Bell Cornwell Responds to the New Draft London Plan

6th March 2018

The New Draft London Plan was published for consultation from 1st December 2017 for three months. The deadline for responses was 2nd March 2018 and Bell Cornwell LLP took the opportunity to review the Mayor’s proposals on behalf of our clients who have an interest in London planning and submit a response to the consultation.

Here are the headlines:

  • The Mayor has used the National Planning Policy Framework as a pick and mix for the new Plan. This will have a significant impact on the strategic direction for planning in Greater London for the next 10 years and in the longer term up to 2044. The Mayor has made the decision to apply a different way of assessing the ‘objectively assessed housing need’, as well as a different way of calculating housing land supply. Because of the skewed results of these assessments, the Mayor does not think that a review of the Green Belt is needed, or that there is a need to work with neighbouring authorities under the ‘duty to cooperate’. We objected in principle to this approach which is flawed and not consistent with national policy as it would not deliver housing in the long term.
  • The Mayor is proposing a standardised ‘existing use value’ (EUV) to be applied across London for all viability assessments. Whilst a standard approach to viability assessments is welcomed to make it a level playing field, it is our view that a standard value across the whole of London is disproportionate and unfair where values vary widely.
  • We have questioned the housing standards to be applied to new residential development, where there is no distinguishing between one bedroom and studio apartments in terms of minimum floor areas.
  • We support the Mayor in removing the previous ‘density matrix’ which was very prescriptive for new residential areas. However, we have highlighted that the final plan should encourage Councils to see this as an opportunity to deliver more housing rather than be more restrictive on new development. As part of this, the Mayor wants to encourage taller buildings, particularly in more accessible areas, which we support.
  • There is a much more flexible approach to car parking in a new development which we support, where car-free developments might become more common in more accessible locations. However, we have urged the Mayor to recognise that one size does not fit all and local authorities need to be responsible for assessing proposals on a site by site basis.

We hope that you found the above to be useful and informative. We expect the New Draft London Plan to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for ‘Examination in Public’ in the Autumn 2018.

Please do not hesitate to contact one of the team today on either 0203 176 2789 or info@bell-cornwell.co.uk.

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