The London Plan Consultation 2018 – what are the new proposals being considered?

The London Plan Consultation 2018 – what are the new proposals being considered? 

Under the legislation establishing the Greater London Authority (GLA), the Mayor must develop and publish a Spatial Development Strategy (SDS) and keep it under review. The SDS is known as the London Plan, which is an overall strategic plan for London that sets out an integrated economic, environmental, transport and social framework for the development of London over the next 20-25 years.

Currently they are working to the London Plan 2016, but a draft new London Plan was published by the Mayor for a consultation period which ran from December 2017 until March 2018.

This new version, also known as a Replacement Plan, is the third London Plan. The previous ones being the 2004 Plan produced by former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and the 2011 Plan produced by former Mayor of London Boris Johnson. This draft new plan, once adopted, will replace all previous versions.

Championing Good Growth

The new Plan is considered to be quite different from those that have gone before with more ambition and focus than any previously, and with an over-arching concept of Good Growth. Good Growth is growth that is socially and economically inclusive and environmentally sustainable and this underpins the whole Plan making sure that London is focused on sustainable development.

Planning and development in London

London’s growth and development is shaped by the decisions that are made every day by planners, planning applicants and decision-makers across the city.

The Mayor believes that every individual decision to provide affordable housing helps to make the housing market fairer, every decision to make a new development car-free helps Londoners to depend less on cars and to live healthier lives and every plan to build or expand a school improves the prospects of the next generation of Londoners.

All sectors involved in the planning, development and building in London will have to consider how their actions are helping to deliver these new objectives. 

The 6 Good Growth Policies

Within the new plan, six core ‘good growth’ policies are set out from the beginning. These need to be taken into account for all planning and development in London. These policies represent the overarching objectives of the Plan to ensure that London’s growth is Good Growth and are:

  • Building strong and inclusive communities

  • Making the best use of land

  • Creating a healthy city

  • Delivering the homes Londoners need

  • Growing a good economy

  • Increasing efficiency and resilience

Spatial Development Pattern

The plan goes on to set out the overall spatial development pattern for London, giving a strategic framework for those parts of London that will see significant development over the lifetime of the Plan.

It addresses how change will be managed for London’s most sensitive and complex places covering London’s growth corridors, Opportunity Areas, town centres, and Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land.

Within this plan, it is highlighted that growth and change have not always benefited Londoners equally. For example, the wrong sort of growth can lead to established communities finding themselves priced out of the area they call home and with too many areas in London still experiencing deprivation despite the wider success of the capital.

To address this, it is important that there is a strong focus on sustainable and inclusive regeneration in these areas, with boroughs, the Mayor and other partners working closely with the local community to bring about the right sort of change and investment.

The New Policy Topics

The rest of the draft new plan covers a range of topic-based policies including:

  • Design : A new design-led approach to determining site capacity moves away from the current Plan’s density matrix with a a clear statement that residential development that does not demonstrably optimise the housing density of the site should be refused.

  • Housing : London’s annual housing target has increased from 42,000 net additional homes per year to 64,935 with a firm emphasis on schemes delivering affordable homes on-site.

  • Social Infrastructure : this covers a range of services and facilities that meet local and strategic needs and contribute towards a good quality of life. It includes health provision, education, community, play, youth, recreation, sports, faith, and emergency facilities. Green infrastructure in all its forms is also a key component of social infrastructure.

  • Economy : The Mayor wants to work with strategic partners to address low pay. Development proposals should seek to support employment, skills development, apprenticeships, and other education and training opportunities                 in both the construction and end-use phases

  • Heritage and Culture : this covers the protection of green spaces, the promotion of green infrastructure, and the increase of urban greening;

  • Green Infrastructure and Natural Environment : London’s network of green and open spaces, and green features in the built environment such as green roofs and street trees, will be protected, planned, designed and managed as integrated features of green infrastructure. Is suggests that Boroughs should prepare green infrastructure strategies that integrate objectives relating to open space provision, biodiversity conservation, flood management, health and wellbeing, sport and recreation. Development

  • Plans and Opportunity Area Planning Frameworks will have to identify key green infrastructure assets, their function and their potential function, identify opportunities for addressing environmental and social challenges through strategic green infrastructure interventions.

  • Sustainable Infrastructure : this covers a wide range of subjects such as air quality, gas emissions, energy infrastructure and strategies, waste and waterways. The Mayor wants to work with boroughs, energy companies and major developers to promote the timely and effective development of London’s energy system (energy production, distribution, storage, supply and consumption).

  • Transport : Acknowledging that transport infrastructure is a crucial issue for London, the draft Plan’s spatial strategy proposes growth corridors and ‘Strategic Infrastructure Priorities’. The improvement of transport connections between the wider South East and London, and better access within the capital, are seen as critical to meeting employment and housing growth needs

Hitting the zero-carbon target

Within this plan, the Mayor aims to reach his zero-carbon target by 2050. With London being part of a national energy system, currently sourcing approximately 95 per cent of its energy from outside the GLA boundary, meeting the target requires changes to the way we use and supply energy so that power and heat for our buildings and transport is generated from clean, low-carbon and renewable sources.

London will need to shift from its reliance on using natural gas as its main energy source to a more diverse range of low and zero-carbon sources, including renewable energy and secondary heat sources. Decentralised energy will become an increasingly important element of London’s energy supply and will help London become more self-sufficient in relation to its energy needs.

Managing the urban heat island effect

In managing heat risk, new developments in London face two challenges – the need to ensure London does not overheat (the urban heat island effect) and the need to ensure that individual buildings do not overheat.

This effect is caused by the extensive built up area absorbing and retaining heat during the day and night leading to parts of London being several degrees warmer than the surrounding area.

Many aspects of building design can lead to increases in overheating risk, including high proportions of glazing and an increase in the air tightness of buildings. There are a number of low-energy-intensive measures that can mitigate overheating risk. These include solar shading, building orientation and solar-controlled glazing.

The increased use of air conditioning systems is not desirable as these have significant energy requirements and, under conventional operation, expel hot air, thereby adding to the urban heat island effect meaning that passive ventilation should be prioritised.

The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) has produced guidance on assessing and mitigating overheating risk in new developments, which can also be applied to refurbishment projects.

Developing in London?

If you are looking to develop in London there are now so many areas to consider. At Energytest it is our job to understand the policies and how they affect all aspects of planning, development and building. Working with our fully qualified and knowledgeable consultants will give you confidence that your projects will achieve full compliance.