Author Archives: Kathryn Waldron


Is the NPPF Trying to Nationalise the Sale of Land?



Thats what the HBF Think…

In recent months, and potentially longer within London boroughs, viability has moved from a standalone matter to a key consideration within planning decisions in both policy and development management. This is highlighted within the emerging Draft National Planning Policy Framework (published March 2018) at paragraphs 34, 57 & 58 which require Local Plans to set out the level of contributions to be sought from development whilst ensuring these do not make development unviable. Where proposals accord with relevant up to date policies, the matter of viability does not need to be addressed. Where a viability assessment is required, the assessment should accord with the National Planning Policy Guidance approach to standardised methodology.

The HBF argue that Paragraph 34 is not consistent with paragraph 57 in that it moves away from the rules set out in paragraph 57 (and the tests set out in Regulation 122 of the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010) into the realms of value capture.

Viability in short is the difference between the price paid for a site compared to the costs of building a development. A development scheme is only viable if, after taking into account all development costs into account including site value, the scheme provides a competitive return so that a scheme can be implemented and the land value is sufficient to incentivise a landowner to sell.

Components of Viability

I’m no surveyor but my simple mind understands that viability comprises:

  1. Value of land
  2. Development costs
  3. Return to Developer

1.Land Value

The starting point to assessing viability is to establish the benchmark land value. The Benchmark Land Value is made up of the Existing Use Value with a premium to the landowner which should reflect the minimum price at which a landowner would be willing to sell their land.

The price at which a landowner would be willing to sell their land can be subjective as an individual may wantmore than the actual value of a site. Where a local authority may be under pressure to deliver sites and their preferred sites undeveloped by landowners not wishing to sell as depressed values, sites may be granted permission either by either LPA or on appeal. As the HBF rightly point out this will not result in homes being developed faster or more sustainably.

Existing Use Value (EUV) is defined as the value of the land in its existing use together with the right to implement any development for which there are extant planning consents, including realistic deemed consents, but without regard to other possible uses that require planning consent, technical consent or unrealistic permitted development

EUV can be established by assessing the value of the specific site or type of site using a range of sources of information. The NPPG advises that:

“Determining the existing use value of the land should be based on the assumption that no future planning consents will be obtained, but including the value of any consented use”.

The NPPG requires Benchmark Land Value to:

  • Fully reflect the total cost of all relevant policy requirements including S106 and CIL
  • Include abnormal costs, site specific infrastructure costs and professional site fees
  • Allow for a premium to landowners (including equity resulting from those building their own homes); and
  • Be informed by comparable market evidence of current uses, costs and values wherever possible. Where recent market transactions are used to inform assessment of benchmark land value there should be evidence that these transactions were based on policy compliant development. This is so that previous prices based on non-policy compliant developments are not used to inflate values over time.

The Benchmark Land Value would be established through engagement with plan makers, landowners, developers, infrastructure and affordable housing providers. Whilst engagement makes sense, it is not clear who would intervene if parties disagree on what the Benchmark Land Value should be.

A premium to the landowner above the Existing Use Value would be determined by plan makers in consultation with developers and landowners and a minimum premium can be established by looking at comparable sites which would establish the price paid having regard to outliers in market transactions, the quality of land, expectations of local landowners and different site scales.

2. Development Costs

Costs are defined as follows:

  • Build costs based on appropriate data, for example that of the Building Cost Information Service;
  • Abnormal costs, including those associated with treatment for contaminated sites or listed buildings, or costs associated with brownfield, phased or complex sites. These costs should be taken into account when defining benchmark land value;
  • Site-specific infrastructure costs, which might include access roads, sustainable drainage systems, green infrastructure, connection to utilities and decentralised energy. These costs should be taken into account when defining benchmark land value;
  • The total cost of all relevant policy requirements including contributions towards affordable housing and infrastructure, Community Infrastructure Levy charges, and any other relevant policies or standards. These costs should be taken into account when defining benchmark land value;
  • General finance costs including those incurred through loans;
  • Professional Fees, project management, sales, marketing and legal costs incorporating organisational overheads. Any professional site fees should also be taken into account when defining benchmark land value; and
  • Explicit reference to project contingency costs should be included in circumstances where scheme specific assessment is deemed necessary, with a justification for contingency relative to project risk and developers return.

