About Michael Edwards

staff in the Bartlett School of Planning and cooperating with others in UCL and with the Just Space Network to support London citizens' inpu

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  http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/planning/london-plan/further-alterations-to-the-london-plan

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

A ‘long-term economic plan’ for London

Today the Mayor, with the Chancellor of the (UK) Exchequer, held a press conference at Tate Modern and announced this plan.  The full text is on a government web site here.

This ‘plan’ closely resembles the London 2035 document produced last month, prepared by McKinsey and Co for London First and presented by them to the London LEP (London Enterprise Partnership) with the addition of a long list of projects.

Neither document was based on consultation with Londoners or their organisations, but both appear to reflect the interests of big business.

Just Space will be working over the coming months to help citizens and community organisations to develop their own ideas about what should be in a London plan which would serve Londoners. Recent work by Just Space and its member groups suggests that priorities would include:

  • Raising GDP through raising wages and productivity in what are currently low-paid jobs and sectors (which would contribute to greater equality, compared with the Mayor’s emphasis on high pay sectors).
  • Diversifying the economy of London, nurturing the public and private enterprises we DO have in all sectors, not just focusing on new inward investment in a few services.
  • Maintaining and growing services and jobs in manufacturing, making and re-making of all kinds, retrofitting and greening the city’s activities – which would mean protecting land and buildings where people work in suburban London from the threat posed by the switch of land to over-priced housing.
  • Focusing housing policy on stopping the shrinkage of the social housing stock, turning that round and growing the social-rent sector; improving conditions and lowering rents in private housing.

(blog post in progress)

Alarm at loss of London industrial space

Jenny Jones who chairs the Economy Committee of the London Assembly has issued a strong critique of the Mayor’s policies (or failure to stick to policies) on protecting industrial buildings and land from the developers who would convert almost anything to housing. In her report she draws on Just Space work, on published academic work from UCL and Cass Cities.  Her report can be downloaded at https://www.london.gov.uk/media/assembly-member-press-releases/green-party/2015/02/mayor-plans-for-london-manufacturing-to-disappear-within-fifty

Meanwhile the GLA has allocated £100,000 for a study of industrial land, with this brief, to report in May/June.  URS consultants and Peter Brett & partners (formerly Roger Tym) (and perhaps others) have been shortlisted and a decision will be made soon (note added feb 19.)