The London Forum of Amenity & Civic Societies is a charity established 23 years ago and is a federation of over 130 community groups in the capital. The London Forum was represented at most of the sessions held between June and December 2010 by a Panel of Inspectors for the examination in public (EiP) of the draft replacement London Plan (DRLP). Several London Forum members gave evidence also on proposed policies that affected their areas.
The new London Plan has additional policies to those in the previous version on social infrastructure, town centres, response to climate change, community participation, legacy from the Olympic games, place shaping and the use of Community Infrastructure Levy.
Download the Forum’s full response as a PDF here LondonForumLP2011
London Forum considers that key points arising from the new London Plan are as follows.
• The Plan lacks sufficient emphasis on reducing the need to travel but it states in Policy 6.3 that boroughs should phase or refuse development if the existing transport capacity is insufficient.
• The development of Inner London has additional policy content for the involvement of existing and new residents and the importance of community engagement.
• Opportunity Area Masterplans are to be developed with boroughs as supplementary planning guidance.
• In Policy 2.14 for regeneration areas, the Mayor has declined to accept the Inspectors’ recommendation for no net loss of affordable housing.
• Definition of a small supermarket has been reduced from 2,000sqm to 500sqm.
• Change of use of strategic industrial locations is to be constrained.
• Policy 2.18 for green infrastructure has been extended considerably since the draft version. Boroughs and communities will need to make sure it is applied locally.
• Policy 3.1 on ensuring equal life chances for all contains important aims and boroughs are to identify people’s needs. Policy 4.12 has strategic aims to tackle low participation in the labour market and to provide a more highly skilled workforce.
• Supply of housing proposed in the Plan was thought by the Inspectors to be inadequate in numbers. See the section in the following report on Policies 3.3 to 3.11 for which the Mayor has not accepted several of the Inspectors’ recommendations.
• Office employment growth to 2031 has been reduced considerably since the draft Plan version.
• Retrofitting of existing homes for improved energy efficiency is an important task but the Mayor’s RENEW programme may not be sufficient. (Policy 5.4)
• Renewable energy and energy technologies have to be planned by boroughs.
• The Environment Agency sought more action on rainwater recycling.
• The Panel’s report recommended that the Mayor should consider introducing tailored forms of road-user charging where appropriate. The Mayor has declined and added words into the Plan that he does not envisage examining road user charging whilst he is in office. That was not consulted upon or discussed at the examination.
• The Plan has policy support for expansion in London of car clubs.
• Chapter 7 of the Plan contains new strategic policies for good design, public realm, architecture, place shaping, heritage protection and building neighbourhoods. Boroughs and communities should ensure LDFs contain suitable policies for context sensitivity of development, including locations where tall buildings would, or would not, be suitable.
• The air quality strategies are not likely to reduce pollution to acceptable levels and the Inspectors were critical.
• Waterways policies have been strengthened and boroughs are to produce Thames Policy Area appraisals and action plans. Planning applications for waterside sites must be considered against the new set of Blue Ribbon Network strategies.
• This is the first version of the London Plan to have content within each policy of what should be in a borough LDF on all subjects and the basis on which borough’s development plan decisions should be made. That requires boroughs to check general conformity of their LDF and borough case officers to quote each relevant London Plan policy in reports to planning committees with assessment of whether or not they are met.