Author Archives: Kathryn Waldron


What’s on in London?


Urbanissta’s ‘Girl on the tube’ Kathryn Waldron, has been catching up with what’s on in London. The London landscape is forever changing – new plans, new infrastructure and more air pollution.

With a draft of the new London Plan expected in the autumn, we thought now was a good opportunity to look back at what’s been going on in London over the past couple of months.

  • Silvertown Tunnel
  • Supplementary Planning Guidance
  • Opportunity areas
  • Air pollution
  • Planning applications

1 . Infrastructure – Silvertown Tunnel

With the decision made on the preferred option for the Thames Crossing through Thurrock and Gravesend, further west into the city, the planning inspectorate has recommended the nationally significant Silvertown tunnel project to the Secretary of State. The application was submitted in April 2016 and been the subject of six month of public examination.

The Secretary of State now has until October 2017 to decide whether or not to grant the application. Should the application be successful, TFL anticipate that Silvertown Tunnel construction would begin in 2018.

The earliest the Silvertown Tunnel could become operational is 2022/23.

The new tunnel would:

  • Reduce the impact of unplanned incidents at the Blackwall Tunnel by providing a nearby alternative route
  • Cut down on queuing at the Blackwall Tunnel and approach roads
  • Include user charging at the Blackwall and Silvertown Tunnels to manage demand and provide a source of revenue to help build and maintain the new tunnel
  • Provide an opportunity to create new cross-river bus links in east London
  • Improve road connections to and from Docklands and east London from South London
  • Improve journey times and make travel, deliveries and servicing more reliable

The tunnel will also create opportunities for new jobs in the local area, help local employers to access new markets and reduce the environmental impact of traffic congestion.

An extensive range of detailed information about the Silvertown Tunnel scheme is in the application documents. Find out more here.

 2 . Supplementary Planning Guidance- Affordable Homes and Night Time Economy

Information about Affordable Housing and Viability Supplementary Planning Guidance.

The Mayor’s long-term aim is for half of all new homes to be affordable.

Consultation on an ‘Affordable Homes SPG’ ran from 29th November 2016 to 28th February 2017. Last week, the Mayor published the new SPG Affordable Housing and Viability Supplementary Planning Guidance. 

This SPG supersedes section 3.3 (Build to Rent) and Part 4 (Affordable Housing – Viability Appraisals) of the March 2016 Housing SPG. The rest of that SPG remains current.

The SPG sets out the Mayor’s preferred approach to implementing London Plan Policies 3.11 (Affordable housing targets), 3.12 (Negotiating affordable housing on individual private residential and mixed use schemes), and 3.13 (Affordable housing thresholds).

The SPG’s main aim is to increase the number of affordable homes delivered through the planning system. Importantly, it will help embed the requirement for affordable housing into land values and make the viability process more consistent and transparent. It will help ensure that where development appraisals take place, they are robustly and consistently scrutinised, whilst its innovative approach will also reduce the risk and increase the speed of the planning process for those schemes which deliver more affordable homes.

The threshold approach

Two approaches to affordable housing viability are being proposed depending on the amount of affordable housing being provided.

Over 35% provision

Applications that meet or exceed 35 per cent of affordable housing provision without public subsidy, provide affordable housing on-site, meet the specified tenure mix, and meet other planning requirements and obligations to the satisfaction of the LPA and the Mayor where relevant – are not required to submit viability information. Such schemes will be subject to an early viability review, but this is only triggered if an agreed level of progress is not made within two years of planning permission being granted (or a timeframe agreed by the LPA and set out within the S106 agreement).

Less than 35%

Schemes which do not meet the 35 per cent affordable housing threshold, or require public subsidy to do so, will be required to submit detailed viability information. Where an LPA or the Mayor determines that a greater level of affordable housing could viably be supported, a higher level of affordable housing will be required which may exceed the 35 per cent threshold. In addition, early and late viability reviews will be applied to all schemes that do not meet the threshold in order to ensure that affordable housing contributions are increased if viability improves over time.

