reduce their transport carbon footprints, positively respond to ESG requirements and help make better use of existing infrastructure for servicing, mobility and permeability.

Central London

a comprehensive consolidation strategy to bring down delivery vehicle numbers at a major development proposal in central London (confdential client).


Through design development and strategic work with the client and wider project team, we helped to reduce the logistics and parking areas and enable full future provision for electric vehicle charging.

existing multi-storey car park is now permitted to be converted to a hotel and a school.

Ilford Gyratory

Developing highway design proposals

general traffc away from the town centre and rebalance the streetscape in favour of pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users.

of London

cargo bike deliveries.

Brabazon Masterplan, Bristol

to deliver thousands of muchneeded homes without putting a single additional car on the

that re-accommodate
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that support the resilience

Nova, Victoria:

With the realignment of highways, wider footways, new crossing facilities, new bus stands and stops, Momentum’s work has been instrumental in transforming Victoria into a people-focused destination. Momentum also assisted in the successful delivery of a hidden operations strategy comprising of priority basement level parking, temperaturecontrolled storage facilities to ensure deliveries can be taken around the clock and a waste strategy tucked away out of sight within the basement.

Dott in Dublin

Investigated the impact of e-scooters on accessibility in dublin and the likely trip types they would facilitate, with the results highlighting great opportunities for e-scooters to ‘plug’ existing gaps in the public transport network which could be contributing to the high private modal share.

West Ealing

Developing a freight and servicing strategy with the overarching aim of reducing the impact of freight and servicing activity, including the potential for collective procurement of common supplies, lastmile deliveries using e-cargo bikes and ultra-low emission vehicles, and the reduction and retiming of delivery trips to, and generated by, businesses. Our work has also been integral in informing streetscape, gateway and public space concept design proposals being led by the wider project team.

San Francisco Flower Mart

Supporting design development to ensure effcient mobility to, and through, the site and effective logistics. Momentum’s pedestrian studies ensure comfortable spaces for people by testing the pedestrian level of service in the public realm.

Ennis, County Clare

Momentum worked closely with Ennis Municipal District and Ennis 2040 to assess potential pedestrian-friendly measures and identify suitable Park and Stride locations in the town.


Momentum was part of a consortium, consisting of Stallan Brand, LDA Design and Savills, commissioned by Dundee City Council to prepare a long-term (30year) plan to best prepare for, support and guide future development and investment opportunities in the city.

9. 55
Illustrations by Tasia Graham

Welcome to Momentum City

The climate crisis, public health emergencies and dispossessed communities are just some of the challenges we face today as society. And as transport consultants we know that the work we do is critical in facing these challenges successfully.

Our work involves understanding the link between transport and land use, and the future shape of our towns and cities. With a desire to share this understanding and demonstrate how the initiatives we’re championing can accelerate transformation, we’re taking what we know and applying it to our own fctional city: Momentum City.

Our city is built on the foundations of a commitment to both society and the environment. These values will underpin how the city develops.

With these foundations in place, we’ll take a closer look at the landmarks and features common to global cities. We’ll consider how each development connects with its urban environment and operates within it, and how this is likely to evolve in the future. Momentum City will demonstrate how the wide range of solutions in our transport and urban design toolkit can build equitable cities, address the challenges of public health and climate change and deliver connected spaces which safeguard our environment for future generations - unlocking the key role that cities and buildings play in achieving our societal goals.

Most importantly, our journey around Momentum City will show how incremental changes - such as alternative forms of transport to the car (regardless of fuel source), intelligent freight and logistics solutions, technology and effective management of space - can make huge changes to cities and the people who live and work in them. Along the way we’ll also consider the challenges to effcient transport decarbonisation which apply to real-life cities across continents, including governance models and fnancing.

So, come aboard to fnd out how Momentum City will safeguard the city for our future generations.

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The Arc: a collision between a strategic plan and local politics

Nigel Moor explains the need to challenge the receding government support for the Oxford –Cambridge Arc. The election of a new Conservative Leader Liz Truss presents an opportunity to gain new momentum.


The Oxford – Cambridge Arc Source: Policy Paper pub lished 18 February 2022 Department for Levelling Up. Crown Copyright. This information is licensed under the Open Government Licence 3.0

An uneasy relationship with large scale planning

The editorial in the April edition of PiL (Issue 121) on the Oxford – Cambridge Arc prompted me to reflect on why the Conservative Party has had such a suspicion of large – scale regional planning. This has existed ever since the introduction of the 1947 Town & County Planning Act, whether it was opposition to the enthusiasm for planning evident in the 1951 Festival of Britain, and right up to the regional agencies set up by New Labour. The constant fear has been does it run the risk of alienating its core vote in the shires The latest manifestation of this as commented on by PiL is the prospect of receding government support for the Oxford- Cambridge Arc.

This has not gone unchallenged by those who have advised government. “It would be an act of self-sabotage not to contin ue investing in our real assets, including Oxford and Cambridge.

Supporting these areas isn`t inconsistent with levelling up.”

Andy Haldane, Chief Executive of The Royal Society of Arts and formerly Chief Economist at The Bank of England, answering a question from Andrew Neil, about the government`s decision

to shelve its plans to invest in turning the Oxford-Cambridge Arc into a world-class science cluster. The interview was pub lished in an issue of the Spectator examining the Levelling Up agenda. Haldane for six months had the role of Permanent Secretary for Levelling Up in the new government department. How did we get into this mess? It’s a collision between a strate gic plan and local politics.

The Arc was launched with much fanfare by the Coalition Government of 2010.Backed by the National Infrastructure Commission, the prospect of a growth corridor between the two university cities gained considerable momentum at the time. But electoral reverses in local government elections last year for the Conservatives in both Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire, has brought about a loss of nerve. Facing a pro-environment campaign, the Conservatives lost control of both county councils.

The biggest casualty was the Leader of Oxfordshire County Council Ian Hudspeth who had been a leading member of The Strategic Alliance Leadership, representing the local authori ties in the Arc. He had represented the Woodstock division for

chartered town planner and a former town, district and county councillor

Planning in London

more than a decade but was targeted for his support of the growth agenda.

The response by the government has been panic. The warning signs came when the Arc was omitted from the Levelling Up White Paper published in February 2022. More than 300 pages but no mention of the Arc. A report by Liz Watts, Chief Executive of South Cambridgeshire District Council, in February 2022 alerted her members to this loss of support. She concluded that discussions with civil servants had indicated the government did not wish to see the Arc as a project driven by central government. “Ministers believe that while they support the continuation of the project, it should be locally led, focussing on things local leaders believe are pri orities.” The Leader of the council stated afterwards. “The implications from Gove is that they want us local council leaders to take it forward – but we have no money or power.”

Challenges for a spatial framework

In an era of localism, a Government led spatial framework for the region was going to be challenging but research commis sioned in 2016 by the National Infrastructure Commission, demonstrated that local councils lack the resources and some of the powers necessary to address strategic matters. The consultants SQW and Cambridge Econometrics looked at case studies of other economic clusters in the UK and around the world, and concluded:

1 Scale and connectivity are important in developing special ist labour markets which support the growth of knowledge –intensive companies.

2 The scale and quality of research and business activity in the OxCam Arc is “huge” but the area is currently very dis jointed compared with international comparators.

3 Governance is critical in relation to the scale and pattern of growth; and

4 It would be folly to assume that long term economic growth can only be incremental (and therefore reasonably predictable), in both geography and composition.

Two questions to answer

Two questions I would put to the government and Conservative Party.

• The first is why the continuing suspicion of regional planning and particularly the New Towns movement? A worker in Blackburn takes five days to produce what it takes someone in Milton Keynes just three. The new town is ranked third by gross value added per worker for its contribution to the national economy. This and the other new towns have been an undoubted economic success for this country.

• The second is can a political party whose core support is amongst home owners deny that ambition to a new genera

tion? That is presently the likely outcome of its refusal to press on with radical planning and housing reform. It is the political equivalent of regicide and on current performance not an exaggeration. As The Times recently questioned “ No country for young people “ What is to be done?

Ambitions for the Arc

In February 2021 the government published a policy paper setting out its ambition for the Arc. This is to build a better economic, social and environmental future for the area. High quality, well – connected and sustainable communities would make the Arc an even more beautiful place to live, work and visit. To achieve this ambition, the government alongside local partners undertook to:

• Develop a Spatial Framework for the Arc.

• Explore the creation of an Arc Growth Board.

• Examine the case for new and/or expanded settlements.

A Spatial Framework for the Arc

Subsequently in July 2021 a consultation document Creating a Vision for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc was published. Consultation closed the following October. The document expanded on the ambition and was specific about the econo my. A priority was sustainable economic growth. The area already has a booming and varied economy that contributes to national prosperity. The Spatial Framework would be an opportunity to make future development much more sus tainable and respond to doubts as to whether high environ mental ambitions can be delivered. A time line was included which showed publication of the draft Spatial Framework by Autumn 2022.

As is customary now the document bordered on the ver bose in declaring a wealth of laudable ambitions, but was strangely silent on any specific spatial advice. A plan showing flooding and selected utility infrastructure in the Arc today was included. This shows particularly the Flood Zone 3 areas, which are the areas most likely to flood. As the Arc is the catchment area for a large number of rivers draining in all directions, this plan is a good indicator as to where new devel opment might be encouraged. So far, only the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) in its report published in 2017, has been specific about development opportunities. It advised that any programme should consider opportunities that may exist to:

• Enable new settlements and major urban expansions- for example, between Oxford and Milton Keynes, and between Bedford and Cambridge- some of which may have the poten tial to grow to city – scale; and

• Support the ongoing growth of existing towns and cities- for example, re-establishing Milton Keynes as a growth location

60 Planning in London


Source: Flood map for planning, data summarised from published Water Cycle Studies and Water Quality Assessments for Local Planning Authorities across the Arc, National Grid Flooding and selected utili ties infrastructure in the Arc today. Source HM Government Creating a vision for the OxfordCambridge Arc Consultation July 2021. Crown Copyright 2021 Open Government Licence v3.0

of national significance; unlocking growth in and around Bedford, and focusing development on a small number of key nodes in the Marston Vale.

Loss of impetus

Since the NIC report was published in 2017, there appears to have been a loss of impetus. There is a real danger that the opportunity posed by the Arc will be lost in a fog of obfusca tion and buck passing. We need to rediscover the confidence and conviction that delivered Milton Keynes and the other new towns of that generation. Writing to the Milton Keynes Development Corporation in May 1971, on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Environment, the senior civil servant concluded “The criticisms which have been made of the Master Plan are minor in relation to the overall conception of a New Town of a quarter of a million people. The decision to build the New Town was taken four years ago in 1967 when the Designation Order was made. The needs which led to this decision clearly remain.” Would we had such determination now.

Locally - Led New Town Development Corporations

More than 50 years after that iconic era, how to square the cir cle when central government declines to take the lead and local government complains of a lack of authority and resource. Let`s take stock. The New Towns programme deliv ered 32 New Towns that today provide homes for 2.5 million

people. The legislation that enabled this remarkable perfor mance is still on the statue books. The Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 introduced a significant modification to this legislation allowing local authorities to create locally – led New Town Development Corporations. Subsequently govern ment published the New Towns Act 1981 (Local Authorities Oversight) Regulations in 2018.This sets out how government expects the process of setting up a locally - led new town development corporation (LLNTDC) to work. Nine stages are identified. The first is that the local authority (or authorities) explore options, build the evidence base, conduct consultation and encourage public participation, and develop the new town proposals. Then an application to the Secretary of State, which will allow government to assess the application, pursue further consultation and come to a decision. If that is favourable, there would follow the parliamentary process, where approval would be needed by both Houses, leading to the establishment of the locally led New Town Development Corporation and the appointment of an Oversight Authority.