 The NPPG requires as far as possible for costs to be included at the plan making stage

3. Return to Developers

A return to developers is assumed at 20% of Gross Development Value or 6% in consideration of affordable housing. The NPPG advises that Plan makers may choose to apply alternative figures where there is evidence to support a different figure according to the type and scale of development.

Gross Development Value is defined as total sales and/or capitalised net rental income. These can be calculated using market evidence from the site itself or from comparable existing developments and adjusted to suit the site circumstances.

The HBF argue that The proposal to include just 20% of gross development value as a suitable return to a developer (with a lower figure of just 6% on the delivery of affordable housing) will not be appropriate in all circumstances or for all types of developer. While the guidance on viability acknowledges this fact it gives no guidance on when deviation from this standard approach would be necessary. It is also unclear from the guidance as to whether the application of “alternative figures” might result in a lower return to a developer as well as a higher one.

Transparency & Commercially Sensitive Information

The NPPG sets out in detail the approach to be taken to ensure accountability of assessments, and that assessments should be prepared and published in such a way to aide and support decision makers. The NPPG requires the preparation of a summary report using a standard template currently being created by CLG.

Assessments should be drafted on the basis that they will be made publicly available other than in exceptional circumstances. This aligns with the London Mayor’s approach that assessments would be made public where a developer would not commit to providing 50% affordable housing on public land, and 35% on private land.

The HBF would agree with the NPPF at paragraph 58 which suggests that where a site cannot support a policy compliant application (for site specific reasons) then a viability assessment should still, in exceptional circumstances, be submitted. However, there would still be elements of such appraisals that are commercially sensitive and have suggested that applicants should be allowed to agree with local planning authorities where this is the case and why and agree that this limited information is redacted.

The HBF also believes that there should be a clear transition period to move towards this radical new approach of development viability. Many sites and projects will be considerably advanced towards development using the current assumptions and methodology of site by site negotiation. An overnight change to this regime will threaten many sites in terms of meeting agreed minimum land values. A transition period of at least five years is considered appropriate.

All in all, the proposed change to viability assessments could well result in a slow down with less homes being delivered faster and in a sustainable manner.

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Silvertown Tunnel Consent Order Granted


The Development Consent Order for the Silvertown Tunnel has been approved by a Statutory Instrument (No 574). The Silvertown Tunnel Order 2018 was made on the 10th May 2018 and comes into force on the 31st May 2018. The decision was delayed for six months to take into account additional measures for air quality.

The consent order, found on the Planning Inspectorate Website allows for 21 separate items of work including:

  • Construction of a twin bore highway tunnel for a length of 1,440 metres from a portal on the Greenwich peninsula.
  • Improvement of the existing two-lane A102 Blackwall Tunnel southern approach. southbound carriageway over a length of 595 metres from a point 260 metres south of the existing Blackwall Tunnel Southbound South Portal to a point 20 metres south of the existing gantry on the existing slip road.
  • Improvement of the existing two-lane A102 Blackwall Tunnel southern approach northbound carriageway over a length of 500m.
  • Improvement of the existing Tunnel Avenue from a point 65 metres south of a point level with the junction of the existing Tunnel Avenue with Morden Wharf Road.
  • Construction of a new two-lane carriageway over a length of 150 metres forming the southern approach northbound carriage, and construction of new two lane carriageway for 160m forming the southbound carriageway.
  • Improvement of 45 metres of the A102 Blackwall Tunnel southern approach southbound carriageway two-lane diverge slip road leading to the existing Millennium Way.
  • Construction of a new cross-over between the northbound and southbound carriageways of the improved A102 Blackwall Tunnel southern approach.
  • Construction of a new bus-only carriageway linking the existing A102 Blackwall Tunnel southern approach southbound carriageway.
  • Improvement of the existing Pavilion Lane to provide a new bus-only carriageway,
  • Construction of a new Boord Street foot and cycle bridge to provide access for non-motorised users across the A102 Blackwall Tunnel.
  • Works associated with the construction of a Silvertown Tunnel services compound on the north and south portal.
  • Construction of a replacement gas pressure reduction station.
  • Permanent diversion of statutory undertakers’ apparatus and works associated with such diversions, located in Boord Street and Millennium Way.
  • Construction of the new Silvertown Tunnel northern approach
  • Improvement of the existing Tidal Basin Roundabout for a length of 415 metres,
  • Construction of Dock Road on a new alignment.
  • Improvement to the existing Tidal Basin Road to include resurfacing works to the existing Tidal Basin Road.
  • Construction and subsequent removal of a temporary jetty for transportation of materials to Royal Victoria Dock.
  • Dredging and mooring works.