Where an LPA currently adopts an evidenced approach which will deliver a higher average percentage of affordable housing (without public subsidy) the local approach can continue to apply.

On the matter of vacant building credit the Mayor’s view is that in most circumstances in London it will not be appropriate to apply the Vacant Building Credit.

Viability appraisal approach

The Mayor’s preference is for using Existing Use Value Plus as the comparable Benchmark Land Value when assessing the viability of a proposal. The premium above Existing Use Value will be based on site specific justification reflecting the circumstances that apply.

Build to rent

Build to rent is a distinct form of affordable housing being promoted by the Mayor with Discount Market rent as the affordable housing offer with homes let at London Living Rent. Any on-site affordable housing must include provisions to remain at an affordable price in perpetuity or that the subsidy (this includes the Section 106 ‘subsidy’) must be recycled for alternative affordable provision. Guidance is also provided on how Build to Rent viability assessments differ from traditional appraisals.

Culture and the Night Time Economy Supplementary Planning Guidance

A draft Supplementary Planning Guidance on Culture and Night time economy was the subject of consultation between April and May 2017. Perhaps following a number of high profile events including the closure of the famous night club Fabric and the closure of pubs in favour of residential conversion.

The SPG cites that London has 103 fewer nightclubs and live music venues than it did in 2007 and 35% of its grassroots music venues have been lost. 140 pubs are also lost each year.

This work ties in with the work of The London Assembly Economy Committee which is investigating London’s night time economy and working towards a 24-hour city.

The investigation will look at what a diverse NTE could look like, how it might be sustained and its likely impact on those who will work in it.

This supplementary planning guidance (SPG) provides guidance on implementing London Plan policies that have a bearing on London’s culture and the night time economy including:

  • Protecting pubs
  • Sustaining existing venues
  • Providing new facilities
  • Creating a more diverse and inclusive night time
  • Culture and economy
  • Agents of change
  • Places

We can expect the new London Plan to have a stronger more defined stance on London’s evening economy.

3. Opportunity Areas – Old Park and Park Royal and Isle of Dogs and South Poplar

Old Park and Park Royal

Old Park and Park Royal were identified as an Opportunity Area within the London Plan.

The Old Park and Park Royal Development Corporation (ODPC)was created in April 2015. The Development Corporation is responsible for the regeneration of the 650 hectare site where Crossrail and HS2 will meet in the north west of London. It includes areas of Brent, Ealing and Hammersmith and Fulham.

The ODPC is essentially the local planning authority, and are responsible for preparing and maintaining a Local Plan or Development Plan.

OPDC carried out the first consultation on the draft Local Plan and its supporting evidence base documents between 4th February and 31st March 2016. The public consultation on the revised draft Local Plan and associated documents runs from 29th June until midnight and on 11th September 2017.

The spatial strategy for Old Park and Park Royal is the creation of one main town centre stretching from Willesden Junction to North Acton, and three Neighbourhood Town Centres. The commercial centre is to be located around Old Oak with Wormwood Scrubs to be retained as open space.

The anticipated adoption of the ODPC Local Plan is spring 2018.

Isle of Dogs and South Poplar Opportunity Area

The GLA are working with Tower Hamlets to create an opportunity area at the Isle of Dogs and South Poplar. This additional opportunity area would add to the 44 other Opportunity Areas adopted or in progress within London.

An Opportunity Area Planning Framework is being prepared with a target of 30,000 new dwellings and 110000 new jobs, 9% of the total minimum housing requirement identified for the Opportunity Areas.

A Draft Opportunity Area Planning Framework is anticipated at any time now.

4. Air pollution

The GLA are preparing detailed guidance on air quality. Four stages of consultation are programmed of which three have already been undertaken.

16,000 Londoners commented on stage one and over 15000 on stage two. Stage 3a closed in June and responses are to be published in the autumn.