There remain many questions. The Local Government Association has raised concerns about the size of the borrowing cap for local authorities, (some £100 million), the compulsory purchase order powers and ease of use, as well as the need for government capacity support. The new regulations represents a huge step forward and deal with one of the persistent criticisms of the original New Towns programme. This was that it was centrally directed from Whitehall with minimal local gover Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022


Bogdanor, V. (2022) A fine begin ning: Levelling Up. London The Spectator 18th June 2022 pp 4-5. Haynes, B. (2022) What a debArc-le The fall of the Ox Cam Arc, London, Lichfields Planning Matters, 2nd March.

Local Government Association (2017) LGA Submission: The New Towns Act 1981 (Local Authority Oversight) Regulations Consultation London, LGA, 21st December.

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (2021) Planning for Sustainable Growth in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, An Introduction to the Oxford –Cambridge Arc Spatial Framework, London, MHLG, 18th February.

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (2021) Policy Paper Oxford – Cambridge Arc, London, MHLG, 18th February.

National Infrastructure Commission (2017) Partnering for Prosperity: A New Deal for the Cambridge- Milton KeynesOxford Arc, London, NIC, November.

Watts, L. (2022) Oxford Cambridge - Arc-Update, Cambridge, South Cambridgeshire Council, 22nd February.

Dr Nigel Moor began his career in London with the Covent Garden Planning Team and since been active in local politics. His new book England`s Future - the impact of politics on shaping the environment – is to be published by The Book Guild on October28th. You can read extracts at

nance. When Planning Minister Lewis Silkin first arrived in Stevenage New Town in 1946, the railway station sign had been altered to read “Silkingrad”, such was the initial resis tance, and the perception that this was the work of a totalitar ian state. The publication of the draft Spatial Framework for the Oxford- Cambridge Arc, presents the local authorities an opportunity, utilising the new regulations, to at last realise the potential evident for so long.

A new Government and a new Agenda

The news that local authorities in Oxfordshire have ended their work on creating a joint plan for the county to 2050, because they could not agree on an approach for planning for future housing needs, demonstrates the need for a centrally

driven strategy. Relying on local plans and a vague commit ment to co-operate is no substitute for strategic planning that will address housing needs and infrastructure shortfalls.

Pledges made during last summer’s leadership campaign to kick-start a failing British economy will amount to nothing more than empty rhetoric if this opportunity is lost. The Truss Government needs a new agenda. Support for the OxfordCambridge Arc would show that it is serious about a change of direction. n


Milton Keynes: One of a host of New Towns announced by the Labour Government in the 1960’s. Copyright (1977) Osborn,F.J. & Whittick,A. London Leonard Hill.

62 Planning in London

An end to the war on the suburbs?

Announced with considerable fanfare in 2018, and becoming formal planning policy the following year, Croydon’s Suburban Design Guide SPD was London’s first—and, even now, most ambitious—attempt at encouraging London’s woefully sparse outer areas to do more to meet the city’s housing needs.

The publication made no bones about its intentions: “The evo lution of the suburbs to provide homes that will meet the needs of a growing population”, the introduction to the SPD stated. It went on: “It must however be recognised that delivering approxi mately 10,000 homes in the suburban places of Croydon will result in an evolution of the existing character of suburban streets and that the increased density of homes can impact on the amenity of existing residents if not properly managed.”

The guide was rightly heralded as a progressive and practical attempt to deliver new homes in those places best able to accom modate them, and it was quickly celebrated as an exemplar for how to sustainably densify the city’s fringes. Croydon’s in-house Spatial Planning Team took home a Planning Award in 2019 and the guide was Highly Commended at the New London Awards the same year. (From a personal point of view, it was an important ref erence for our own Small Sites SPD in Lewisham, which was adopted by the council a year ago this month).

However, just three years on, Croydon’s Design Guide is no more. In May Croydon elected its first Mayor who had, in the runup to the election, promised voters that one of his first acts would be to revoke the “dreaded” SPD which he claimed has “destroyed” Croydon’s character and led to the “destruction” of homes—a peculiar claim given the huge number of dwellings it had in fact enabled in a relatively short time.

The SPD had been produced in response to Sadiq Khan’s London Plan, which was first published in draft in 2017 but not formally adopted until March 2021. The Plan enshrined the need for the boroughs to consider the importance of small sites in meeting London’s housing needs. For the first time, every London planning authority was tasked with finding ways to encourage development on sites with a total area of less than a quarter of a hectare (roughly the third of a standard football pitch), with a tenyear small-site housing target set out in unequivocal terms.

Not only was this to be a way of delivering much-needed homes, but the Plan also acknowledged the importance of nudg ing small-scale developers back to a market that had become dominated by a handful of volume housebuilders since the 2008 financial crash.

Inevitably, the Plan’s publication was met with hyperbolic out cry: a “war on the suburbs” is how Conservative GLA member Andrew Boff described the proposals, oddly failing to recognise that small-scale infill development tends to deliver a higher pro portion of family homes than small flats; another bête noire of his.

After a robust challenge from several outer-London boroughs, Sadiq Khan was forced to dramatically reduce the small sites


housing targets and blunt the "presumption in favour” that the Plan had demanded. While the earlier draft version required Croydon Council to deliver the highest absolute number of homes on small sites of any of the London planning authorities, it was then subject to the greatest net reduction, with its ten-year target reducing from 15,110 to 6,410 - a drop of nearly 60%.

Croydon is one of London’s least dense boroughs, even when its 2,300 hectares of green belt and Metropolitan Open Land are excluded from the calculation. At 65 people per hectare, it has around a third the population density of Islington. Its number of homes per hectare is broadly the same as other similarly sized outer boroughs, such as Barnet and Kingston. And, like those bor oughs, it clearly can accommodate many more.

In its defence, Croydon has delivered a lot of new homes in the last decade and a half—more than any other borough—so it’s perhaps fair to argue that the council had indeed “played its part” in meeting the city's housing need. Yet the figures are misleading. Much of Croydon’s new development is concentrated in the urban centre, where clusters of tall residential towers have sprung up around East Croydon station in easy reach of central London. This is good. Less good, however, is the quality of much of this new housing. Until halted by the implementation of an Article 4 Direction, more new dwellings were created under dubious Permitted Development Rights (that allow commercial buildings to be cheaply converted to residential outside conventional plan ning permission) in Croydon than any other London borough— not a statistic to be proud of given the sub-standard quality and small size of many of them.

at RCKa architects
We should mourn the passing of Croydon’s Suburban Design Guide, says Russell Curtis


Peter Barber Architects exemplifying high quality and enjoyable design that enhances the character of the local area without replicating the exisitng pattern, scale, form or materials of the context.

(Photo: Morley von Sternberg)

Until the introduction of the Suburban Design Guide, the leafier southern wards had gotten away without making much of a contribution.

Aware of the inherently risky nature of small sites, and that developers interested in taking them on are less able to absorb the cost of delayed or unpredictable planning decisions, the design guide presented a series of suburban intensification methods which, if employed, were highly likely to be nodded through. The acquisition of a pair of suburban semis - of which Croydon has many thousands - could easily lead to their replace ment with a small block of flats at the front of the plot and mews houses in the rear garden. In this scenario, there could be a net gain of up to ten homes with no loss of family housing. The guide demanded that new development be no lower than three storeys—a not unreasonable request if we are to have any hope of densifying London’s laughably sparse peripheral areas.

Of course, this would inevitably mean that some areas of the borough would experience some change, but this is a small price to pay for living in this great city. There would be benefits too.

As the guide’s introduction made clear, higher housing densi ty inevitably attracts local amenities and better social infrastruc ture (shops, restaurants, schools, healthcare and community facilities) that might actually mean suburbanites wouldn't need to hop into their giant SUVs quite so often.

It’s no surprise that those areas most resistant to the princi ple of intensification tend to lie on the city’s fringes, and often consider themselves to be residents of the home counties rather

than London. The green belt itself is often declared as an unnec essary and anachronistic constraint on the capital's growth, and while there is some truth in this, we should start by turning our attention inwards a little: it is the sparsely populated “greyfields” of outer London that we need to tackle first. The citizens of the suburbs must accept that the evolution of local character is a small price to pay for easy access to everything this wonderful city has to offer—and that it is also their duty to enable others to do the same.

Croydon’s Suburban Design Guide was a valiant and progres sive attempt to achieve this. We should mourn its passing. n

64 Planning in London
CROYDON’S SUBURBAN DESIGN GUIDE | RUSSELL CURTIS >>> 1.2 WHAT IS COVERED BY THIS GUIDANCE ? SUBURBAN RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT AREA OF FOCUSSED INTENSIFICATION RESIDENTIAL EXTENSIONS AND ALTERATIONS Residential development proposals, generally under 25 homes XX Mixed-use proposals, including those that would deliver more than 25 homes X Not generally located in the Croydon Metropolitan Centre and District Centres* XX Anywhere in the borough X *In these areas there is greater scope for development than allowed for in this guide. THIS GUIDANCE IS BROKEN DOWN INTO THREE SECTIONS: 1. Suburban Residential Development 2. Areas of Focussed Intensifcation 3. Residential Extensions and Alterations. The table below shows where the guidance is applicable.

Figure 2.10c: Where surrounding buildings are predominantly detached dwellings of two (2) or more storeys, new developments may be three (3) storeys with an additional foor contained within the roof space or set back from the building envelope below.


A development of flats designed by Alison Brooks Architects within an existing residential street (Photo: Paul Riddle)

Figure 2.10d: Where surrounding buildings are predominantly single storey, new development should seek to accommodate a third storey within the roof space.

Figure 2.10e: Where surrounding buildings are semi-detached homes in a planned estate, new developments should seek to accommodate a full third storey partially contained within the roof space to ensure the characteristic scale of the buildings along the street is maintained.

Figure 2.10f: The addition of a third storey within terraced houses will only generally only be through accommodation within the roof. The acceptability of this will be based on the merit of design and the impact on street scene, given the consistent nature of continuous eaves and roof heights. A terraced house on a corner plot may seek to provide a full additional storey.


Overlooking distances concerning solely new development reflects the establish ment of a new condition associated with new residences, rather than a loss of exist ing amenity through a new development

New to existing 3rd party dwelling: 18m separation

New to new dwelling: 12m separation

New to host dwelling: 15m separation Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022

Metropolitan Workshop have been thinking critically about how innovative forms of suburban housing and neighbourhoods can enhance sociability and liveability since its inception in 2005. So they launched their practice-based research programme, selecting suburbia as their first theme writes Elanor Warwick

A new kind of suburbia: reflections for future practice and thinking

At Metropolitan Workshop, we have been thinking critically about how innovative forms of suburban housing and neigh bourhoods can enhance sociability and liveability since our inception in 2005. So, when we launched our practice-based research programme, selecting suburbia as our first research theme felt like a natural point of departure.