The order allows TFL to construct, operate and maintain the Silvertown Tunnel. The Order would permit Transport for London to acquire, compulsorily or by agreement, land and rights in land and to use land for this purpose. The Order also includes provisions in relation to the operation of the existing Blackwall Tunnel regarding speed limits, penalty charges and byelaws. The order also allows for the implementation of user charging at both tunnels.

A Silvertown Tunnel Design Review Panel will be set up along with the Silvertown Tunnel Stakeholder Design Consultation Group

There are 14 schedules attached to the 187 page document. Schedule 2 part 1 reads like a set of conditions which require:

  • Time limit-5 years
  • The authorised development must be designed and implemented— (a) in accordance with the design principles; and (b) in general accordance with the general arrangement plans
  • TfL must consult with the Silvertown Tunnel Design Review Panel; and the Silvertown Tunnel Stakeholder Design Consultation Group, during the detailed design of the authorised development
  • specific work items details to be submitted and approved
  • code of construction practice
  • No part of the authorised development may be commenced until the following plans and strategies, required by the code of construction practice, have been prepared
    • Construction Site River Strategy:
    • Emergency Plan:
    • Fire Plan;
    • Lighting Management Plan:
    • Site Waste Management Plan
  • No part of the authorised development may be commenced until the following plans and strategies, required by the code of construction practice, have been prepared
    • Air Quality Management Plan
    • Archaeological Written Scheme of Investigation
    • Community Engagement Plan
    • Construction Materials Management Plan ;
    • Construction Traffic Management Plan
    • Ecology Management Plan
    • Flood Warning and Evacuation Plan
  • Groundwater Monitoring and Verification Plan
  • Noise and Vibration Management Plan;
  • Passage Plan
  • Construction Environmental Management Plan:
  • Landscaping scheme
  • Monitoring and mitigation strategy
  • secure implementation of measures approved in accordance with the approved programme
  • TfL must— (a) implement a monitoring programme in consultation with the members of STIG; (b) prepare— (i) quarterly monitoring reports for a period of one year from the Silvertown Tunnel opening for public use; and (ii) annual monitoring reports thereafter, derived from that monitoring, and submit them for consideration by the members of STIG
  • Not less than three years before the Silvertown Tunnel is expected to open for public use TfL must install Nitrogen Dioxide (“NO2”) monitors at locations determined in accordance with paragraph 3.7.4 of the monitoring and mitigation strategy.
  • The authorised development must be carried out in accordance with the flood risk assessment.
  • No part of the authorised development may open for public use until a written scheme of proposed noise mitigation measures in respect of the use and operation of that part has been submitted to and approved in writing
  • Prior to the opening of the authorised development for public use, TfL must install noise barriers to protect properties in the Siebert Road, Invicta Road/Westcombe Hill area from the effects of traffic noise from the A102.
  • TfL must secure a cross-river bus service provision using the tunnels which delivers the same or greater levels of public transport
  • TfL must secure the provision of enhanced river crossing facilities for cyclists and pedestrians between the Greenwich Peninsula and Canary Wharf and Silvertown for at least the duration of the monitoring period,
  • authorised development must be carried out in accordance with the biodiversity action plan and mitigation strategy.
  • No part of the authorised development may commence until a site investigation and risk assessment has been carried out
  • The Silvertown Tunnel must not open for public use and the tunnel services buildings at the South Portal comprised in Work No. 12 must not be occupied after their practical completion until the hazardous substances consent for the East Greenwich Gasholder Station site has been revoked or modified
  • The Silvertown Tunnel must not open for public use until the hazardous substances consent for the Brenntag Inorganic Chemicals Ltd site has been revoked or modified
  • Re-use of excavated material on-site
  • Local business transitional support