The most recent consultation considered the public’s views on proposals to:

  • Introduce the ULEZ in central London on 8th April 2019, to reduce overall exposure to air pollution and bring forward the health benefits to Londoners. This is around 17 months earlier than the currently approved date of 7th September 2020. Additionally, ULEZ resident’s vehicles that are not compliant with ULEZ emission standards will benefit from a three-year “sunset period” or “grace period” from the start of the ULEZ
  • A change to the required ULEZ emission standard for diesel vehicles to include Particulate Matter (PM) to ensure alignment with the national standards set as part of the government’s National Air Quality Plan

Whilst consultation on the London Air quality plan is on-going, the GLA has set out that the Mayor will be launching a £10 toxicity ‘T-Charge’ aimed at the oldest, most polluting vehicles on London roads from 23rd October 2017, and introducing a requirement for all newly licensed taxis to be zero emission capable from 1st January 2018.

5. Planning Applications- referrals and directions to refuse

Application referrals

For the week commencing 21st August 2017, 4 applications were referred to the GLA, including a minor material amendment for a mixed use development in Bishopsgate, redevelopment of a fitness club in Fulham and a Waste Transfer Station in Havering. .

Directions to refuse

On July 17th 2017, the Mayor directed Bexley and Barnet to refuse applications in their boroughs.

Bexley were directed to refuse redevelopment of the Howbury Park to provide a strategic rail freight interchange. The scheme is considered inappropriate development in the Green Belt.

Barnet were directed to refuse an application at Hasmonean High School for redevelopment of the school to create a combined Boys and Girls school. The scheme was considered inappropriate development in the Green Belt and it was considered that there was a lack of sustainable transport measures.

Do you need more information about planning applications? Find out more here.

Follow our series of ‘Girl on the tube’ and see what London really looks like to a Planner.

“I’m the girl on the Tube, no stranger to the fast-paced life of London and I take the underground every day to and from work.

I rise up from the tunnels of bustling business people and enthusiastic tourists and step out into the streets of London. Sensibly putting comfort and practically before fashion, wearing my well-worn trainers instead of 6-inch stilettos.”

Girl on the tube Part One

Girl on the tube Part Two

Girl on the tube Part Three

Girl on the tube Part Four

Girl on the tube Part Five


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PIP- The Newest Acronym to the Planning Dictionary


Brownfield development planning article

Permission in principle (PIP) was first established in planning law when Section 150 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 inserted sections 58A, 59A and 70(2ZZA) to (2ZZC) into the 1990 Act.

The Housing and Planning Act 2016 (Permission in Principle etc.) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2017 was made on March 6th 2017. This instrument makes a number of consequential or miscellaneous amendments to four Acts of Parliament.

In our planning reforms blog, we set out a number of statutory instruments that would need to be made before the implementation of PIP. These include the Permission in Principle Regulations and the Brownfield Land Register Regulations which have now been made and came into force in the middle of April 2017.

There are three options for PIP:

  1. A qualifying body or local authority chose to allocate the site within an emerging plan
  2. The site is identified on a brownfield register. “brownfield land register” means a register kept under regulation 3 of the Town and Country Planning (Brownfield Land Register) Regulations 2017(b);
  3. An application to the authority for PIP

A PIP in itself does not constitute a permission, a technical details submission in required in accordance with the amended Development Management Procedure Order. A technical details consent would be required within 5 years of receiving the PIP.

We set out below the regulations for option 2- Brownfield Land Register

Brownfield Land Register

The Town and Country Planning (Brownfield Land Register) Regulations 2017 were made on 20th March 2017, Laid before Parliament 23rd March 2017 and came into force on 16th April 2017.

Article 4 of the Permission in Principle Order states that:

“Permission in principle is hereby granted for development of land allocated in Part 2 of a brownfield land register consisting of—

(a) housing development for the provision of a number of dwellings falling within the range specified in the relevant entry in the brownfield land register; and

(b) Where the relevant entry in the brownfield land register specifies non-housing development of the land, non-housing development of a description falling within the description in that entry


The regulations place a duty on local authorities to prepare a register of previously developed land (Brownfield Land Register) within their area and meets criteria of paragraph 1 of regulation 4, i.e. suitable for housing development. This register must be published by December 31st and it must be in 2 parts.

