The London Plan is important because it steers planning policy across London and all local boroughs’ plans must conform with it.
Key comments on the London Plan by Just Space are:
NEW DIRECTION FOR LONDON
The London Plan should establish a fairer, more environmentally sound city over the time of the Plan. It needs specific and major changes to achieve this and should plan for different economic scenarios.
Public participation should appear as a distinct feature of the Plan: communities should have the greatest possible influence over the policies, practices, resources and decision-making that affect their neighbourhoods.
Individuals and voluntary organisations have lacked resources to be fully effective in the current consultation process. Participating groups represent a fraction of the contribution that could have been made by ordinary Londoners in influencing the Plan.
The London Plan’s ‘Integrated Impact Assessment’ (IIA) does not get to the fundamental issues of inequality. A more rigorous assessment is needed to reveal the effects of policy on disadvantaged communities and the IIA’s deficiencies must be considered at the Examination.
In the Labour Market: over-emphasis on business services growth without recognition of other sectors – retailing, catering, cleaning, security etc – where higher pay and productivity needs to be focused. The poorest ethnic minority groups would benefit from focus on this sector. Third sector voluntary work should be recognised as a step to paid employment.
CONTRADICTIONS IN THE AIMS OF THE PLAN
Assumptions of future major growth of population and jobs within the green belt…adequate expansion of the affordable housing stock, especially social rented housing…housing targets reduced, with private speculative building (relied on by councils for kick-backs) at a historic low.
The target of 60% reduction in CO2 emissions is welcome but there is no evidence that the Plan will actually achieve the target. Hard policies are missing and there is a lack of quantification.
To achieve a low carbon economy we should create a demand for greener products, services and lifestyles. New developments need to meet higher environmental targets right now.
If it seeks to be a truly world class city, London should be in the vanguard of action on climate change.
HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
The London Plan should recognise over-crowding and sub-standard housing as a factor in health and well-being. It should prioritise social infrastructure – schools, recreation and health facilities, community centres – in parallel with decent housing for all.
The London Plan MUST impose bold social housing quotas on development schemes and on each of the London Boroughs, to meet the urgent delivery of housing for those who need it most.
OPEN SPACE and PLAY AREAS
Policy must insist on adequate open space provision and outlaw the removal of open space, especially on estates where space is grabbed for ‘infill development’.
Overall the needs of children and young people need to be more prominent in the Plan. A minimum child play space figure should be enshrined in policy with safer play spaces in view of homes.
The draft needs binding policies to bring essential changes in our transport habits: more walking, cycling, use of public transport and less car commuting. Increased air travel should be resisted.
More emphasis should be put on the role of individual communities within London and the need for them to remain viable.
There must be more dispersed growth away from the centres, bringing lower rents, reduced travel and a higher quality of life. Local sourcing should be the norm (eg through the London Food Strategy) and policy should help to create stronger local economies within London.
Our street markets and covered markets must be individually recognised, supported and protected.
DECISION-MAKING IN LONDON
For the improvement of London for all, the GLA and the London Plan must
a) establish a requirement for more power to local communities in making decisions
b) hold borough councils to the targets and aims set in the London Plan. Councils frequently ignore these.
See the full written submissions by Just Space groups in the list of Submissions