Part 2  of Schedule sets out the procedure for discharging the requirements of Part 1 of the order including submitting draft documents to Newham, Greenwhich and Tower Hamlets prior to formal submission.

Schedule 3 sets out the approach to stopping up roads including roads to be temporarily closed, permanently closed or substituted.

Schedule 4 sets out the land in which only new rights may be acquired

Schedule 5 Details Approach To  Modification Of Compensation And Compulsory Purchase Enactments For Creation Of New Rights

Schedule 6 Land In Which Only Subsoil Or New Rights Above Subsoil And Surface May Be Acquired

Schedule 7 Land Of Which Only Temporary Possession May Be Taken

Schedule 8: Removal Of Motor Vehicles And Recovery Of Penalty Charges

Schedule 9: Blackwall And Silvertown Tunnels Byelaws

Schedule 10:Classification Of Roads, Etc.

Schedule 11: Article 61 Traffic Regulation Measures, Etc

Schedule 12 :Deemed Marine Licence

Schedule 13: includes protective provisions

Schedule 14: Article 65 Documents To Be Certified

Tfl’s website states:

“Now that the DCO has been granted, we are working with local boroughs, landowners and other stakeholders to outline the next steps for the project. This includes agreeing details of land acquisitions, construction plans and access requirements for residents, visitors and local businesses as the scheme progresses”

“We are now working to procure a contractor to design and build the tunnel. We hope to confirm a preferred bidder in winter 2018 and award the contract in early 2019 so that construction can begin later in that year” 

Construction could begin in early 2019, with the new tunnel expected to open in 2023.

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Girl on The Tube Returns


This years Girl on the Tube starts on the River, the Limehouse Cut to be exact.

The Limehouse cut is a part of my local area I haven’t really explored until recently, mostly because it wasn’t very inviting. But my interest has peaked recently since seeing paddle boarders and canoers enjoying the waterway, as well as unusual bird species.

The Limehouse Cut is one of London’s oldest waterways dating back to 1766 according to the Canal and River Trust. It was created to save barges having to wait for the tide before navigating the long southward loop of the Thames around the Isle of Dogs.

The Canal and River Trust itself acknowledges that this section of river has previously attracted an unsavoury reputation. However, the Cut’s fortunes have changed since it was adopted by 19 local organisations led by Poplar Harca in September 2016.

Now seems like the perfect time to explore the Canal a bit more.

There’s so much to absorb along the river including…

…New green spaces

Three Mills Green is the first completed part of the Lea River Park which will see new open spaces including Twelvetrees Park, situated around seven Victorian gas holders, and Poplar River Park.

…Major Infrastructure Works

Opposite the Three Mills Park, the Pudding Mill Lane to Stepney Green Crossrail tunnel is being constructed.

…Historic Conservation

The Three Mills has been in existence since the Saxon times. The historic buildings form part of the Three Mills recording studios.

…Historic Regeneration in progress

In the distance, you can just make out Robin Hood Gardens.

This building  has had  a controversial history as attempts to save the building from demolition were made by the 20th century society.

“The Smithsons were the first architects of twentieth century Britain to make a hugely significant contribution to world architectural discourse, and Robin Hood Gardens is an outstanding example of post-war British architecture”,

Robin Hood Gardens is included in the Blackwall Reach development which was approved in 2012, and two attempts to save the building from demolition by world renowned architects were rejected, most recently in 2015. Demolition started in August 2017.