Part 1

To be within part 1 of the register, the following criteria applies in accordance with article 4.—(1):

  • The land has an area of at least 0.25 hectares or is capable of supporting at least 5 dwellings;
  • The land is
    1. Suitable,
    2. Available

Suitable meaning

  • allocated in a local development plan document
  • planning permission for residential development
  • has a grant of permission in principle for residential development
  • Appropriate for residential development with regards to natural environment and local built environment.

Available meaning

  • the owner expressed an intention to sell or develop the land, or
  • the local authority believe there to be no issues relating to ownership and legal impediments which might prevent residential development

Achievable meaning

  • The development is likely to take place within 15 years.

Note that this is different to deliverable which is taken to mean that there is a reasonable prospect that residential development will take place on the land within 5 years beginning with the entry date;

The part 1 register must include:

  • the local authority’s own reference for the land;
  • the name and address of the land;
  • a plan which identifies the land;
  • site co-ordinate and co-ordinate reference system used
  • the area of the land in hectares;
  • the name of the local authority;
  • the uniform resource identifier “URI”
  • the ownership status of the land
  • where the land is “deliverable” a note to that effect;
  • the planning status of the land, expressed as—
    • “permissioned”,( including full, outline or reserved matters, or permission in principle or technical details consent)
    • “not permissioned”, or
    • “pending decision”;
  • a description of any proposed housing development; or
  • the minimum and maximum net number of dwellings, given as a range, which, in the authority’s opinion, the land is capable of supporting;
  • the minimum net number of dwellings which, in the authority’s opinion, the land is capable of supporting;
  • where the development includes non-housing development, the scale of any such development and the use to which it is to be put;
  • the date that the land was first entered in the register; and
  • where applicable, the date that information about the land was last updated in the register.


The LPA must also show that they have undertaken the publication of the site in part 1 in accordance with the regulations. They must also show that they have given requisite notice of their intention to enter that land in Part 2,

Part 2

In accordance with article 4 of the Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) Order 2017, sites that are within part 2 of the register are allocated for Permission in Principle.

The site has to meet all of the requirements of part 1, and the Local Authority have decided to allocate the site for residential purposes and have undertaken consultation as required. This includes giving requisite notice in at least one place on or near the land for not less than 21 days stating the date in which representations may be made, where and when to view the information and how to submit representations. Spefic information must be published on a website maintained by the local planning authority.

In relation to each entry of land in Part 2, the register must contain—

  • the minimum net number of dwellings, and the maximum net number of dwellings, given as a range
  • where the development includes non-housing development, the scale of any such development and the use to which it is to be put.

The register must contain the information required by paragraph (3) of regulation 26 of the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2015(a) where—

  • development of that land would, in the opinion of the local planning authority, be a relevant project for the purpose of that regulation; and
  • The local planning authority is the competent authority for the purpose of that regulation.


The register must, in relation to that land, contain the statement “allocated for residential development for the purposes of section 59A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (permission in principle)” and the statement in Part 1, required by paragraph 1(2), if any, must be removed.

The regulations place a duty on local authorities to notify parishes or neighbourhood forums where they have requested notification of a proposed entry of land into part 2.

The regulations also set the requirements for undertaking consultation with neighbouring authorities, the Mayor of London and procedures for consulting other bodies.

Exemptions for certain types of land

Schedule 1 EIA development is excluded from entry into part 2 of the Register.  Schedule 2 development may be included within part 2 if the authority have the information available in accordance with the EIA regulations to be able to adopt a screening opinion that development on the site would not constitute EIA development.

Review and revision

Review must be undertaken at least once within each register year. Where land no longer meets the criteria, it must be removed. The local planning authority must not update the information required under paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 in relation to an entry of land in Part 2.

Where the land no longer meets criteria of paragraph 1 of regulation 4, it must be removed from part 1 and where applicable part 2

The local authority will need to consult as necessary and make updates to the entry

The LPA must not update the information relating to the minimum and maximum no of units and scale of non-housing development (paragraph 2).

