Defending housing and industrial estates

Just Space has written to the Mayor and the GLA planners, responding to a call for suggestions for potential large housing sites:

To: London SHLAA <>
Cc: Mayor of London <>
Subject: Re: London SHLAA – Call for Sites

Dear Sir or Madam

I am making these comments on behalf of Just Space, a network of groups aiming to get more of the community involved in matters relating to planning.

We are concerned that the call for submission of large sites will lead to the submission of housing estates and industrial estates.  These are often described as brownfield land.  However, they are not, because they are already in use, either as homes or as work places.

The process of redeveloping these sites, usually as expensive blocks of flats or offices, is leading to the loss of housing that Londoners can afford to live in, and the loss of small or medium sized businesses that provide many Londoners with work, as well as providing services to many other London people and businesses.

Just Space has done extensive research on this question and has much evidence of this destructive process.

We urge due consideration of this aspect when examining the sites that are proposed.

Yours sincerely

Pat Turnbull – on behalf of Just Space

On 18 May 2016, at 18:17, London SHLAA <> wrote:

The GLA is undertaking a new housing capacity study to inform the next London Plan. This study is known as the London Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) and is prepared in partnership with local planning authorities in London.

As part of this process we are currently running a Call for Sites. This allows stakeholders and individuals to submit potential housing sites for consideration as part of this housing capacity assessment. Deadline 30 June.

Further information on the Call for Sites is available on the GLA’s website:

Latin Elephant: the future

Published on 6 June, The Case for London’s Latin Quarter: Retention, Growth and Sustainability  (Authors: Patria Roman-Velazquez and Nicola Hill) sets out a strategic vision for the development of the existing Latin American business cluster at Elephant and Castle (EC) in the Borough of Southwark, London.

It is supported by a series of development proposals which together seek to maximise opportunities arising from the process of urban change. It also identifies existing barriers to growth for this business cluster and provides recommendations to overcome these so that the valuable entrepreneurial activity of migrant ethnic businesses (MEBs) can continue whilst helping to maintain social cohesion.

The existing Latin Quarter is widely regarded as an integral part of the current and future retail offering for EC. However, small migrant and ethnic businesses require alternative models for retention, economic growth and sustainability in light of regeneration. These have been considered throughout the study and are outlined in the report accordingly.

The report includes one chapter on Migrant and Ethnic Businesses and Urban Change, and sets 3 priority areas and 10 recommendations for engaging with and increasing participation of migrant and ethnic retailers under intense processes of urban regeneration. It presents evidence on MEB’s and some definitions for migrant entrepreneurship, ethnic entrepreneurs and migrant and ethnic economies.

Executive Summary:

Full Report:

This is the blog post with condensed summary & links to the report:  You can follow developments on this site.

Coverage in The Guardian 7 June:

This initiative is in tune with the Just Space proposals for understanding the diverse economies of London – made in our response to GLA Economics in the previous post on this blog.

What London economy?

The new Mayor of London’s staff risk offering him advice on London’s economy which is biased in favour of big corporate business, disregarding the potential —even the existence— of the ordinary economy of London’s high streets and industrial estates, its ethnic economies, street markets and small firms. The draft “Economic Evidence Base” emphasises the finance, business services and technology sectors which generate such high profits, rents and salaries in London while paying little attention to the low-pay fields in which half of London’s people work: catering and hotels, caring, driving, cleaning and retailing. As for manufacturing, despite its innovation and its high average productivity, the economists treat it as a declining sector and seem content to leave it to the property markets to determine what survives the competition from an inflated housing market. [Hardly surprising it’s a declining sector when its land is being ‘released’ for housebuilding at 3 times the planned rate.]

The GLA is to be congratulated for having consulted Just Space last year as it drafted its report, and then again after its draft was published in February. At each stage, and in three meetings, the Just Space Economy and Planning Group made clear what it considered to be necessary improvements, though without much detectable impact so far. Now the group has submitted a detailed 20-page commentary which is intended to re-balance the “Evidence Base” before it lands on the new Mayor’s desk. The Just Space commentary is here: 160523b JSEP comments on EEB-final


London’s future has industry

Just Space Economy & Planning – London’s future has industry

at Makerversity, Somerset House
On Wednesday 11 May Just Space Economy and Planning held a meeting to follow up on the Making the City Ideas Workshop which took place in March 2016. The meeting was attended by 20 participants from a range of backgrounds, including long-standing members of Just Space and JSEP as well as some participants from the Making the City event.


Overview of the Making the City Ideas Workshop

Following the seminar on industrial land held by JSEP and CASS Cities in January 2015, a working group was set up to focus on industrial capacity issues and develop solutions to put forward to the Mayor of London. Continue reading

(some) Mayoral candidates respond…

Just Space wrote to the 4 main candidates for Mayor, asking for their commitment to work collaboratively and at an early stage with community groups and residents in the co-production of the next London Plan.   We have received replies from 2 candidates as below by 3 May. 
Statement from Sian Berry, Green Party candidate for Mayor 
“The drafting of a new London Plan presents us with a fantastic opportunity. For far too long, documents like these have been produced by the Mayor, debated by the London Assembly and then sent out for consultation in the community, which is neither a creative nor a particularly efficient way of operating, because it just kicks off a lot of antagonistic to-ing and fro-ing. I agree with Just Space that the early and effective involvement of community organisations of every shape and size in the co-production of the Plan would deliver a better outcome, based on consensus not diktat. If I’m elected Mayor that’s precisely how I’ll set about creating this new chapter of London’s history.”
Statement from Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor
‘I can confirm that I am very happy to make a commitment to work collaboratively and at an early stage with community groups and residents in the co-production of the next London Plan.  I believe that genuine and early consultation is essential in planning.  Local residents know the issues and needs of their community and are well placed to give guidance and advice.  The Liberal Democrats believe strongly in localism and this commitment is very much in line with our values.’
Sian Berry and Caroline Pidgeon are also standing as London Assembly Members.

New reports…

The GLA has just released the three recent reports by the Outer London Commission. They cover relations with surrounding regions, speeding up housing delivery and means of accommodating growth (of jobs as well as homes). The reports (and many contributory documents) can be downloaded at

Also released is research ‘Older Londoners and the London Plan. Looking to 2050″ referenced in the recently published Housing SPG at

Jennifer Peters (GLA) writes “Older Londoners are the fastest growing population group in London  and already contribute around £9bn pa to economic activity in the capital. To ensure future London Plan policies are responsive to the needs of older Londoners the GLA commissioned this “thinkpiece” from Three Dragons, Celandine Strategic Housing and Mead Solutions Ltd to explore how this could be achieved as part of the forthcoming Review of the London Plan. The report contains a detailed analysis of local plan policies specifically affecting older people across all London Boroughs and includes a series of case studies showing how, through relatively small changes to the planning system, life could be better for older Londoners than it is today.”

Industrial land supply…

“The GLA has published the London Industrial Land Supply and Economy Study 2015 by consultants AECOM in association with Cushman & Wakefield, We Made That and Maddison Graphics. The document and appendices can be downloaded via the following link under “Economy, employment, offices and industry”:
This study assesses the supply of industrial land in London in 2015. It looks at how much industrial land has been released over the period 2010-2015 as well as potential future release of land in the planning pipeline. The study analyses employment and business in designated industrial sites and assesses trends in industrial land supply in the inner south east of England and compares these with trends in London. The study also considers the potential economic and congestion impacts of a reduced supply of industrial land in the capital.” Just Space was notified by Gerard Burgess of GLA on 18 March 2016