Part of the building is currently on display  at the V&A’s Venice Architecture Biennale.

…Retention & Repurposing of warehouses 

There are a few pockets of industrial pieces of land still to be seen on the riverside as the majority of the buildings move into residential use. Some have cleverly retained the warehouse facades as part of redevelopment.

…New Development

Such as this new block of apartments going up by Fairview Homes.

Whilst there is a lot of change going on, I think the local wildlife are enjoying the cleaned up waterway.

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The London Plan- In case you Missed it


The London Plan is the strategic planning policy document for all London Boroughs and forms part of the statutory development plan for each authority. It sets the strategic housing requirement for the whole of the metropolitan area and how this will be delivered as well as setting the strategic approach to other matters such as economy, design, heritage open space and landscaping and technical details such as renewable energy and drainage.

The current version of the London Plan was first adopted in 2011 with changes made during the course of 2015 and 2016.

The new London Plan or ‘Replacement Plan’ as it is also known was published for consultation in December 2017. This revised plan sees a step change in approach to planning decisions as it goes much further than being an overarching strategic planning document. Upon its anticipated adoption in 2019, it will come into effect straight away and the way in which it written means that authorities would not need to prepare a Part 1 Local Plan.

Whilst the Mayor is seeking to take some of the control of the function of the Boroughs, it doesn’t look to take all of them including the duty to co-operate. As the HBF wrote in their representations, the Mayor cannot pick and chose which functions they want to perform. The Mayor also proposes to set a metropolitan wide level for affordable housing at 50%
The Replacement Plan will run from 2019 to 2041 and sets a requirement of 64,935 dwellings over the first 10-year period. The capacity is made up of 400,470 homes from large sites and 245,730 homes over the 10 year period from small sites of less than 0.25 ha.

There is also reliance on increasing the number of units on those opportunity areas identified in the current London Plan and identifies approximately 9 new Opportunity Areas.

Development at Kings Cross Opportunity Area

Current and emerging Opportunity Areas. London Plan SHLAA 2017

There is a heavy reliance on brownfield land and optimising potential on:

  • Sites of PTAL 3-6
  • Mixed use redevelopment of car parks and low density retail parks
  • Intensification of residential on commercial leisure and infrastructure sites
  • Redevelopment of surplus sites
  • Small sites
  • Industrial sites
  • Sites that are allocated for residential and mixed-use development

There is also a general presumption against single use low-density retail and leisure parks.

Green Belt
The plan identifies that all the dwellings proposed can be provided within the City without extending out into the Green Belt. Policy G2 London’s Green Belt states that:
A The Green Belt should be protected from inappropriate development:
1) development proposals that would harm the Green Belt should be refused
2) the enhancement of the Green Belt to provide appropriate multifunctional uses for Londoners should be supported.
B The extension of the Green Belt will be supported, where appropriate. It’ s de-designation will not.

Given that 800,000 people commute between the City and the wider South East on a daily basis, it is questionable as to whether 65,000 dwellings can be delivered within the boundary of London. Nevertheless, the approach to Green Belt reviews should be undertaken by local authorities within their Part 1 Plans.

Commuting Patterns across London and wider region. London Plan 2017

The Plan Identifies 12 infrastructure priorities that the mayor will support within the Wider South East as they are of importance to the city. These include:

  1. East West Rail and new Expressway road link (Oxford – Cambridge)
  2. North Down Rail Link (Gatwick – Reading) including extension to Oxford
  3. A27 / M27 / A259 and rail corridor (Dover – Southampton)
  4. West Anglia Mainline, Crossrail 2 North (London – Stansted – Cambridge -Peterborough) and M11
  5. Great Eastern Mainline (London – Ipswich – Norwich) and A12
  6. Essex Thameside, A217 and A13 corridor
  7. Thames Gateway Kent : Elizabeth Line Extension and HS1 (London – North Kent -Channel Tunnel)
  8.  Lower Thames Crossing
  9. Brighton Mainline (London – Gatwick – Brighton)
  10. South West Mainline, Crossrail 2 South West (London – Surrey / Southern Rail Access to Heathrow) and A3
  11. Great Western Mainline (London – Reading / Western Rail Access to Heathrow)
  12. Midlands and West Coast Mainline (London – Luton – Bedford / Milton Keynes)
  13. Felixstowe – Nuneaton / Midlands and A14