Where an update to the minimum and maximum no of units and scale of non-housing development is required, or development of that land has been granted permission in principle under Section 59 of the TCPA

The land must be removed from part 2 and information amended in part 1. They must consult before making changes.

Where PIP has expired (5 years) the site must also be removed from part 2.

If you are looking for sites, come and talk to us. We can support your land acquisition activities using the brownfield land register and prepare a schedule that suits you to provide the greatest exposure to identify viable opportunities within any number of Local Authority areas.


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Nitrogen Deposits in Ashdown Forest affects a number of Local Authorities


Nitrogen deposition in ashdown forest article

Ashdown Forest is an ancient area of open heathland and is an area of outstanding natural beauty. The poor condition of Ashdown Forest however has led to concerns regarding air quality and traffic generation which are starting to impact upon the planning processes of Local Authorities close to the forest. 

After three years of monitoring the area Wealden Council has expressed concerns about damage from nitrogen emissions from motor vehicles and other sources. This has led to concerns that additional housing in the area will increase nitrogen deposition alongside roads close to the Ashdown Forest special area of conservation. We therefore explore the evolving position as we understand it from surrounding Local Authority areas.

What does this mean for you?

The nitrogen deposition in Ashdown Forest is of considerable concern to the delivery of housing. This article will update and advise you on issues affecting a number of boroughs and how this will impact decisions on potential new sites.

Wealden Council

The following planning documents are relevant to Wealden’s position:

• Wealden Local Plan Draft Submission dated 14th March 2017 Read document here

• Draft Proposed Submission Document – 15th March 2017 Read document here

Following the adoption of the Core Strategy (19th February 2013), the Council are now obliged to consider developments which would increase the use of the Ashdown Forest for recreational purposes. Having spoken to the Policy Team at Wealden, we were advised that any scheme put forward would need to mitigate its impact on the area and each application will be dealt with on a case by case basis.

Pages 14 to 54 of the emerging Local Plan make specific reference to Nitrogen Deposition. Paragraph 5.16 is of particular relevance – the Plan states that alternatives and mitigation have been considered so as to accommodate growth in the area despite harm taking place.

The Council have highlighted that compensation will be required for sites that have potential to create or improve Heathland. Compensation will need to be secured with a management strategy in place before any development commences.

The Plans states as follows:

“…This means our commitments of over 5000 homes can be built but we will need to get compensation into place before we can allow the further growth in the plan to be delivered. This need to protect the Ashdown Forest from further harm means that only growth outlined in this plan can take place”.

The Draft Proposed Document 2017 states:

“The nitrogen deposition levels are affected by traffic movements originating from across the whole District and beyond so there is no specific zone. Taking into account existing levels of traffic and development commitments that are in place there is already an unacceptable level of impact from nitrogen deposition in the areas close to the forest roads. As a result, any new planning applications within the District will need to show that they will not generate any additional vehicle movements in order to be considered for approval. This applies to development in the south of the District as well as the north. As a planning authority, we cannot guarantee that new vehicle movement, resulting from a development in the District, will not involve routes near or through the Ashdown Forest and lead to consequent environmental damage. Once appropriate compensation measures are in place, new development will be possible up to the level set out in the Plan.”

Any applications made after March 2017 will be placed on hold. The Council were unable to advise how long the applications will be on hold for. The position will be monitored over the preceding months.

For applications that have been allowed, permission will not be affected.

Take note

If development is being considered in the area and harm is identified then it is likely that mitigation measures will need to be in place and a contribution will also have to be made to the Council. It is not yet clear about the sum which is required. We will cover this in an updated blog post once the information is to hand.

In addition, we are of the understanding that Wealden are currently refusing to validate planning applications – which is currently of great concern.

Wealden District Council – visit website

Lewes Council

The High Court decision dated 20th March 2017, Jay Jl quashed parts the Core Strategy belonging to Lewes and South Downs National Park as it was considered that the Joint Core Strategy would have a significant effect on the SAC in combination with the Wealden Core Strategy.