We cannot claim to be a successful society until better access to quality housing is available to all. Housing plays a cen tral role in providing equality of opportunity and is part of level ling the playing field for all aspects of life. However, the twenti eth century model of suburbia no longer serves the socio-eco nomic and cultural challenges confronting people, in terms of type, tenure and environmental impact. There is a need for A New Kind of Suburbia, one that better supports community and promotes new forms of tenure, is affordable, durable and provides for diversity.

The thinking for our ongoing exploration - A New Kind of Suburbia (ANKoS)1 - builds on the legacy from leaders in the field, our friends and mentors; most notably David Prichard and our former mentor and colleague the late Sir Richard MacCormac. Lifelong interest in designing convivial housing from Milton Keynes to Brixton and their proposals for Sustainable Suburbia2 informed our response to the interplay between density and community evidenced in our competition winning dial-a-density proposal for the RIBA/ Wates 2013 ideas competition3 and the subsequent development of our concept for the suburban Homestead.

Thoughtful responses to suburbia are in our DNA. Recent projects, including Oakfield in Swindon for the Nationwide Building Society, address what sociable, socially equitable mod els of suburbia might be like. There are a growing number of good examples of suburban housing models to learn from. But there are not enough of these to see the innovation required for suburbia to realise its full social potential. Now is the time to review and update the concept that the UK first invented.

Our A New Kind of Suburbia exhibition and event series launched in May 2019 and was attended by over 100 practi tioners, with many more members of the public visiting the exhibition during Clerkenwell Design Week and the London Festival of Architecture Studio Lates. Our initial thoughts and those of collaborators were captured within the accompanying Prospects #01 Paper including literature and case studies on suburbia with contributions by practitione, including Levitt Bernstein; ZCD Architects; Studio Partington; Sarah Wigglesworth Architects and Proctor Matthews Architects. Contributions by colleagues, included reflections on past and ongoing suburban projects and their formative experiences of


Exemplar projects on suburban development grounded provocations set within the paper and by practitioners during the exhibition launch, as well as stimulating questions from architects, developers, planners, community advocates and housing practitioners.

The resultant rich material (all available online) provided prompts for a collective conversation to draw out key themes and dig deeper into areas of consensus or conflict. A roundtable sought to develop a new thinking on suburban design, develop ment, construction and management practices, by capturing perspectives of contemporary practitioners in architecture, housing and community participation. The discussion aimed to enrich ours and others’ practice by generating productive trajec tories for practice development and ideas for design research. The resultant Reflections for Future Practice and Thinking4 con cludes on the challenges identified and provides an agenda for further exploration into the future design, development, con struction and use of suburban places.

A New Kind of Suburbia has also been reconsidered by our Dublin Studio for Ireland, demonstrating the transferability of the concepts and was launched in October 2019.

66 Planning in London
Dr. Elanor Warwick is Head of Strategic Policy and Research, Clarion Housing Group

Recommendations for Future Practice (and Research) for Suburban Development

The Takeaway5

Several recurrent themes emerged from the critical discussion that followed the ANKoS events. Some issues are more rele vant to remaking existing places, some impact the planning of new suburbs and some, common to both, require multiple solutions. We have drawn a series of questions for considera tion by practitioners who have spoken to us so thoughtfully and fondly about their suburban experiences and hopes for the future.

The recommendations recognise the historical drivers that shaped suburbia, and their changing function and context. They address six key areas; how future suburbs might look and feel, what are the most effective ways to move around them, what activities they need to contain, how socially interactive commu nities might be encouraged and perhaps most importantly, who

will engage in the decision-making and delivery of these new places?

1. Suburban Intensification

How will future suburbs be shaped?

New Designs should explore how a new suburban model can support incremental “gentle” intensification and integration of communal facilities. Collaboration with housing associations would provide a valuable means of testing assumptions against development and asset management practice. The ten characteristics for well-designed places described in DLUHC’s National Design Guidance6 maps directly across to the ambi tions described in the ANKoS report. Suburbia isn’t homoge neous, and more explorative work is needed to ensure the guidance and National Design Code7 is applied in ways that are varied and sensitive to suburban issues. Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022

2. Sustainable Transport

Finding better ways of moving in the suburbs.

Designers and development clients should work together to discuss upfront investment in alternative transport infrastruc ture (where scale permits). Designers should also collaborate with transport engineers on integrated alternative transport plans, exploring and anticipating expected shifts in transport usages and modes.

Nevertheless, in regions with poorer public transport net works, car use will remain a reality, so mitigating strategies such as better integration of car parking and charging points into the public realm, or future proofing conversion of current car park ing space for other communal activities will be required.

3. Inclusive Neighbourhoods

What you share, and who with?

There is social potential in the open, semi-public space offered by Metropolitan Workshop’s Homestead seen in established projects such as Abode at Great Kneighton, Derwenthorpe, York, or the new suburbs emerging at Barking Riverside or Trumpington and Waterbeach around Cambridge.

Yet, discussions revealed the challenges of avoiding pro hibitive costs associated with service charges and also the potential for existing mechanisms of community-led volun teering being a burden. Developing a flexible model for com munity-led management and maintenance of communal land, based on the notional activities offered by the Homestead (a cost per sqm of communal land as approxi mate capital cost and maintenance fee to be offset by volun teer contributions) would provide an indicative set of princi ples to be tested. Collaboration with a developing housing association or institutional investor could test these assump tions and refine the model against their practice expertise.

4. Responsive Typologies

Providing space for changing needs and activities.

Lower suburban land values used to imply an economic deci sion or trade-off between more space (particularly external space) against longer commutes. But increasing costs and intensification risk reducing this available suburban slack space. Changing expectations for household space will shift the incentive to move further afield for additional rooms and space. Familiar semi-detached, or detached typologies can be designed to suit more varied mixed households, intergenera tional living, co-living arrangements and work space8. During the design process actively testing internal layouts against the needs and aspirations of key life stages, with a specific focus on promoting health and well-being of the young, old and those with medical conditions offers resilience against different future scenarios. Improving housing adaptability

improves social and spatial justice as well as sustainability.

5. Choice and Diversity

Who gets a say in how suburbia is developed?

From the most-to-least planned places, increasing public engagement in design and planning has proven benefits for attractiveness and social sustainability. It is still worth explor ing the extent to which the suburbs are designed for or by their inhabitants to a directed vision or are left to organically evolve within a loose framework of agreed rules. These guide lines must extend beyond the aesthetic and range in scale from neighbourhood plans to local design codes.

6. The role of the builder

Who will be building suburbia and how?

An holistic approach to residential modelling will become more critical in the short term. As house prices rise, affordabil ity tightens, the number of households in the suburbs grow, and negative trends in social mobility, deprivation and pover ty are rapidly escalating, all challenging the long-term prospects of outer boroughs. Calls for a suburban renaissance covering these economic, sustainability and social issues are increasing and if suburbs are not to become a problem, we need to apply preventative design thinking, including proac tive responses to the climate emergency. Anticipating the energy performance and Net Zero emissions construction requirements of the Future Homes Standard, but also subur bia’s potential for low-impact lifestyles, design criteria can be developed for suburbs where it is easy and convenient to make sustainable choices.


68 Planning in London
1 2 3 petition/ 4 5 _takeaway_spreads 6 7 8 See papers in the special edition of Buildings and Cities Journal that explores changing trends in dwelling, particularly the new patterns of spatial and social cohabitation prompted by the COVID pandemic  https://journal-buildingsci A NEW KIND OF SUBURBIA | ELANOR WARWICK RIGHT: Suburban Intensification >>>
FAR LEFT: Sustainable Transport LEFT: Choice and Diversity BELOW: Inclusive Neighbourhoods Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022

Looking to submit a planning application? Your chances may be affected depending on where you live, according to new data. Genevieve Wong Truscott sets out the research

The hardest places to get planning permission

For the thousands of homeowners who decide to improve rather than move, planning permission can bring a varying degree of stress. Once the planning form is complete, you’re at the mercy of any objecting neighbours and the local coun cil. New insights from Simply Architects and the Department of Levelling up, Housing and Communities have revealed where in the UK you’re more likely to get a planning proposal approved, and which regions are the toughest places to get planning per mission.

Reviewing local government housing data from 2018 to 2021, the loft conversion specialists have ranked UK regions and towns based on the number of domestic dwelling planning appli cations submitted compared to the number granted.

Over 229,043 planning applications were submitted to local councils from 2018 to 2021, with an average success rate of 74%.

Wandsworth council received more planning applications (3,597) than any other local authority, and London topped the list with the most applications submitted over the four years reviewed (38,517), closely followed by the East of England (33,135).

For those looking to submit an application in the near future, London is currently the hardest region to get planning permis sion in with only 68% of applications being approved.

Homeowners in the North East can relax, as the region is cur rently the easiest place to secure planning permission according to the housing data, with just under 90% of applications approved during 2021.

Reviewing individual council data, Simply Architects found

that Wandsworth Council within London granted the most plan ning permission applications in 2021, with 91% of almost 900 requests being approved.

In contrast, Havering council, also in London approved only 40% of the 226 applications it received – the lowest success rate of any council in the UK.

To find out the approval rate in your area, Simply Architects have compiled the 2018-2021 data, highlighting the number of requests and success rates for every UK council and region HERE.

For those unlucky enough to live in stricter areas, Genevieve Truscott, Principle Architect at Simply Architects, has shared advice for submitting a successful planning application and the mistakes to avoid.

What affects a planning application decision?

If you live in a listed property, it will be subjected to much tighter restrictions of what would be allowed for extensions and alterations. A building may be listed due to its age, its rari ty, its aesthetic appeal of because it represents just a select few of its kind that are still standing.

The location of the property can also cause much tighter restrictions to be applied to a house. If a property is within a con servation area or an area of special interest it may be harder to get planning.

Immediate neighbours are also able to contest your proposal if they believe it will affect their property. Planners will take into consideration if there are any objections from your neighbours, so having support from those living next door to you is a great help in the application process.

Genevieve Wong Truscott is principal architect with Simply Architects

70 Planning in London
Regional Stats 2018-2021

Rates 2021

How can I improve my chances of submitting a successful application?

Going for a pre-application advice meeting with the planning department of your local authority will help you cater your application to your local council. Experts will advise you on how to propose your plans in a way that flatters the council.

You can also check the planning register of your Local Council if there are already precedent/similar projects that have been approved on the same/road/street/postcode. This will help you compare your plans to those that have been approved and denied.

The government also provide guidance on what rights house holders have to improve and extend without applying for planning

permission. The guidance explains the rules on permitted develop ment and explains how they are applied. Learning your rights will help you contest any unfair treatment. The document is available to read here.

Do I need planning permissions for all renovation work?

As long as your property is not in a conservation area or is a flat, you have permitted development rights. This means you can usually develop your loft space without needing to gain planning permission.

With planning permission, you are asking the council if your proposed scheme of works for your loft conversion is acceptable.

All data analysed as part of this research is available to view via the methodology

Simply Architects is part of the Simply Construction Group and as such comes with a wealth of expe rience gained from the residential construction industry. Simply Construction Group is a wellestablished construction firm operating for over ten years in London and the West Midlands and delivering hundreds of loft conversions and extension pro jects every year.

