Iceni’s round up of the London Plan Examination in Public and what this means for housing delivery in the Capital

22 May 19 | Alice Hawkins

The draft London Plan proposes to raise London’s annual housing target by 57% from 42,000 to 66,000 homes.

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Iceni’s round up of the London Plan Examination in Public and what this means for housing delivery in the Capital.

That’s a wrap! After 50 sessions, spanning 12 weeks and covering 94 Matters, the draft London Plan Examination in Public concludes today. Iceni looks at some of the most contentious issues.

Housing Delivery

The draft London Plan proposes to raise London’s annual housing target by 57% from 42,000 to 66,000 homes. The methodology underpinning this has been criticised by the Government for deviating from the national standard – how the Inspectors view this will be crucial for delivery.

The Mayor has continued to promote densification as the solution to achieving these increased housing targets. The co-location of residential and employment uses on industrial sites has also been championed as a means to boost housing supply. Nevertheless, the increased housing targets, and the Plan as a whole, has been heavily criticised as overestimating the real delivery potential of small sites, and as being too prescriptive for a strategic planning document.

If the Inspectors find the housing land supply assumptions to be unsound, could we see renewed calls for a Green Belt review?

The Outer London Battlefield

Tensions ran high between the GLA and London’s outer boroughs, unsurprisingly considering many have seen their housing targets double.

Robust representations were made by many local authorities arguing why the proposed small sites policy – which is being promoted as the key to delivering the majority of new homes in outer London – is not achievable, leading to development in unsustainable locations and signaling the end of suburbia.

Will Inspectors recommend a more nuanced application of the proposed small sites policy in outer London?

The Rise of Build-to-Rent

The new Build-to-Rent (BTR) policy was hailed as a positive step forward by the industry.

The late addition of a potential requirement for social housing to be provided within BTR schemes was hotly debated. Affordable housing provision itself was not the issue, rather the need for separate management from a Registered Provider for these homes, with several BTR developers noting this would manifest in a myriad of problems, including commercial viability, exacerbating segregation and making tenure-blind blocks impossible.

Taking it Higher

The Mayor’s approach to tall buildings appears to provide local authorities with greater autonomy by allowing LAs to define tall buildings and set appropriate locations. However, localist policies that restrict tall buildings in outer London may clash with the Plan’s more favourable view on increasing height. Could we see more referable schemes on height in Outer London?

The exclusion of all other non-designated locations as inappropriate for tall buildings raised the biggest concerns, with fears that this could result in significant skewing effects on residual land values and the market in Central London.

We await the Inspectors report this summer, if in the meantime you would like to receive updates on emerging London policy, please contact us here.

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