It was ruled that Wealden were out-of-time in challenging Lewes’s adoption of the Joint Core Strategy, however could dispute the park authority’s adoption of it. He noted that the plans were flawed as the Habitats Regulations Assessment that relied on “advice from Natural England that was plainly incorrect”. Download the document here.

Lewes have provided a brief update and have stated that the Joint Core strategy (JCS) for Lewes District Council remains intact as an Adopted Plan as Wealden were held to be out of time to challenge it. It is understood that any applications coming forward in Lewes District which are outside of the National Park are in line with the Spatial Policies in the JCS will therefore be considered appropriate in accordance with the policies.
Any proposals that fall outside of the scope of the JCS will need to consider whether they will adversely impact any European protected site, either alone or in combination with other plans and projects. If harm is identified, this may necessitate an Appropriate Assessment as required by the Habitat Regulations.

Lewes District Council – visit website

Tunbridge Wells

Tunbridge Wells Council have advised that no formal statements have been made in respect of the same as they are currently reviewing their position and the implications for planning decisions within the Authority.
Once Tunbridge Well’s position has been made clear, we will provide further updates.

Tunbridge Wells District Council – visit website

Mid Sussex Council

Mid Sussex Council have confirmed that they are currently seeking legal advice in respect of the issue and their position. A formal statement is yet to be published. Once we have reviewed the statement, we can reappraise the situation and the impacts.

HBF & Summary

The HBF have advised that on behalf of the house building industry they will be entering discussions with Natural England to determine how this matter will be addressed through the planning system. It is anticipated that resolution will be like the SANGS mitigation required for the Thames Basin.

The Government published on the 5th May, consultation of the Air Quality Plan (consultation ends 15th June) which affects Lewes and South Down Joint Core Strategy challenge. The consultation specifically relates to nitrogen dioxide pollution exceeding legal limits along specific roads in urban areas.

A list of English Local Authorities with one or more road consistently exceeding legal limits including the GLA, Basildon, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Derby, Guildford, Fareham, Leicester, New Forest, Reading and Surrey Heath and Walsall.

Read the consultation documents here

The matter however is of considerable concern to the delivery of housing and as such, whilst currently no solution has been agreed between all the affected parties, a solution will need to be found, however it will be necessary to keep under careful review the activities of Tunbridge Wells, Mid Sussex and Lewes, to ensure that they do not follow a similar pattern to Wealden.

We’ll be monitoring the position and will keep you updated on progress.

This is something to be mindful of in any land bids in the affected areas. 

Read the Ashdown Forest 7km Protection Zone – The Facts – download document

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Girl on the Tube (April ’17 part3)


Girl on the Tube - Canary Wharf


I came across some old photos of London over the Easter Weekend so I wanted to recreate them to be able to see how much London really had changed. So I got on the D6 bus and went for a wander over to the Isle of Dogs and what I found did not disappoint. As I got off the bus, I was surprised to see this lone rectangular building standing tall. This is a sign of things to come.

10th April-16th April


The first old photo I found was of the Gun in the 1960s which is a popular place for the workers at Canary Wharf. It’s a Grade 2 listed building built in the 1800s, and according to some. Lord Nelson’s ghost haunts the pub.

In recreating this photo, the main difference is the cars. You can just see the yellow crane sticking out the back which is the Millennium Dome, I don’t even remember a time when the Dome wasn’t there.




Walking further down Manchester Road, I managed to find the spot in which the Queen’s Coronation party took place in 1953. Having my grandmother in this photo, I felt a close connection to this spot and how much change has taken place over 60 years. I felt a pang of nostalgia.

The houses on the right covered in the bunting still exist as does some of the wall on the left. Not much else remains as the pub on the far right is now a shop and the building on the far left is replaced with a row of houses.  Whilst the changes here are subtle, the overlooking Dollar Bay skyscraper overshadows the remains of the 19th century buildings.

South Quay

I carried on walking along Marsh Wall to recreate the photo from 2002 when Heron Quays was being rebuilt. It’s quite difficult to explain what has happened because Canary Wharf is shadowed by the so many new buildings of a range of shape and sizes. The only similarity here are the red cranes.



I remember when there was just one tower on the skyline in the 90s.