Their experience means they look at projects from a construction angle and not a traditional archi tectural point of view.

Through their team of architects and construction experts, they ensure that your final design is created with your building project budget in mind. This saves valu able time and money as our pro cess ensures we come up with architectural design you can actu ally afford to build. Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022 >>>
Regional Stats 2021 Highest Success

It is open to rejection by them and/or your neighbours and will have to follow the local development plan. With permitted devel opment rights, you are asking the council to simply confirm that your scheme fits within the permitted development criteria. The council will issue you a Lawful Development Certificate if they agree. Technically, you are not required to have the Lawful

Development Certificate in place before the work starts and, in fact, there is no law stating you have to have it. This means that clients who request it, are able to start their project without wait ing for the Lawful Development Certificate thus saving time. It is advisable to seek expert advice before assuming your project meets permitted development rights. n

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The Eastern City Business Improvement District is already hard at work to ensure we are helping to shape the future City of London, says Andrew Reynolds

A City for the future

Andrew Reynolds is Chair

Our new Prime Minister stood on the steps of 10 Downing Street last month and declared her confidence in the ability of the British people to ‘ride out of the storm’. Back in 2019, when the prospect of the Business Improvement District for the Eastern City part of the City of London was first mooted, it is fair to say the current headwinds were not predicted.

Three years later, the country has been battered by the COVID pandemic, the aftershocks of the UK’s exit from the European Union, and the cost-of-living crisis. In this economic climate, I believe the existence of the UK’s largest occupier BID is more vital than ever.

The EC BID formally ‘went live’ in April this year, following a successful ballot of our business community. Along with the newly established Fleet Street Quarter, which balloted its businesses at the same time, there are now four Business Improvement Districts across the Square Mile. A fifth BID, for the Culture Mile area, goes to ballot in the new year. Should the Culture Mile BID be success ful these five BIDs will be generating an aggregate BID levy income of around £9 million per year, with this investment sup porting projects and programmes identified by the local business communities as priorities.

We stand on the brink of a new era of public / private partner ship. The EC BID is investing more than £3.5m per year, and more over, is well placed to leverage additional investment working closely with our public-sector partners at the City of London Corporation. Our role is clear – this is not about the EC BID replac ing, duplicating the responsibilities of, or being a proxy for the City of London, or other public- sector bodies. The BID is an enabler –bringing the private sector together, helping businesses to coa lesce around shared goals and delivering on a desire to invest in and support the vibrancy of the EC area.

We know the collective will is strong. I chair a committed and motivated board, with many of the area’s leading businesses rep resented, including Lloyds, Freshfields, Aon, Aviva, Wells Fargo, and others, and we are busy delivering Year One of our first five-year term. Our ‘to do’ list is ambitious.

Alongside challenges, we also see there being significant opportunities. For centuries, the City has pioneered, adapted to change and stood proudly as a symbol of economic resilience. I have no doubt this will continue, with the BID at the forefront of shaping what the future Square Mile looks like.

New polling commissioned by the EC BID brings the changes we are facing sharply into focus. One of the biggest changes we are dealing with are the new working practices and the shift towards a more hybrid model of working. On average, City of London employees work from the office 2.82 days a week, which is higher than the UK average of 1.5 days a week identified in a recent study, but still significantly lower than pre-pandemic levels.

Wednesday has emerged as the day when City of London workers most like to be at their office desks, with 66% likely to be

present, followed by Tuesdays (59%) and Thursdays (48%). Perhaps unsurprisingly, Friday is the least popular weekday at 16%, with Monday chosen by 34%. These statistics make particu larly grim reading for our vital eco-system of businesses long established to support the army of workers previously flooding the Square Mile five days a week. These businesses play a big role in creating a vibrant and welcoming City.

As the City recovers, we must attract a wider demographic, and find new ways to support the changing City eco-system. The economy needs to adapt and new opportunities must be max imised. The City of London’s new ‘Destination City’ proposition reflects this need, with the City Corporation putting £2.5m annu ally behind the campaign to boost the City’s leisure offer. The first major event takes place next month, with the City’s BIDs support ing, galvanising our local business communities, and showcasing the world-class destinations and venues the EC area is home to, from the historic Leadenhall Market to cloud-high dining at The Sky Garden.

The City has significant assets which will help make the Destination City aspirations a success, and the EC BID will abso lutely play its part. But we must also consider the factors that might hinder the evolution of the City towards a 24/7 destination. Transport is a key area to be tackled – and our poll pointed to some of the issues. The ease of their commute came out top when City of London workers were asked what would make them work from the office more (55%). Similarly, when asked what would encourage City of London workers to come into central London more over the weekend, reducing the cost of transport was the single biggest ask (46%). Alongside this, when we asked City workers what issue is concerning them most in the context of the cost-of-living crisis, the cost of the commute ranked second (only behind the cost of heating).

The recent ‘hard won’ £1.2bn funding settlement for TfL has already been described by the Mayor of London as ‘far from ideal’ with a £740m funding gap remaining, and Sadiq Khan has already warned of likely fare increases. Just as the cost-of-living crisis starts to bite, now is not the time to start charging Londoners more to get into their place of work or night-out destination. Both sides – the government and the Mayor/TfL must co-operate bet ter and agree solutions which would spare passengers financial pain, eliminate the funding gap and remove the need for service reductions.

A creative and flexible approach to fares, perhaps with peak and off-peak options which would widen choice for passengers, should be considered, alongside ambitious brand partnerships and better use of some TfL property assets. As advocates for our busi ness community and for ensuring the EC area evolves as the preeminent global business district, we must be at the forefront of new thinking, developing innovative new concepts for the private sector and posing policy solutions for the Government.

the Eastern City BID
EASTERN CITY BID | ANDREW REYNOLDS Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022

Addressing long-standing issues in our area is a key focus for us. Tackling projects previously put in the ‘too difficult’ box, the EC BID is exploring how to unlock transformational projects which will dramatically improve the experience of moving around the area. Before the ballot we commissioned an Asset Audit which identified several priority projects, including a visionary transfor mation scheme for the Eastcheap and Gracechurch Street junc tion, which is a significant waypoint on the pedestrian route into the area from London Bridge. Now we are established as a BID, we are pushing forward with this important workstream, working with our business community and the City of London Corporation.

This commitment to innovation runs through all our work. Our business community identified public realm and enhancing the local environment as being among their top priorities for the new BID, with more than 70% saying they wanted to see more green space and greening projects in our pre-ballot survey, alongside showing leadership on the drive to Net Zero. Our first new inter ventions will soon be seen on the streets: green infrastructure and seating will be placed across the area, constructed using sustain able materials with a lower carbon impact. A pilot project is set to launch this autumn, which will see the distinctive new seating placed in a key location – and this is just the start.

I was not surprised that the sustainability agenda came out so strongly in our survey. Just as the City has been at the heart of the global financial services innovation for decades, companies in our footprint are now playing an important role in driving the ESG agenda across the financial sectors. For us in the EC area, defining and delivering tangible impacts around the ‘S’ part of this agenda,

is vital. The BID has the mandate and the resources to help embed the agenda alongside growth and enterprise - encouraging new ideas, greater collaboration, sharing success and attracting new occupiers. Our aim is to create a more sustainable, agile City with a greater sense of social purpose. Economically resilient, of course, and demonstrating compassion and empathy too.

From buddy networks to wellbeing and yoga classes, promot ing night safety to championing greater diversity in the workplace, supporting the vulnerable in our community and mentoring young people from some of London’s more deprived neighbour hoods, our work in this area is varied and focused on delivering meaningful change and is a part of our overall offer that I am par ticularly proud of.

These are serious times - for the City, for London and for the UK, and while the City is resilient we must not rest on our laurels. ONS figures released in the summer showed that London’s econ omy is the best- performing in the UK, registering the strongest recovery in the first quarter and the lowest impact from the coro navirus pandemic. That said, London is the UK’s only globally com petitive City, so how we are faring compared to New York, Paris and Singapore is the real test. As a BID, our outlook must therefore be global – with ambitions and outputs to match.

The prospect of the new PM easing regulation in the City is being welcomed by many, but whatever policy changes come down the line, the EC BID is already hard at work to ensure we are helping to shape the future City of London we all want to see –the worker, the visitor, the resident, the investor. Individually, London’s businesses have made the capital the global city it is today: collectively, we can make it even stronger. n

74 Planning in London
EASTERN CITY BID | ANDREW REYNOLDS RIFGHT: View of the City projected for 2026 >>>

Juliemma McLoughlin spoke to the Architects’ livery company a few weeks ago

The City is buzzing again

Juliemma McLoughlin is Executive Director Environment, City of London Corporation

I am going to talk to you about how I think the City is going about the business of building well for the future. I am going to share some examples of what my department is doing right now to build a great framework in readiness for the challenges ahead but also about some of the innovative thinking and pro grammes we are delivering to make a difference.

First off, I wanted to capture some significant stats on the here and now to provide some context for the future.

The latest City activity. Essentially, footfall is some 2/3rd of pre-pandemic levels rising from 1/3rd from January; Underground activity has risen from 25 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in January around 70 per cent today.

The City is outperforming New York and Hong Kong on all metrics.

Schemes granted by the Planning and Transportation Committee in 2021 delivered:

• 423 000sqm of flexible office floorspace including affordable workspace

• 8,400 sqm flexible retail space

• 7,000 sqm community, skills, training, education, and cultural spaces

• 2 re-located, re-imagined and enhanced public houses

• 7 new pedestrian public routes through sites focussing on City landmarks and improving pedestrian permeability and connec tivity

• All schemes resulted in an increase in the extent of ground floor public realm over the existing

• three free to visit elevated public roof terraces, roof gardens and viewing galleries, open 7 days a week

• Over 7,000 long and short stay cycle parking spaces

• All major schemes using off site consolidation and no morn ing, lunchtime, or evening peak hours vehicular deliveries

• The majority of schemes targeting BREEAM “Outstanding”; all others BREEAM “excellent”

• Sensitive restoration of four listed buildings including public access and heritage interpretation

34 major developments were granted permission last year and contributed over £148 million under S106 and CIL including:

• £11.4 million to affordable housing

• £8.8 million in carbon offsetting

• £3.6 million to local skills and job brokerage

• £1.5 million to street and public realm enhancements

• £1.6 million to security improvements

• £500,000 in cycle improvements and cycle hire

• £41 million to the City’s Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

• £77 million to the Mayoral CIL

The City is still busy building, but it has faced countless chal

lenges in the past and has always emerged as a global destination of choice, so it is right that we think about these unprecedented times and how they have reshaped what our audiences want.

I have been in the role of Executive Director Environment for only 10 months and so far, it has been quite a ride. You need good foundations to build well so my immediate challenge was to bring together three big department into one to create the Environment Department

The new Environment Department brings together the Department of the Built Environment, Open Spaces and Port Health and Public Protection to create the largest department in the organisation with over 850 members of staff based at 25 different locations within the Square mile, London and beyond.

The Environment Department is now a more responsive and coordinated set of front-line services, providing an improved cus tomer journey and more streamlined functions, so we have our good foundations in readiness to face the challenges ahead of us.

Today, we face hard generational challenges without easy solu tions, but crucially, we also have a generational opportunity to redefine our City and safeguard the future for years to come.

