City Fringe consultation

The GLA has published for consultation a draft City Fringe Opportunity Area Planning Framework.  This will become Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) when approved. Consultations close on Friday 13 February. Download documents at  The area now covered by this “city fringe” term is much larger than in earlier usage and surprises many people.

city fringe OA

Inspector’s report issued #falp14

The report by the Inspector on the Further Alterations to the London Plan 2014 has been published on the  GLA website

It starts with: Non-Technical Summary

“This report concludes that the London Plan as changed by the Further Alterations provides an appropriate basis for the strategic planning of Greater London provided the suggested and further suggested changes are made and my recommendations are accepted.

The recommendations can be summarised as follows:

  •   Committing to an immediate full review of the London Plan
  •   Removing references to London Boroughs being required carry out their own assessments of objectively assessed housing need
  •   Allowing London Boroughs to set their own income criteria with regard to intermediate housing

Just Space will add comments when they are ready.

London’s Industrial Land: Cause for concern

Cedar Way Ind Estate

Members of Just Space Economy and Planning (JSEP), Jessica Ferm and Edward Jones (Bartlett School of Planning, UCL), have recently completed a working paper, London’s Industrial Land: Cause for Concern, which will be presented at the JSEP seminar on 15 January 2015 at The Cass, Aldgate (further information to be posted here shortly).

The starting point of the paper is a concern with the on-going loss of industrial land in London, over and above targets for ‘managed release’ set in various iterations of the London Plan, and the potential impacts of the recent Further Alterations to the London Plan, which facilitate further release of industrial land in new designated Opportunity Areas and around transport nodes, in order to accommodate London’s future housing needs. The paper provides a wide-ranging review of research – including academic studies, think-tank and consultants’ reports, employment land reviews and business surveys – and draws on further evidence and examples across London, to argue that:

  • The nature of manufacturing is changing, but is still thriving and important for London’s future growth – the loss of manufacturing in London in recent years has primarily been due to real estate speculation rather than deindustrialisation.
  • Aside from manufacturing and core industrial uses, a range of other activities and businesses occupy premises on industrial land, benefiting from its relative affordability and lack of proximity to housing.  
  • Together these activities provide vital support to London’s economy and residents, and contribute to London’s diversity, vibrancy and overall status as a World City – as London continues to grow, it will need more (not less) of these goods and services.  
  • Businesses occupying premises on industrial land are locally dependent and part of a delicate local industrial ecology, where suppliers, customers and employees rely on a network of interdependent relationships.  Disrupting this can have far reaching consequences.
  • The move away from separating industrial land towards mixed use in London’s built environment – both on ideological grounds and in response to housing need – will have negative consequences, both for the well-being of Londoners, and for London’s sustainability.

The on-going loss of London’s industrial land is therefore a cause for concern: London’s broader economy and population will suffer if the current policy trajectory is not revised. There is urgency to this. The UK Government has proposed to further deregulate the planning system to facilitate conversion of industrial land to housing without the need for planning permission.  Concern is particularly acute in London where land value differentials between industrial and residential use are likely to drive redevelopment if Permitted Development Rights are extended.

During the course of preparing this paper, JSEP has convened seminars and conferences on London’s economy, where it has become evident that the issue of London’s industrial land is of real concern to members.   These events, the email forum for the group, as well as some of the written evidence compiled by members in response to the Further Alterations to the London Plan (GLA, 2014a), have helped to frame the research questions, contribute to the evidence base and provide leads to other studies and data. The contributions of the group have been invaluable to the production of the paper, but equally it is envisaged that the paper will provide a springboard for further research activity in the group.

For further queries, ideas or comments, please contact Jessica Ferm at 

new Grand Union Alliance forming at Old Oak Common

Saturday 15 November 2014 1030-1630h Tavistock Halls, Harlesden Methodist Church, NW10 4NE Conference of the Grand Union Alliance covering Old Oak Common, Park Royal, White City and Kensal Canalside — a new network of community groups seeking to defend their area as it becomes a transport hub, an “Opportunity Area” and a Mayoral Development Corporation. Contact: Details: and there is a flyer to download. Organised with JustSpace and the London Tenants Federation, supported by the Trust for London. Later:  a first report is very supportive, by Christian Wolmar, one of the speakers, on his blog: He stresses the need for local community groups to be strongly engaged in the planning of the area – much more so than the Mayor seems to have facilitated so far.

Just Space critical of Infrastructure Plan 2050

Just Space has told the GLA that a good infrastructure plan for London and its wider region would be a great innovation — but this is not it.

In a document of 6 November 2014, to which many Just Space organisations contributed, and which draws together our thinking and evidence over recent years, Just Space said:

    a. long-term planning for infrastructure is a good thing;
    b. this is not a good example of planning, however, because…
    c. it appears to be based in investor demands rather than Londoners’ needs;
    d. the Board proposed to oversee implementation has no community representation and important questions concerning London’s governance are not addressed;
    e. removing Infrastructure issues into a relatively private sphere means there is much less public scrutiny than we have for the London Plan with its EiP system;
    f. there are methodological failings in the forecasting which prevent this plan from being an exploration of alternative futures;
    g. equalities dimensions are comprehensively missing;
    h. reducing the need to travel has insufficient emphasis, indeed the anticipated concentration of jobs in the centre alongside the sacrifice of employment space in the suburbs would take London in the opposite direction.
    i. We do not consider that the proposals in the Infrastructure Plan (IP) amount to a strategy for sustainable development for a variety of reasons elaborated below.

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Demolish or refurbish? new evidence

Just Space and the London Tenants Federation are collaborating with the new Engineering Exchange at UCL where researchers have produced fact sheets and surveys of evidence for community use. This is a pioneering attempt by academics to focus their research on hot topics in the metropolitan community and has led to some first publications and to evidence to the London Assembly Housing Committee from Dr Sarah Bell and Dr Charlotte Johnson. More at 

engex muki sarah richard sharon
Prof Muki Haclay and Prof Sarah Bell with Richard Lee (Just Space) and Sharon Hayward (LTF) at the launch on 27 October 2014