Boris Vision 2020

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson released his 2020 vision this week. This has been personally written by the Mayor and he makes house building a key priority for London. The following is a summary of the main points:

  • Securing long-term affordable housing finance settlement for the Greater London Authority to replace the current agreement to 2015
  • New legislation to give the Mayor a greater say over planning decisions
  • Removing the cap on local authorities borrowing power to enable them to build more affordable housing
  • Introducing a ‘use it or lose it’ planning permission for developers
  • Create a London Housing Bank – to boost the private rented sector
  • Promote land owned by Whitehall so that surplus sites can come to market
  • Increase home ownership through shared equity and part ownership schemes
  • Ensure social landlords/boroughs give greater priority to working households

Labour sets out planning proposals for the election

Whilst making conflicting statements about abolishing the NPPF, the Labour party has indicated that if elected it would give local communities a greater right to decide where new homes should be situated. Labour has also indicated that it would abolish the upcoming legislation which allowing applicants to apply direct to the Planning Inspectorate where local authorities fail to meet their performance targets. Labour seem set to try and be more ‘localist’ than the Conservatives, the party which introduced the concept.

Nick Clegg announces creation of Local Growth Committee

The committee is to meet on an ad-hoc basis and will be chaired by Nick Clegg. Other members will comprise the secretaries of state from all the key economic departments including Vince Cable, Eric Pickles, Michael Gove and Danny Alexander. The committee is part of the Government’s approach to give more power back to local councils.

The purpose of the committee is to provide oversight across the local growth agenda to drive jobs and growth across England. It is hoped that this will help to create a single point of contact for local government to approach Whitehall, by bringing together the ministerial groups on the regional growth fund and city deals.

Poor performing councils face a developer’s bypass

Councils which determine fewer than 30% of major applications within 13 weeks over a two year period will be stripped of their planning powers under new policy. Developers will then be allowed to submit major applications directly to the Planning Inspectorate.

Seven local authorities have fallen into this category; Horsham, Daventry, Halton, Hounslow, Fylde, Cherwell and Enfield. These authorities will need to improve their performance in the final two quarters of the 2 year period to escape this.

Review of London Plan to start in 2014

Following the publication of Boris Johnson’s 2020 Vision Document, the review of the London Plan will begin next year and is expected to propose a significant increase in house building targets. London’s Deputy Mayor for Planning, Edward Lister, said the review would need to meet the capital’s requirement for 400,000 more homes by 2025. A survey is currently underway to determine housing needs, which is expected to identify a need for a minimum of 40,000 units per year – up from the existing target of 32,000 per year. The findings will be published later this year.

Survey into views on Chelsea-Hackney Line

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has been carrying out a survey of residents and businesses in those wards affected to establish local opinion on the on a proposed Crossrail 2 underground line, (formerly known as the Chelsea-Hackney Line). The results of the survey will be fed into the Council’s response to the Transport for London consultation on Crossrail 2.

Tallest Residential Tower Given Planning Permission

Tower Hamlets has granted planning permission to build the UK’s tallest residential tower at 75 storeys which will contain 984 residential units. The same company has submitted a separate planning application for the Island Point Site which will include 173 residential units, which will include the affordable housing contribution from the larger mixed use site.

New flood defences for Cockermouth

The UK’s first self-closing flood barriers have been unveiled in Cockermouth which was devastated by flooding in 2009. A new 120m barrier, costing £4.4 million, has been installed along the river wall. It only rises when the river is in flood so as to protect views of the river and the town’s historic heritage at other times. The scheme also includes the improvement and strengthening of other riverside structures.

Slaugham Neighbourhood Plan and Community Right to Build Orders

A parish council in Mid Sussex has prepared a Neighbourhood Plan and two Community Right to Build Orders which have been published for consultation until 25 July. The documents are to be subject to examination in August and need to receive the approval of 50% of voters in a local referendum.

The plan sets out the vision for the council between 2013-2031 and sets out the level, location, type and phasing of new housing development. The Right to Build Orders propose retail and 76 unit residential developments on a site at St Martins Close/Coos Lane and a new community centre in Handcross. It is believed that these Orders are the first in England to reach this stage and effectively grant permission for the new buildings, removing the need for an application.

First Masterplan for Olympic Park’s first post games neighbourhood

The new Chobham Manor district which will be located between the East Village and the Lee Valley VeloPark is awaiting approval for its masterplan by the London Legacy Development Corporation. This will be the first of 5 neighbourhoods on the former Olympic site which will bring 6,800 new homes along with neighbourhood uses. The first of the 850 homes within this masterplan will go on sale in early 2015.

New Development Agenda in Newham

Newham Council this week set out its development ambition to deliver more affordable housing. Last month the council gave the go ahead for a council owned 500 home affordable housing site at Leather Gardens estate. The council aims to borrow cheaply from Government to enable the building of housing at affordable rents. The council aims to develop or acquire 2,800 homes over the next ten years.

New Floating Garden Bridge

The first new crossing of the Thames since the Millennium Bridge would join Covent Garden to the South Bank via a £60m floating garden bridge. However, this bridge is dependent on investment from the private sector as the Greater London Authority will not invest public money. This follows the Mayor’s ambition to create ‘an iconic piece of green infrastructure’ based on the model of the High Line aerial park planted on former railway track in New York.

Local Plan News

London Borough of Hounslow has reached the first consultation stage on the Policy Options for the review of the Local which remains open until the 26 July.

East Devon District Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy draft charging schedule is open for consultation until 12 July. This can be found on their website

Colliers International News

Colliers’ Jon Manns joins the Editorial Board of the ‘Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal’

We are pleased to confirm that Jonathan Manns, an Associate Director in the London Planning team, has been invited to join the Editorial Board of the Journal of Urban Regeneration & Renewal. The Journal is the professional journal for all those involved in, or with an interest in, regeneration and renewal initiatives and issues in towns and cities. It is particularly relevant to those responsible for managing key aspects of the urban regeneration process, from policy making and planning through delivery to longer-term management of development and programmes.

Jon’s invitation recognises his ‘considerable expertise and experience in the field of urban regeneration’ and we are pleased that he will now be helping steer the publication’s future.