For the rest of my time with you, I am going to take you though some of the work we are doing on the City Plan, our key strategies, and the innovative work we are doing on things like Heat and Wind mapping and Air Quality. I will then show you some of the things we are doing to make sure we weather the next storm and are more resilient and also how City initiatives are taking a leading role in making us ready for the future.

The Planning Teams have begun working on a new City Plan that needs to have innovation and climate change at its heart. There are no easy answers in London anymore, so the plan needs to work hard to address recovery, health inequality across the City and work with colleagues and partners to tackle the wider causes of poor health by substantially improving the City’s air quality, promoting the recreational benefits of a healthy lifestyle, and ensuring inclusive access to good quality open spaces and recre >>>

“London is getting its buzz back which is part of its appeal and as workers return in larger numbers every week, the feeling of connectivity is strengthened”

ational opportunities. We will look at thermal comfort, wind effects, radiated light, and produce guidance notes to make clear what public benefits means and looks like in the Square Mile.

We also need to re-set our City Plan and strategies to deal with the challenges the pandemic has left behind and shape our services to deal with the changing needs of the City’s diverse communities.

The City Corporation consulted on a draft City Plan between March and May 2021: 1,400 comments have been received, many supportive, but objections and concerns on:

• Tall building locations

• Impact of the pandemic on office and retail demand

• Priority for Net Zero to reflect City’s Climate Action Strategy

• Exploring any potential for further supply of housing

• Need for the Plan to address health and inclusivity in more holistic way

There is an enhanced focus on improving our engagement with all stakeholders (including residents, businesses, and devel opers) and we will be proposing changes to our Statement of Community Involvement to enhance engagement in consulting on schemes, policies and strategies. We have also set up a dedi cated Partnership and Engagement team to co-ordinate such engagement. This will include engagement with the Business Improvement Districts which have become a significant dynamic in the City.

City Plan consultation aligns with principles set out in the City’s Statement of Community Involvement (SCI).

The current SCI dates from 2016 but is being updated and will be consulted on in the autumn.

Consultation will ask stakeholders how they want to be con sulted on planning matters and will cover issues such as:

• Format of consultation - in person meetings/seminars?

• Use of digital technology

• Use of social media

• Ambition to be inclusive and at leading edge in consultation procedures

• Plan is being refined to reflect issues raised at consultation

• Greater emphasis on inclusivity and accessibility

• Greater emphasis on climate change

• Working patterns – through business focus group & liaison with representative bodies, looking at:

o Change in working patterns/hybrid/remote

o Flight to quality buildings and locations

• Aim for draft Plan for consultation spring 2023

• Public examination late 2023

• Adoption mid 2024

The transport plan is being updated at the same time as the City Plan so both documents will come forward together.

Our Transport Strategy sets out how we propose to design

and manage the City’s streets over the next 25 years to ensure the Square Mile remains a great place to live, work, study, and visit.

Our vision

We want our streets to inspire – for the City to be known as a place with high quality public realm and innovative approach es to creating more people friendly streets. This can play a part in helping to attract investment, talent, and visitors.

We also want the day-to-day experience of using our streets to be as enjoyable as possible – the walk from tube to desk, for example, should be a great street.

We want to capitalise on our world class connections –recently boosted by the opening of the Elizabeth line.

And we want the City to be accessible to all; our streets and transport networks must be inclusive environments where everyone feels comfortable and confident travelling.

To achieve this vision, the Strategy includes ambitious pro posals to:

• Prioritise the needs of people walking, make streets more accessible and deliver world-class public realm

• Make the most efficient and effective use of street space by significantly reducing motor traffic, including the number of delivery and servicing vehicles in the Square Mile

• Eliminate death and serious injuries from our streets through measures to deliver safer streets and reduce speeds

• Enable more people to choose to cycle by making conditions for cycling in the Square Mile safer and more pleasant

• Improve air quality and reduce noise by encouraging and enabling the switch to zero emission capable vehicles

These proposals are as important now as they were when the Strategy was adopted in 2019.

High quality streets and public spaces are a key part of the City’s offer to residents, workers, businesses, and visitors. We must move quickly to deliver a healthier and more inclusive envi ronment for all.

The first phase of the Pedestrian Priority Programme is focused on retaining some of the temporary changes delivered through our Covid-19 response. This has the potential to acceler ate delivery of both the Transport Strategy and our Climate Action Strategy.

Experimental traffic orders are currently in place on Cheapside, Threadneedle Street, Old Broad Street, Kings Street, King William Street and Old Jewry. Chancery Lane will follow shortly. The measures are being retained on an experimental basis in the first instance, providing the opportunity for consulta tion and monitoring prior to making any permanent changes.

We expect to begin construction of the All Change at Bank project in the autumn. This will further improve the experience of walking around Bank junction by closing some arms of the junc

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tion to motor traffic, widening pavements, and reducing the width of crossings.

The project will also create a number of new public spaces at the heart of the City.

We will soon consult on the potential to introduce a perma nent zero emission street on Beech Street, building on the experi mental scheme, shown here, which concluded in September last year.

Restricting use of the street to zero emission capable vehicles only led to a significant improvement in air quality. These kinds of restrictions help encourage the adoption of zero emission vehicles, but we must also enable the switch by providing charging infras tructure.

I am pleased to say that the final checks on our rapid charging hub in Baynard House car park are underway. The hub, which has six rapid chargers and capacity for a further four, is due to open imminently.

Cleaner vehicles are part of the answer but overall, we want to see a reduction in the number of motor vehicles – of all types –using our streets.

Our aim is a 50 per cent reduction by 2044, which would repli cate the reduction that has happened over the last 20 years. Shown in the bottom line on this graph.

You will see that drops in traffic have tended to coincide with major policy interventions, such as the introduction of the conges tion charge, or global events such as the global recession in 2008.

It remains to be seen what the long-term impact of the pan demic will be on traffic levels, but we expect to see a sustained drop as we have previously.

You will also note on this graph the very significant growth in people cycling over the same time period. Something we are keen to continue by making our streets safer and more attractive places

to cycle, allowing more people to choose this great mode of trans port. We will also continue to expand cycle parking across the City both on-street and in new developments.

New technologies might also play a key role in reducing the use of cars and taxis for travel. We are participating in the London E-scooter Hire Trial and have worked closely with TfL and London Councils to ensure the safe and appropriate use of hired e-scoot ers in the Square Mile.

The City’s streets not only provide the backdrop to everyday life in the City but can also provide a great space for events that bring fun and playfulness.

A more active role in curating activations and placemaking is something we know we need to do to support the City’s ongoing recovery.

I am looking forward to working with the City’s BIDs and oth ers to support the use of streets as part of the Square Mile’s wider cultural and leisure offer to residents, workers, and visitors. More on BIDs later.

Moving on to our innovative City Lighting Strategy which pro vides full and flexible control of the LED fittings.

The Strategy looks at a shift of thinking in celebrating and bal ancing of light and darkness.

Brightest is not necessarily the best, and thanks to remotely operated lighting which complements the look of historic build ings, we can provide the right light in the right place and at the right time, improving energy usage and helping to tackle light pol lution.

This also allows us to improve the environmental impact of light, health & wellbeing, and to protect wildlife – without com promising safety and security.

The strategy looks at lighting qualities: intensity, colour, scale, darkness, verticality, and balance. It also provides key recommen >>> Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022

dations regarding technical, functional, and environmental requirements

The strategy proposes an approach based on Character Areas:

The City is made up of a series of character areas, each with distinct attributes which contributes to the experience of being in the City. The Strategy therefore aims to accentuate and cele brate the unique qualities of each area in maintaining some dis tinction after dark. This is to help avoid homogeneity and enhance people’s experience of the public realm at night.

The Strategy has identified 12 character areas and here is the example of Culture Mile.

Led by the City of London Corporation, Culture Mile is a learning destination and cultural district that stretches from Farringdon to Moorgate.

Culture Mile is working with a range of local businesses and communities to create a vibrant area in the north west corner of the Square Mile and an area where we want to celebrate the rich history and architecture, as well as support the night-time econ omy and working activities (the Smithfield Meat Market) on a day-to-day basis.

And have the possibility to organise “Special Event Lighting” to make the area more welcoming, support the City recovery post pandemic and the objectives of Destination City.

The City has been delivering many innovative lighting pro jects including Illuminated River and has recently announced that it is looking at replacing the 25 year old current lighting sys tem of St Paul’s Cathedral with a new energy efficient LED scheme. (The City has looked after the external Lighting of St Paul’s since 1966).

The new lighting scheme will enhance the Cathedral’s nighttime appearance and has the potential to deliver a 68 per cent reduction in annual energy and maintenance costs and a 66 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions. The design delivers objectives of the City Lighting Strategy and the Climate Action Strategy.

We have secured some funding for the relighting of St Paul’s Cathedral – further external sponsorship is still to be sorted.

Complementing the Local Plan and its guidance notes, the City Corporation’s Climate Action Strategy was adopted in

October 2020 with some tough goals to achieve.

• Net zero by 2027 in the City Corporation’s operations

• Net zero by 2040 across the City Corporation’s full value chain

• Net zero by 2040 in the Square Mile

• Climate resilience in our buildings, public spaces, and infras tructure

Our strategy pushes the boundaries with stretching targets for carbon emission reduction but also preparing the City for the climate risks we are facing from hotter drier summers, warmer wetter winters, more frequent extreme weather events and sea level rise.

We have identified six main risks: flooding, overheating, new and emerging pests & diseases, water stress, biodiversity loss and disruption to food trade and infrastructure. The outer ring of this risks wheel shows some of the issues we need to address through our architecture and public realm.

I outline some of the work we have progressed to address these climate risks. Firstly, our Riverside Strategy provides a framework to ensure that the City remains safe from sea level rise. The flood defences along the riverside will need to be raised by up to one metre later this century. This has obvious implica tions for riverside developments which architects need to address in their designs.

The riverside strategy will require flood defence raising to be phased in over the coming decades as developments come for ward or repairs are needed to existing flood defences. Integration of key benefits such as biodiversity enhancement and accessibili ty will be key to successful evolution of the riverside to address climate risks

We are working with a variety of academic and commercial partners to install a network of sensors to help us monitor the overall impact of climate change in the Square Mile and to evalu ate the interventions we are piloting. As far as possible this data will be open source so that others can benefit from our findings

Even before our Climate Action Strategy, the City was carry ing out internationally ground-breaking work using complex algorithms and data sets to enhance our understanding of the

78 Planning in London

microclimatic qualities, resilience, and comfort of our public spaces.

Our work on Thermal Comfort combined data sets on climate and microclimate to gain a holistic overview in the “real feel” and comfort of the City’s public realm throughout the day, months, and season to inform planning decisions and policies. In particular we are keen to better understand which parts of the City are likely to experience heat stress during the projected hotter summers due to climate change.

The data sets we have merged are sun to ground, temperature and humidity by season using climate models. The other key data set is wind as shown here, which, although unwelcomed during the winter months resulting in cold stress conditions is a wel comed ally in addressing heat stress. You can see how wind condi tions in the City overall is fairly tranquil, but the City cluster area of tall buildings is windier

The heat stress map on a hot summer’s day from 2020. This excludes tree cover, so we are able to understand the baseline conditions.