I continued walking up to west ferry circus, trying to absorb the height of the modernist glass covered buildings and what has happened, it has become a place I don’t really recognise anymore.








The traffic light roundabout has been replaced with one tree.

Looking to my left over the River Thames I catch a glimpse of the city skyline. I think I’ve just experienced the city changing over 60 years in front of my eyes.




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Government reveals its preferred option for Lower Thames Crossing


• Option C- Connecting the M2 with the A13 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30 through a bored tunnel.

The Government have been considering Thames River crossings as an alternative to the Dartford Crossing since 2009 and today the preferred option has been revealed. For over 50 years, the Dartford Crossing has provided the only road crossing of the Thames east of London and it is recognised as a critical part of the UK’s major road network carrying local, national and international traffic.

Highways England acknowledge that a new crossing is needed to reduce congestion at the existing Dartford crossing and this additional crossing could unlock economic growth, supporting the development of new homes and jobs in the region.


2009 – In 2009, there were 5 potential crossing options explored

2011 – A Lower Thames Crossing became a top 40 priority infrastructure project

2012 – 5 options became three

2013 – Option B was discarded by the Government

2014 – Highways England commissioned to undertake assessment of two potential options

2016  Highways England consult on the two remaining options, and set out option C is the preferred option.

  • Option A- site of the existing A282 Dartford Thurrock Crossing
  • Option C- Connecting the M2 with the A13 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30 through a bored tunnel.

The Route Consultation received 47,034 responses, making it the largest ever public consultation for a UK road project

• Option C- Connecting the M2 with the A13 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30 through a bored tunnel.

Source: Highways England

Today April 12th 2017-Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announces that Option C is the preferred option

The details

Option C will comprise a bored tunnel crossing under the river Thames East of Gravesend and Tilbury. A new road north of the river will join between junction 29 and 30 and a new road south of the river which will join the A2 east of Gravesend.

The project will costs between 4.4-£6.2 billion pounds and is due to be open by 2025.

Why option C?

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling supported option C because the crossing would create more than 6,000 jobs and boost the economy by more than £8bn.

What do the affected local authorities think?

Thurrock Council have been very vocal in objecting to any plans that would create a further crossing within the Borough and have been committed to campaigning against the proposals, including the publication of “17 reasons against the Dartford Crossing”. In responding to the announcement today, council leaders have expressed outrage with the decision. Cllr John Kent, said: “Now is the time for Thurrock – its people, it’s businesses, and its council – to come together and fight as one.

Gravesham Borough Councilors, in which Gravesend is located, are equally disappointed with today’s decision, and remain resolutely against option C.

We can expect that this wont be the end of the Council’s fight to reject option C.

What other options are considered to reduce congestion on the Dartford Crossing

Within the east of London, there is a heavy reliance on a small number of crossings including the Dartford Crossing and the Blackwall Tunnel. TFL have consulted on river crossing options within the east. An examination is currently underway on the potential for a Silvertown tunnel.

Future options for TFL include developing the concepts of new bridges at Gallions Reach(2) and Belvedere(3).

Thames River Crossing possible sites

Source:Thurrock Council

Key URLs:


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Girl on the Tube (April ’17 part2)


Girl on the Tube


with the clocks changing and it still being light when I leave the office, I opted to walk home from Kings Cross along the Regents Canal.  I know what you’re all thinking- crazy! I’ll be needing some new trainers in no time.

But with my Three Peaks Challenge set for September I need to prepare myself mentally and physically. Walking along the Regents Canal also gave me an opportunity to get out the camera and really look at the buildings and the changing canal landscape. I was interested to see the mixture of old and new, and lots of activity.

27th March – 4th April

Regents Canal map

Kings Cross

Starting at Granary Square, I could see the work taking shape to fit out the gasholders.


There is quite a mixture of design styles along the canal as a modernist building sits next to a row of Victorian houses, probably warehouses once upon a time.  But it doesn’t look out of context in the way that some developments in a village setting may look out of context. I guess the water setting provides much more flexibility, although slightly constrained by the site size.


