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
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
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.
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“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.”