There are significant heat stress areas, but you will also see that the City cluster area is more comfortable on hot days as a result of the wind conditions you saw in the earlier slide as well as the shading impact of the tall buildings

The forecasted 2080 heat stress map reflects the projected global temperature rise in London. The heat stress areas are more pronounced, but again, the City cluster presents a shadier and breezier area in the hot summer months. This understanding allows us to develop a tree planting strategy and other shading and cooling initiatives.

We are also working with the British Geological Survey on our Cubic Mile below ground mapping project which will help us to identify where there are opportunities for climate resilience mea sures such as Sustainable Drainage (SuDS), tree planting and cool spaces for refuge from increasing summer temperatures. These projects will assist the City in evolving strategies to ensure our public realm is resilient to Climate change.

The new Environment Department brought Gardens and Cleansing together in a merger that enables identification of com

mon issues around:

• Maximising resources

• Addressing anti-social behaviour

• Fleet optimisation

• Contract management

• Maintenance of the street scene

• Utilisation of smart technology and data to report and resolve issues

• Identify “hotspots” of anti-social behaviour, streets and areas below standard, litter etc. to better adapt and flex resources

We have got some smart tech as well:

• Big belly bins let us know when they are full, push jobs direct ly to crews in-cab systems and are reported on using KPIs

• Mobile devices and platforms can be used to report issues which feed into business information software

This is particularly relevant in the current circumstances where we are moving away from Monday – Friday, 9-5 which created predictable patterns and rush hours.

Flexible working means that patterns are unpredictable, and we have to be able to better adapt resources to respond to peaks and troughs.

Having all teams under one operational umbrella means that issues can be addressed collaboratively.

For example, public realm improvement schemes can be designed with input from City Gardens on appropriate planting to consider climate adaption/mitigation as well as considerations for ongoing maintenance requirements.

Schemes can also be looked at to prevent careful littering, ensure cleansing can be carried out using existing types of equip ment and schedules, and the equipment used does not damage materials.

The teams can also continue with educating residents through different avenues.

There is still a place for face-to-face engagement – we host tech take back events where residents and workers can drop off old electrical equipment which can be handled safely, securely wiped and donated to charity.

Give and take days where residents can donate and collect any Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022

unused items. These events have proved extremely popular and provide a valuable touchpoint with communities.

We will also step up a gear when we talk with businesses to promote best practice. Some of the biggest blue-chip companies in the world have their head offices in the Square Mile, our CCAS rewards and shares examples of best practice in resource man agement, air quality, climate change etc. encouraging companies to compete against each other and push the envelope about what is possible.

The City as a place of business is more important than ever as a driver of the national economy so needs to be supported by City Corporation services that enable continual innovation and the development of new business areas, including in tech and creative sectors. New sectors will be a big focus, so we encourage use of B grade floor space with SMEs, creative and tech sectors who enjoy the quirkiness the city offers.

Four new BIDS with a possible fifth in the Autumn gives us a great opportunity to develop a strategic partnership to bring together senior representatives from the City Corporation and the BID levy paying community, representing a range of business sectors that fall within the footprint of the four City BIDs as well the CPA.

The BIDs Strategic group will help to provide direction for the future of the Square Mile, respond to local priorities and engage more effectively with local concerns and the wider stakeholder community. The partnership will promote collaboration and pro vide opportunities to steer the strategy and vision for the City of London.

The group will be an influencer, not an operational organisa tion. It will bring together a selected group of business members to work in partnership, identifying strategic city challenges that will benefit from collaboration, and prioritising them based on where the partnership can add most value. We can look at how we spend CiL and develop some priorities.

The deliverables and outcomes will, of course, need to focus on the BID themes.

We have had our first meeting of the City BIDs Strategic Partnership and agreed the Terms of Reference, so we are up and running with Keith Bottomley, Deputy Chairman of Policy, as Chair.

The City of London concession Wi-Fi and network design to support 5G The physical network has been designed with users’ different needs in mind, including the use of dark fibre. Our current pilot will confirm the design suitability and will deliver 5G in time to support smart city initiatives in the future.

It is important that we have minimal disruption for the City.

So, all parties (e.g. cabinet installation contractors, ancient monument archaeologists etc) will complete works in tandem,

making the most of the permits secured and reducing city dis ruption. The network design has factored in the future upgrades, or works that will be needed in the next decade, that can be car ried out in days rather than weeks or months.

Another important factor was the efficient use of the existing street assets so wherever possible the network uses existing sig nage, wireless or street lighting poles by multiple mobile network operators.


• Provide improved world leading wireless connectivity - WIFI, 4G & 5G coverage

• To ensure the Square Mile is amongst the first to adopt full 5G coverage

• Free CoL WIFI network deployed as part of the Concession agreement

• Installation of 5G network on Queen Victoria Street

Developing a Circular Economy Strategy to replace our existing Waste Strategy is also a key priority. Our current waste strategy mainly dealt with domestic waste which is a very small amount in comparison to the amount of commercial and construction waste generated in the City.

The new strategy will have a much broader scope and look at how we can firstly ensure that our own operations are being delivered utilising circular economy principles: through staff training and awareness raising, ensure staff are aware of what CE is, and get them to think how this can be applied in their areas

The Strategy will also look at how we can influence others Including developers through Circular Economy Statement feed back, encouraging the use of material passports and material exchanges.

Procurement through our supply chain– inserting CE clauses in contract specifications.

So, this first project case study is really nice. As part of the Thames Tideway tunnel project, there are a number of large out fall pipes being constructed, one of which is in the City at Blackfriars bridge, which involves the removal of several hundred granite blocks, up to a metre wide and weighing about a ton each - some of which are architecturally significant.

The team really wanted to find new uses, so we explored numerous avenues including cutting them up and using them for granite paving sets in the City, using salvage companies to place them on various building projects and even the possibility of har nessing the lithium in them for batteries.

But following several meetings, we have an agreement with Elmley Nature reserve on the isle of Sheppey. The blocks will be transported there by river and used as sea defences, bird hides and a visitor centre

Also, in June we published a draft Planning Advice Note set

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ting out a more disciplined approach for exploring options of reuse, retrofit before demolition is considered to respond to the whole life carbon of a building or scheme. This is a key priority for us.

This next example is about what we do to provide sustain able clothing to our outdoor staff.

The new uniforms they will be wearing will be made from recy cled plastic bottles, made in factories using renewable energy and they have a system in place for recycling old uniforms.

This next project comes from a circular economy training day and working with Veolia who deal with our waste collections and disposals of recyclable materials. The team came up with the idea of using cans collected from City residents in the façade of the building which sits adjacent to our waste transfer station at Walbrook Wharf!

Now, whilst there could be some arguments about if a can is better being turned back into a can or the façade of the building, the real aim of this project was to encourage discussion and chal lenge traditional thinking on what a building material can be.

We are also hopeful that we are going to be using City resi dents’ food waste to provide the compost for the living wall.

In September 2020, the City Corporation commissioned an Independent Review to set out a renewed vision for the City to be a leading destination for workers, visitors, and residents. Set in the context of Covid, the Review recognised the incredible challenges the pandemic continues to present for the City’s businesses and its negative impact on the overall vibrancy of the Square Mile.

Our new Destination City initiative responds to this challenge by focuseing on Visitor Economy sectors:

So, I have reached the topping out part of my time with you.

I think you can see that my first ten months have been busy, and I hope this has given you a glimpse at how I am planning to build well for the future City of London.

The signs of recovery are already there to see so we can allow ourselves to be more optimistic as the dark times pass. For nearly a millennium the City Corporation has sat at the heart of our nation’s capital and has endured. It should not be a surprise that we are bouncing back strongly again and through all our collective efforts it will be a better City. More enlightened, welcoming. more socially and economically inclusive, celebrating diversity, cleaner and greener, more sustainable with a richer economic base merg ing its key business function with culture, retail, F&B, with more visitors and a dynamic vibrancy to become a seven day City.

London is getting its buzz back which is part of its appeal and as workers return in larger numbers every week, the feeling of connectivity is strengthened, but I want to make sure the quantity and quality of new development, meets the growing needs of business which will support and strengthen opportunities for the continued collaboration and clustering of businesses that is vital to the City’s operation and it’s pre-eminence.

Now is not the time to be insular or elitist. The City must set the pace for being welcoming to all and broaden our appeal so we are welcoming people to The City who until now think we are only a place of work. We are so much more than that so I want both UK and international visitors to enjoy our world class archi tecture, heritage and cultural assets. We need to ensure the City is not a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday location so looking after our SMEs, BIDs and young dynamic workforce is all part of our future and wider relevance to London and the UK. n Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022
• Culture • Hospitality • Retail • Heritage • Sport • Tourism

Nigel Moor reviews two books by Nicholas Phelps

Reimaging planning

Dr Nigel Moor is a retired chartered town planner and a former town, district and county councillor

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of a conversation with Professor Nicholas Phelps, who is Chair of Urban Planning at the University of Melbourne. He was in Britain doing some planning research for his next book. Before moving to Melbourne, he was a Professor at the Bartlett School of Planning in London. His academic colleagues there included the late Professor Sir Peter Hall, who encouraged him to publish his book on planning and politics in Britain. It has some uncom fortable conclusions concerning the effectiveness of planning in this country.

Last year Nick published The Urban Planning Imagination, which in some respects is a sequel to that earlier book. More theo retical, it reminds us why urban planning has a value. To under stand why it seems continually necessary to make this point, the first book An Anatomy Of Sprawl provides a salutary lesson in the failure of planning in the South Hampshire sub -region. This wide corridor on either side of the M27 motorway between Southampton and Portsmouth, has for more than fifty years seen a process of urban sprawl witnessed in the western and eastern seaboards of the United States. This has not been an exercise in Nonplan, for the corridor has been as enthusiastically planned as any in the country.

An area with a present population of around one million peo ple, South Hampshire was identified in the South East Study 1961 – 1981 as a potential location for London overspill. To explore fur ther its potential for South Hampshire, the then Labour govern ment commissioned Colin Buchanan & Partners in 1966 to pro duce the South Hampshire Study, which examined the feasibility of major urban growth. The consultants went beyond their terms of reference to recommend that the area could accommodate a total population of 1,700.000. The recommendations were accompanied by a diagram with a linear grid of roads across the area, which at first glance gave the impression of a linear city of total development. Dubbed Solent City by its critics, it proved uni versally unpopular. Not only in local government circles, but also with central government. It avoided the potential solution of a new town and left the door open for continued administration of the growth agenda by local government.

Its failure is compared to the success of Milton Keynes that similarly originated from the South East Study. This new town was planned to embrace automobility and new patterns of work. It has been remarkably successful. Professor Phelps in a detailed, forensic analysis of the planning history of South Hampshire, demon strates how this administration of growth by local government led to a scattered form of urban sprawl. Promoted in the interest of resisting a coalescence of settlements, it perversely created a con tinuous sprawling Solent City, with none of the advantages of Milton Keynes. Phelps reflects that this “muddling through” con trasts strongly with the record of Britain’s new towns, which stand as a triumph of strategic planning compared with the incremen

His conclusions are what he has described as the beast of Solent City has sprung while politicians, planners and the public in South Hampshire have been jealously guarding against it. Contributing to this failure has been the fragmented local govern ment scene in the area. In his words “Local government fragmen tation has generated a series of political fiefdoms with at times quite ridiculous claims to pre- eminence in the sub-region.”

