London Legacy Development Corporation put to test tonight

Wallis Road studios

Just Space took part in an important Local Plan examination, March 3 – 12, bringing together community groups and individuals from Stratford and Hackney Wick to challenge and try to improve the LLDC’s new Local Plan policy. The London Legacy Development Corporation is the Mayor’s planning authority for an extended area around the Olympic Park. (More detail on this work will follow soon.)

The main concern is whether the Corporation’s development plans will benefit local communities and result in the aim of economic ‘convergence’. Valued local employment is directly threatened by the loss of industrial buildings in Hackney Wick, Fish Island and Sugar House Lane and on Carpenters Estate where thriving and viable businesses have now to compete against landowners’ expectation of building high-density housing.

Tonight these issues are put to the test when the Corporation’s little-known planning committee decides on two applications in Hackney Wick. You are invited to attend the meeting to scrutinise the process.

6pm TODAY March 24, LLDC offices, Level 10, 1 Stratford Place, Mountfichet Road, London E20 1EJ (next to Stratford station Westfield exit).

Hackney Independent highlights the link between retaining the heritage buildings and affordable workspace. At 80-84 and 88 Wallis Road, officers recommend demolishing all buildings on the site except one, even though they mark the majority as ‘Heritage Assets’ on the Conservation Area map. Approximately 32 businesses are listed as occupying Main Yard while artists and the organisation Affordable Wick (who also appeared at the Examination) do not believe artists and small businesses will survive relocation into the new buildings.

The proposed Groveworld scheme is for high-density housing blocks and the application includes a bizarre redacted light study showing the complexity of planned developments all around the site with the evident loss of viable employment space on sites owned by the LLDC itself.

A document showing the agreement for affordable workspace and affordable housing for the Wallis Road site will be revealed at tonight’s meeting. The Committee Reports are here.

Just Space and others will continue to scrutinise and highlight the LLDC plans.

Revised London Plan is now out

There have been press stories today from Cannes reporting that the Mayor of London has announced (at MIPIM) an ambitious new London Plan.  In fact what has happened is that the Further Alterations to the London Plan (#FALP14) which were debated in last year’s public hearings – EiP – have finally been integrated with previous versions and published. This is now the operative London Plan and can be downloaded from the City Hall web site

Work is starting on a complete review of the London Plan (and Just Space plans a conference in the summer on what it should contain).  Meanwhile a further set of minor alterations is expected to be published for consultation immediately after the UK general election in May 2015.

Just Space consulted on new housing document

The GLA is preparing to issue a consultation draft of Supplementary Planning Guidance on Housing. Just Space was invited to a meeting to comment on what the planners are preparing.

Just Space is in difficulty commenting because an SPG is supposed to elaborate policies already established in the London Plan, not make or modify policy. Since many of the housing policies contained in the London Plan have been fiercely and consistently opposed by Just Space and its member organisations, commenting is almost impossible. One member describes it as ‘embroidering the emperor’s new clothes’ and there is mention of deckchairs on the titanic. All we can do is to welcome the positive elements and seek to mitigate the worst impacts of the Mayor’s policies.

Just Space looks forward to commenting in detail on the Draft SPG, publication of which is expected on 11 May, just after the General Election (when the next round of draft Alterations to the London Plan are also expected).

Meanwhile, here are the Just Space comments submitted today.

Just Space comment on City Fringe OAPF

In response to the Mayor’s consultation on a draft Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF) for the City Fringe, Just Space submitted a short comment, supporting the Mayor’s evident attempt to limit the damage to local economic activities from the voracious demands of residential development, but highly critical of the procedures being followed in the planning process. The full statement is here

LLDC Local Plan Examination starts this week

Just Space has facilitated and submitted observations and objections to the London Legacy Development Corporation’s draft Local Plan. [The LLDC, a “Mayoral Development Corporation”, is in effect the 34th Borough in London and is responsible for local planning.]

A Planning Inspector will examine the Plan in Stratford beginning at 10am on Tuesday 3 March. Address: Level 10, 1 Stratford Place, Montfitchet Road,
Stratford, E20 1EJ.

Just Space says:

“We consider the Local Plan is not legally compliant and does not meet the duty to cooperate. We also consider the Local Plan is unsound because:-

  •  It has not been positively prepared
  • It is not consistent with national and regional policy
  • It is not justified
  • It is not effective”

Read the submission in full: LLDC Local Plan – Just Space representation October 2014

JSEP and Cass Cities event – London’s industrial land: cause for concern?

IMG_0693 Last month The Cass in Whitechapel hosted a meeting of JSEP network members which addressed the loss of industrial land in London. Professor Mark Brearley (The Cass), formerly of the GLA, kicked off the evening with a presentation setting out ‘23 thoughts about industrial land in London’. The visually engaging presentation took the form of a series of vignettes, each sketch providing an insight into often overlooked aspects of industry in London. Dr Jessica Ferm and Edward Jones (UCL) presented highlights of their working paper on London’s industrial land, arguing that loss of industrial land is running above strategic guidelines, with real estate speculation and rampant residential land values driving redevelopment of industrial premises for ’mixed use’. They showed evidence that manufacturing is changing, but not dead; industry continues to be important for London and industrial land provides low-cost business premises to a wide variety of businesses aside from manufacturing and industry. Together, these activities provide vital support to London’s economy and residents, and contribute to London’s diversity, vibrancy and status as a World City (a copy of Jess and Ed’s working paper can be accessed here). Roy Tindle reflected on the broad range of activities happening in industrial premises in south east London, pointing to examples of firms whose activities are often strategically important and of great value. He highlighted the self-defeating nature of London’s present development trajectory – how will high end flats, restaurants and bars get built and operate without aggregate yards, warehouses and breweries? Christian Spencer-Davies then provided a valuable insight into creative production in King’s Cross, reflecting on the progress of Camley Street Neighbourhood Forum which has brought together businesses and residents. The diversity of uses in Camley Street and their importance to London was clear from the presentation. Members then discussed the recently released London First and McKinsey ‘Economic Development Plan’ and reflected on the inspector’s report on the Further Alterations to the London Plan. Myfanwy facilitated a productive discussion, resulting in a number of important action points – convening an ‘open’ Cass seminar on industrial land, preparing briefing documents to set out major issues around industrial land in London (both for the public and technical audiences), producing media focussed short videos and securing resources for further research. All these actions are currently being pursued by network members. On Monday 2nd March Jess and Ed will be presenting their research on London’s industrial land at the LSE (4.30pm – 6.15pm at St Clements Building, Room STC.S75). All are welcome to attend. Note changed start time.