There has been a lot of discussion regarding the removal of the density matrix within Policy DM6 of the Replacement Plan in favour of higher densities across all sites. Policy DM6 requires the submission of a Management Plan where density is exceeded in the following cases:

  1. 110 units per hectare in areas of PTAL 0 to 1
  2. 240 units per hectare in areas of PTAL 2 to 3;
  3. 405 units per hectare in areas of PTAL 4 to 6

All of these units per hectare standards are those applied to central locations suggesting that a higher density approach to new developments will be the normal approach. A high-density scheme in a suburban location may not be appropriate.

The Policy also requires that
“measures of density should be provided for all planning applications that include new residential units:

  1. Number of units per hectare
  2. Number of habitable rooms per hectare
  3. Number or bedrooms per hectare
  4. Number of bedspaces per hectare.”

So, the density matrix whilst not there will still clearly play a part in the decision-making process for authorities.

Tall Buildings

Policy D8 states that the definition of a Tall building can be made by each local authority, again suggesting the approach to higher density development wherever possible. A tall building is still referable to the GLA if it exceeds 30m.

Policy D2 requires design reviews to be undertaken at least once in addition to pre-application advice if they are:
– Above the density indicated in Policy D6
– Propose a building defined as tall building or that is more than 30m in height where there is no local tall building definition.

The approach to design should be taken by each authority within their Part 1 Plans. The approach to tall building design reviews is not helpful when read with Policy DM8.
Within Policy D3 inclusive design is promoted but no clarification is provided as to the threshold for inclusive design.

The Replacement Plan states that Boroughs should identify Strategic Areas for Regeneration in Local Plans based on a thorough understanding of the demographics of communities and their needs.

Affordable Workspace
The Replacement Plan emphasises the need to provide affordable workspace and low cost business space through Policy E3 Affordable Workspace

Basement Development
A Policy is now included on the need to assess large scale basement development along with a Policy also stating that any applications for fracking should be refused.

Public Houses
More protection for pubs is now included along with a policy requiring the provision of public toilets in proposals that involve people standing for long periods of time.

There is now clear guidance on how to deal with managing heat risks, requiring an assessment of overheating through CIBSE TM59 for domestic developments and TM 52 for non-domestic developments. In addition, TM 49 guidance and datasets should also be used to ensure that all new development is designed for the climate it will experience over its design life. The

Air Quality
Whilst air quality is addressed in reference to other policies in the current London Plan, air quality requirements are addressed as a standalone policy in the Replacement Plan, requiring development to not lead to further deterioration of existing poor air quality, or create areas that exceed air quality limits.

The Replacement Plan sets a Policy aim for development to achieve greenfield run off rates as the starting point. Development proposals for impermeable paving should be refused where appropriate, including on small surfaces such as front gardens and driveways.

Car Parking
Car-free development should be the starting point for all development proposals in places that are (or are planned to be) well-connected by public transport, with developments elsewhere designed to provide the minimum necessary parking (‘car-lite’) with maximum standards.

Those proposals with parking included need to include electric vehicle charging points.

Strategic Approach to Transport

The Replacement Plan sets out a significant list of transport infrastructure projects proposed to deliver the strategic target of 80% of all trips in London to be made by foot, cycle or public transport by 2041 and authorities in preparing development plans would need to support these projects. Such projects include the Silvertown Tunnel, Crossrail 2 and the provision of a new bridge linking south to east at Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf.

Next Steps
The Examination in Public will take place in the Autumn of 2019 with the adoption of the final London Plan in the Autumn of 2019.


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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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