In his forward to the book Peter Hall reflected on how this deeply scholarly work explodes the myth that the draconian pow ers conferred on planners by the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act, have enabled us to avoid the dangers of urban sprawl that horrify visitors to the fringes of American cities.

Since leaving the Bartlett School of Planning, Professor Phelps has had time to reflect on this story of a collective failure of vision. His new book The Urban Planning Imagination is a rethink ing of fundamental aspects of planning. In a significant comment contained in the author’s celebration of urban planning, he remarks that “its systems and cultures are nested within broader institutional and cultural frames while being an indispensable part of, or foil to them.” In support he quotes Magnusson (Politics of Urbanism Routledge 2011),” Planning has always been a way of

82 Planning in London

rationalising politics by rendering it governable.”

With this in mind, and reflecting on the government’s current ambivalence towards regional planning, this history of South Hampshire’s sprawl and lost opportunities should be a painful reminder. Could it persuade the new government to reboot the Oxford- Cambridge Arc (Leader, Planning in London Issue 121 April – June 2022).Pledges made during this summer’s leadership cam paign to kick start a failing British economy, will amount to noth ing more than empty rhetoric if this opportunity is lost. n

Nicholas A. Phelps An Anatomy Of Sprawl Planning And Politics In Britain 2012 Routledge Abingdon ISBN 978-0-415-59299-4

Nicholas A. Phelps The Urban Planning Imagination 2021 Polity Press Cambridge ISBN-13 978-1-5095-2624-6

ABOVE: The complexity of the local government struc ture in South Hampshire

Source : Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PfSH). Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022

Social Lives of Urban Redevelopment in London

Social Lives of Urban Redevelopment in London published by Routledge and reviewed by Nigel Moor

£34.99 at Amazon

Contesting Public Spaces explores the public lives and land scapes at stake as large areas of London are transformed through urban redevelopment. Through research of neigh bourhoods in Paddington, Elephant and Castle, and Trafalgar Square, the book focuses on the redesigned public spaces that are at the heart of such large-scale urban change. The book raises concerns for spatial justice as London's streets, squares, and neighbourhoods are reconfigured through planning deci sions, design practices, political processes, and daily routines. Based on a series of interviews with individuals involved in planning, designing, managing, and using public spaces, the book exposes conflicts between planning officers and com merical developers who direct large urban redevelopment and communities, small businesses, and residents whose lives are tied up with the neighbourhoods being reconfigured. The research brings sociological methods to what are frequently considered architectural concerns to reveal challenges as London's public landscapes are designed, regulated, and lived.

Over the last three decades urban change in London has been directed by varying combinations of government and private led approaches. The book shows that through these different process of regeneration, the future of neighbourhoods and districts is being fought over and public spaces are a core concern. From market traders who livelihoods have been undermined to local businesses who have been evicted, the research highlights what is gained and lost as commercial developers - with supportive relationships with government agencies - transform neighbour hoods for profit. The book also describes how limitations of local authority and Greater London Authority planning systems are exploited by large-scale private interests, in particular, how plan ning negotiations conducted in private, between governments who have land assets and commercial developers backed by pri vate investors, come to define the future of public spaces in cities like London.

local government prioritises investment in different opportunity areas across London and private interests realise the potential of controlling its public spaces the publicness of London's shared spaces becomes increasingly challenged.

Contesting Public Spaces shows that new public spaces are not consistently accessible, neither are they inclusive in the way that they are planned, designed, and managed. The public realm of London is transformed and managed through a vast range of different relationships between public agencies and large com mercial interests. The latter, who include private developers, busi ness improvement district teams, and corporate tenants, have an increasingly present role in the ongoing management of master planned areas, all that have public space at their core. Through maintaining control of London's open spaces both state and pri vate interests have the opportunity to control the image of their developments. To reimage these areas, teenagers, students, and homeless people - or anyone deemed undesirable - are evicted from what become sanitised open spaces. Furthermore, individu als and businesses whose lives have been part of these public landscapes for decades are excluded. As the metropolitan and

While large-scale urban change has been the focus of criti cism for many decades, the research also furthers a critique of large scale masterplanning. It recognises that masterplans, whether state-led or commercially focused, limit the opportuni ty of local communities to continue to live and work in the parts of London where their families have been for generations. In some cases, masterplanning processes have been employed to exclude certain individuals and activities - such as street traders and low-cost markets - that undermine the new urban images desired by politicians, planners, and private landowners. The squares, parks, pavements, and canals of London become the focus of social cleansing, ensuring that spaces that foreground new shops, restaurants, and apartments facilitate primarily com mercial ambitions. At the same time, neighbourhood scale mas terplans are claimed to be one of the few options available to financially stretched local governments who are looking to regenerate their London boroughs. By combining their powers as planning authorities and their role as significant landowners,

84 Planning in London

When Britain Built Something Big

Olympic Park: When Britain Built Something Big by Dave Hill

£18.90 at

When Britain built something big is the sub-title to Dave Hill’s book Olympic Park, which tells the story of how an Olympic park was created created in London’s Lower Lea Valley in time for London 2012. It is a detailed factual account, not just of the politics, planning, infrastructure engineering and deal-making that led up to that event, but of its implications in terms of urban regeneration and legacy.

I interviewed Dave about the book and its themes on 30th August 2022 on the audio social-media app Clubhouse, and you’re welcome to listen to the recording.

A number of things are striking to me, looking back.

The first is that huge things can be achieved if individuals and institutions collectively grasp a vision and secure the necessary buy-in. At a time when this country had perhaps lost its self-belief in being able to deliver a project successfully and on time, here we were setting ourselves up to fail - but we didn’t. By luck there was a new system of London regional government in place to facilitate London’s bid for the games (Ken Livingstone as mayor, not a sports fan at all but persuaded as to the regeneration potential of a London Games) with the full support (not easily secured by the indefatigable Tessa Jowell) of the Blair government, and with the

>>> local governments are attractive partners for private developers seeking to profit from large-scale masterplanning.

Contesting Public Spaces concludes that the way we think about public spaces should be reconsidered. It argues that public spaces should be redefined through their social and spatial rela tions rather than more narrow focus on their architectural forms. Such a reframing would allow London's public spaces to be under stood in terms of their varying "publicness" rather than merely as in opposition to the city's private spaces. London does not have a binary of public and private spaces, but a myriad of spaces owned, managed, and used by varying combinations of state agencies, commercial interests, private landlords, and communities.

The book closes by setting out three planning propositions for public spaces. The first proposition is to advocate for more trans parent processes, especially planning negotiations, as large areas of London are reconfigured. The second proposition is to establish more inclusive practices of planning and design, where local com munities and individuals who can be frequently overlooked are included in the processes of urban change. The third, and final, proposition is to establish an independent regulator for public spaces in London. Recognising that over the last three decades there has been a proliferation of forms, ownerships, and manage ment structures that have resulted in highly uneven ways of mak ing and remaking public spaces in London, a new regulator could represent public concerns for the shared spaces of the city and ensure transparent and inclusive practices during uncertain pro cess of urban change. n

individual host boroughs, with capable leaders, will ing to come together as a Joint Planning Applications Team to determine mas sively complex planning applications within tight timescales.

The second is that there are inevitable tradeoffs if a project such as the transformation of this huge area of east London was to be achieved by what was an immovable deadline. When London secured the Games, the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006  gave significant powers to unelected bodies, which has continued with the creation of the London Legacy Development Corporation in 2012. Many people’s homes and businesses were the subject of a compulsory purchase order, which was confirmed after a 41 day inquiry and which survived at least three legal challenges in the High Court. Should we have done it? Or should we have let com munity politics take their course?

The third is that whilst it is important to have the necessary statutory processes and a strategy, so much comes down to prob lem-solving, creativity and negotiation. Whilst the rights calls may have been made in the negotiations necessary with the Stratford City development partners (at times a fragile partnership due to the takeover of Chelsfield during the process), was money wasted in deciding to proceed with a stadium design that did not easily allow for West Ham’s subsequent use - and just how good was West Ham’s eventual deal?

The fourth is that engineering constraints and their lead-in periods can cause headaches - for example the huge commercial, logistical and regulatory challenge of undergrounding electricity lines and removing pylons - achievements which we then utterly take for granted.

The fifth is the need for cross-party consensus - long-term projects can’t be the punchbag of short-term party politics.  So there was the unholy alliance between Livingstone, expelled from the Labour party, and the New Labour government, both then replaced before the Games themselves by Johnson and the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition and now the approach to various legacy aspects being the domain of Sadiq Khan.

The sixth is that surely we need to learn from what went well and what perhaps didn’t, and to apply it to the immediate chal lenges around us: climate change, including renewables and mak ing existing buildings more energy-efficient; and indeed the chal lenge of delivering a new generation of affordable homes. What more broadly should we learn about how our planning system needs to adapt? n Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022
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90 Planning in London

Megan Jones shows that the eased permitted development rules do not result in completely un-regulated and inappropriate schemes

Megan Jones is a senior architect at Farrells.

Growing up – densification of our roofscapes

In dense urban centres such as London, where scarce undevel oped land is at a premium, looking upwards remains a firm choice for development opportunities in the capital. The airspace above existing buildings has proved an untapped resource for sensitive densification of the urban grain, but only when carefully selected sites befit and will benefit from such interventions.

Last year’s loosening of certain permitted development con straints has facilitated greater levels of unfettered airspace inter vention. This change has brought about exciting opportunity to carve out new homes in the capital, but also a risk that greater numbers of rushed or ill-thought through designs could begin to pepper our roofscapes. Ultimately, permitted development offers ample positive opportunities, but shouldn’t be to the detriment of robust design and spaces that work for the end users that will inhabit them. The importance of prior approval submissions is key in these scenarios – though they are lighter-touch applications than those required for full planning, they can (and should) set parameters that dictate the heights and massing of any proposed intervention.

Different scenarios will befit different solutions for utilising airspace. These deserve to be explored in ways that are tailored to specific demographical and contextual requirements, with an aim to generate viable and architecturally valuable solutions for exist ing communities. This is the distilled ideal – creating new homes and amenity spaces by building on that which is already built. This respects the pre-established urban grain, whilst allowing a consid ered upward densification to address the need for more homes.

In carefully adding one or two residential storeys where there is a specific and identified need, the adjacent high-streets and communities can also be bolstered. If freeholders of existing com mercial or industrial premises, that have a distinct presence on the local street scene, can sensitively develop their airspace, this could

be the key to unlocking their evolution and ensuring their survival. In this way, densifying upwards could have a tangibly positive effect on communities’ longevity.

There is also a sustainable ambition inherent to airspace devel opment. By developing in this way, the existing host building is regenerated in its own right; with its external fabric, circulation cores and structure often enhanced, refurbished or added to. This serves to both enable the structural integrity and safety of the whole development, but also to ensure that the existing building looks well-kempt and in-keeping with the holistic design. In this way, airspace design is a positive enactor of a genuinely sustain able approach to development.

There are, however, regulatory challenges that are presently intertwined with residential airspace development. These come to the fore once the initial idea of developing on top of the existing has been established, and an appropriate design has been pro gressed. One of these challenges is ensuring that any additional residences are sufficiently supported by robust means of escape and fire strategies. This element can have further complication when the intent is to build above an existing commercial or light industrial function below, which already come with their own sep arate fire risks and considerations. Early engagement with fire engineers and Building Control officers is essential to developing a design that is feasible from a life safety perspective, and this should be a critical consideration from the outset.