Talking of water constraining development, I was amused to see a relatively new building covered in grass-making up for not being able to have a front garden I guess.

You can tell what’s new and what’s old. The new developments sit up tall and thin covered in glass and render compared to the older smaller brick buildings. I think I prefer the old to new in this canal setting, as it reflects the historic role of the canal.


I knew I was entering the Shoreditch section of the Regents Canal as there were bustling pubs and loud music. The Shoreditch sign on the wall was also a good clue!

There is a lot of redevelopment activity taking place in Shoreditch and Hackney, again one to keep an eye out for.

Mile End

And then as I finish my walk around Mile End, I’m reminded I’m back in the city.  I can’t help but stop and reflect on the development at Canary Wharf in the distance and the pace at which change has occurred over my lifetime.


The views expressed below are my own and do not reflect the views of Urbanissta

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Girl on the Tube (April ’17)


Girl on the Tube

I’m the girl on the Tube, no stranger to the fast-paced life of London and I take the underground every day to and from work.

I rise up from the tunnels of bustling business people and enthusiastic tourists and step out into the streets of London. Sensibly putting comfort and practically before fashion, wearing my well-worn trainers instead of 6-inch stilettos.

When I travel to and from the office I study, not books but buildings and developments. Noting changes in the landscape, taking photographs and retaining the memory of a derelict building and enjoying the aspects of a new structure put in its place.

I keep a diary, and for those of you with an interest in planning, developing and architecture – I hope you find my notes and photographs useful and my knowledge insightful.

March 24th– March 27th 2017

On my travels this week I’ve taken the tube to Borough, Waterloo and Aldgate with the hope of seeing interesting developments each time I surfaced from the different underground stations.

Borough via Limehouse


Borough via Limehouse

I was on an RTPI Course today about Local Plans, based just up from Borough Tube Station (Planners among us know exactly which building I mean).

My journey took me on the DLR and I noted a half deconstructed building with the crane in the basement. This is a development that I’m going to keep an eye on because I’m curious as to whether the building will become something more like the one on the right, or if it will become more of a glass clad office block. Give it six months and potentially I will be waving at a handsome man sitting in his office chair, maybe a designer or solicitor?

Borough development

London is a city that intrigues me.  I watch the people, admire the architecture and sometimes cringe at the new developments. I try to capture growth and impressive transformations. Sometimes the changes are profound, especially if I have been away from the big city for a while.

When I eventually got to Borough, I saw a residential development taking shape right opposite the London Underground station.  It looks to be well on the way as the building itself is complete.  It will be a mixture of 1, 2 & 3 bedroom apartments and penthouses.

Borough Underground station development

Every day, my trusty trainers and I rest my legs whilst we travel through the streets of London on the bus.  It allows me to get another perspective of the buildings and to appreciate how we desperately need more housing.


I was on my way to the National Theatre on Sunday and when I came out of the Waterloo mainline station and walked towards the London Eye, I was surprised to see that the footbridge was closed. The previous brutalist style office block was completely gone and replaced with a mixture of half completed blocks, cranes, diggers and men in high vis jackets.

I since discovered that the Shell Centre is being redeveloped into a mixed use residential office and retail scheme with 790 new homes. With the power of Google you can see that between July and now, four new blocks have gone up!

Having taken a few photos, I also noticed a block taking shape in the distance. I need to look into what that one is going to be. Interestingly, I found out that it is actually nicknamed the vase! I always wonder who comes up with these names.

Waterloo development

Waterloo development


I was on my way home from an appointment in Whitechapel on Friday and it was such a lovely sunny day I decided to take the bus. As a Planner, the bus provides me much more intrigue than a dark tunnel!  After getting slightly lost in the back streets of Whitechapel I found my bus stop on the Commercial Road. Aldgate is definitely a changing landscape, having driven past an empty building site for a number of years, the rate at which these blocks are going up surprises me.


Aldgate development

It makes me think of Manhattan with the style of the buildings, the materials and the windows. Although in Manhattan you don’t get a good old east end pub a few metres away!

Until next time…

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