Buildability is another important consideration to be explored during initial feasibility stages. Early engagement with a structural engineer to assess the capability of the existing structure is crucial to establish if the scheme is viable. The structure can have signifi cant implications both in terms of the internal spaces and layouts, but also externally. If an external exo-skeleton or additional brac ing is required to support the rooftop extension, it is important to consider how this could be successfully integrated with the pre-



existing architectural language of the host building and any over riding contextual vernacular. Again, the need for a bespoke design solution comes to the fore – some scenarios may befit an exten sion that reads as entirely separate to the existing building beneath, whereas some scenarios will suit a holistic and unified palette that seamlessly bridges between old and new.

Another potential obstacle to airspace development is untan gling occasionally complex leasehold or freehold arrangements, which may involve various different stakeholders and liabilities, and any associated party wall implications that would need to be worked through to ensure that the scheme can progress.

It is key for us to collectively learn how to ameliorate the aspirational ideal of airspace development with the practical challenges faced when realising it. The more that rooftop exten

sions are seen delivered and achieved as a reality, the more that stakeholders and consultants alike will become accustomed to overcoming statutory, regulatory and administrative obstacles, to ensure that successful airspace projects can be achieved. From a buildability perspective, if different construction methodologies and systems are adequately fire tested and certified by modular or steel framing contractors, this can help ensure compliance with Building Regulations. This in turn will help achieve the confi dence of fire engineers, statutory bodies and design profession als, and will develop a suite of standard construction systems that can be regularly adopted with confidence.

In addition to residential extensions, we can also consider alternative possible tangents for airspace developments. The common desire is to increase residential provision by adding one or two storeys onto an existing either residential development, or commercial or industrial unit. But perhaps the idea of adding storeys can also be cross-functional, or more mixed-use in its directive.

The after-effects of nearly two years of disrupted lifestyle patterns and working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are still being experienced. Commonly those with office jobs are still looking to work flexibly, perhaps adopting a hybrid working pattern of in-office attendance for three days a week, and working from home two days a week. Could airspace development be used to create co-working environments that are home-adjacent, instead of being within the home itself. This could potentially be a way for people to still avoid lengthy com mutes, but also enable them to work without encroaching on the square metre-age of their own apartment. Alternatively, could airspace be used to create calm, green oases floating above the urban scene – interspersed with rooftop restaurants, coworking cafes, or residential apartments.

A new tranche of airspace approaches and typologies could help unlock and regenerate existing and sometimes unloved buildings to be functional components of the city organism. In the same way that our cities are made up in layers of develop ment over time; when approached sensitively, rooftop extensions can provide the latest additive stratum of the city, as a response to the current needs of a population in flux.

In providing some of the need for housing in this bite-sized way, across several rooftop projects each with their own archi

92 Planning in London
Scale Consideration for the existing scale and proportions of neighbouring buildings Detailing A study of detailing found in surrounding housing examples which can be incorporated into the design
A roof form which responds to the context and creates an animated exterior Materiality&Colour 123 4 RIGHT: Toolkit of Design Considerations BELOW: Exploring a Site-specific Architectural Response SHAPING LONDON: DENSIFICATION OF OUR ROOFSCAPES | MEGAN JONES Metal Cladding / Brcikworks Matching Materials like Corten Metal Cladding / Glazed bricks Perforated Metal Cladding

tectural justification and identity, this could in turn open-up the rarer, undeveloped pockets of land for significant and communally valuable mixed-use schemes.

There are several ways in which developing upwards can add meaningful value to local communities. However, it is important that the existing quality of adjacent developments is not compro mised as a result of infill airspace intervention. This can involve preserving sensible setback distances between facades with win dows, or introducing measures such as obscured privacy screens or inset terraces to minimise any potential risks of overlooking.

Rooftop extensions will always be an act of balance, by virtue of their having to seamlessly slot into a pre-existing urban condi tion. Having identified the merit of adding residential provision atop existing buildings, it is key that certain moves are made to ensure the scheme can successfully enmesh into its context. These moves include assessing whether the adjacent context is being respected, that the additional mass is appropriate without becom ing overbearing, that the existing architectural language is com plemented or, where appropriate, is sensitively contrasted with, and that the function being added has a justifiable need in that specific context. This simplified checklist could provide a way to sense check whether airspace development can be made to suc cessfully operate in any given scenario.

The Association of Rooftop & Airspace Development (ARAD) is

a collective of organisations and developers that aim to uphold members to a code of design standards for such developments. This is a positive approach, allowing invested parties to share best practices and maintain principles to ensure that the relationships of airspace developments to the host below can be in-built and not bolt-on. Our experience to-date suggests that local authorities are increasingly open to well-designed and considered airspace schemes, providing that they are demonstrably to the benefit and not to the detriment of the surrounding communities that they should be designed to serve.

The obstacle to be tackled through airspace design is ensuring that the eased permitted development rules do not result in com pletely un-regulated and inappropriate schemes. The risk with sit uations where full planning consent is not required is that a car bon copy approach could be found to be adopted, where a onesize-fits-all design is shoe-horned into multiple possible airspace opportunities for the ease of the developer. What is essential to successful airspace designs is that they are responsive to the exist ing built context, and adaptive to the needs of the community context. This means designs that are tailored to their specific sce narios, that can add meaningful value to an existing user group, building, street, locality and, in turn, to the wider city context. When airspace development is approached as a part of a holistic whole, potential for real growth and quality can be found. n Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022
LEFT: Harmonising Old & NewCurrent Farrells Project in Bermondsey
Assessing Site
Opportunities Potential to expand vertically on site 12 Providing new access via the extended circulation core extending the existing stair core and possible provision for new lifts. 3Reconfiguring proposed footprint to meet london plan space requirements. Existing1StoreyExt.2StoreyExt.

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Attend remotely or in-person

The Environment Act came into force late last year and many provisions are now beginning to be implemented with more coming into force on 30 September. All planners and developers need to know what these changes mean for their own projects and how planning authorities are approaching issues around climate change and biodiversity. Join Tom Graham, author of The Environment Act: A Guide for Planners and Developers, and a panel of expert speakers at our forthcoming seminar – available in-person or remote to bring you up to date with the latest changes on these increasingly important issues.

All delegates will receive a free hardcopy and digital edition of The Environment Act: A Guide for Planners and Developers (worth £60) and a recording of the seminar.

Event details:

When? Thursday 3 November, 10.0013.00

Where? One Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AA How much? £150 + VAT - including print & digital editions of The Environment Act: A Guide for Planners and Developers

Can’t make the seminar? You can still buy the book online from £40.

Order from RRP from £40


ADVICE Issue 123 Oct ober-December 2022

Articles inside

PAUL FINCH Volume can count more than space article cover image
PAUL FINCH Volume can count more than space
page 7
PICTURE FEATURE The new Putney Bridge pier article cover image
PICTURE FEATURE The new Putney Bridge pier
pages 8-13
OPINIONS What does the growth plan mean for development? | Simon Ricketts ; article cover image
OPINIONS What does the growth plan mean for development? | Simon Ricketts ;
pages 14-15
Suburban Task Force takes stock | Peter Eversden article cover image
Suburban Task Force takes stock | Peter Eversden
page 16
The West End office market on the up | Freddie Corlett article cover image
The West End office market on the up | Freddie Corlett
page 17
Is this Localism #2? | Lucy Anderson article cover image
Is this Localism #2? | Lucy Anderson
page 18
The only constant in planning is change | Sam Stafford article cover image
The only constant in planning is change | Sam Stafford
pages 19-20
How visitor data and insights help councils with planning | Clive Hall; article cover image
How visitor data and insights help councils with planning | Clive Hall;
page 21
LETTERS The real worry is National Development Management Policies | Michael Bach,; Compulsory rental auctions are yet another half baked idea | Jonathan De Mello article cover image
LETTERS The real worry is National Development Management Policies | Michael Bach,; Compulsory rental auctions are yet another half baked idea | Jonathan De Mello
page 22
Whole-life carbon assessment controversy strikes the Barbican article cover image
Whole-life carbon assessment controversy strikes the Barbican
page 23
CLIPBOARD Green Belt expands; The Green Belt has been a disaster; Investment Zones: some handy existing legislation? Aylesbury Estate: new plans lodged as council approves compulsory purchase powers article cover image
CLIPBOARD Green Belt expands; The Green Belt has been a disaster; Investment Zones: some handy existing legislation? Aylesbury Estate: new plans lodged as council approves compulsory purchase powers
pages 24-26
PILLO Growth, Growth, Growth; Royal Yacht; St Mungo’s homes set for go-ahead; Destination city City article cover image
PILLO Growth, Growth, Growth; Royal Yacht; St Mungo’s homes set for go-ahead; Destination city City
page 27
PLANNING PERFORMANCE Numbers of applications and decisions continue to drop article cover image
PLANNING PERFORMANCE Numbers of applications and decisions continue to drop
pages 28-31
LONDON PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT FORUM Population projections, revised NPPF, impact of inflation and embodied carbon article cover image
LONDON PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT FORUM Population projections, revised NPPF, impact of inflation and embodied carbon
pages 32-42
ANDREW ROGERS Why planning is sexy article cover image
ANDREW ROGERS Why planning is sexy
page 43
PARKYN’S PIECES ‘Doing Extraordinary Things’; Manchester’s Symphony of Slots; Order Order! Security Blankets? Places of Invention; Sense of Scale article cover image
PARKYN’S PIECES ‘Doing Extraordinary Things’; Manchester’s Symphony of Slots; Order Order! Security Blankets? Places of Invention; Sense of Scale
pages 44-46
Momentum Connect Safeguarding our cities for the future article cover image
Momentum Connect Safeguarding our cities for the future
pages 47-58
The CaMKoX Arc | Nigel Moor article cover image
The CaMKoX Arc | Nigel Moor
pages 59-62
Croydon’s Suburban Design Guide | Russell Curtis article cover image
Croydon’s Suburban Design Guide | Russell Curtis
pages 63-65
A New Kind of Suburbia | Elanor Warwick article cover image
A New Kind of Suburbia | Elanor Warwick
pages 66-69
Chances of getting permissions | Genevieve Wong Truscott article cover image
Chances of getting permissions | Genevieve Wong Truscott
pages 70-72
Eastern City BID | Andrew Reynolds article cover image
Eastern City BID | Andrew Reynolds
pages 73-74
The City is buzzing again | Juliemma McLoughlin article cover image
The City is buzzing again | Juliemma McLoughlin
pages 75-81
BOOKS Two by Nicholas Phelps | reviewed by Nigel Moor; Social Lives of Urban Redevelopment in London | Ed Wall; When Britain Built Something Big | Dave Hill article cover image
BOOKS Two by Nicholas Phelps | reviewed by Nigel Moor; Social Lives of Urban Redevelopment in London | Ed Wall; When Britain Built Something Big | Dave Hill
pages 82-86
SHAPING LONDON Densification of our roofscapes | Megan Jones article cover image
SHAPING LONDON Densification of our roofscapes | Megan Jones
pages 91-94