Call to reject this London Plan
Letter sent to all Members of the London Assembly on 3 February 2020
On 6 February the Assembly will consider the Mayor’s draft new London Plan before the GLA has received the Secretary of State’s formal response to the Plan. The SoS has written that he will provide his response on or by 17 February, so the 6 February debate is procedurally unfair and irrational as Assembly members should have an opportunity to study the response before deciding on the Plan. We question the logic and lawfulness of this 6 February decision and urge Assembly Members to defer their decision to the 6 March meeting.
The draft new London Plan should not be adopted. Just Space and its many member groups challenged the draft plan on many deficiencies throughout its progress, have chalked up some small gains but it remains a Plan which will further deepen inequalities in the city and fall badly short on environment.
The emperor has no clothes. We call upon the Assembly to send it back for a complete re-think.
Like its predecessors, the London Plan reinforces the dominance of property and financial interests in the development of the city, at the expense of low- and middle-income Londoners, the environment and the ordinary economy.
Specifically, the draft Plan is bad because of its…
- Deepening inequalities and poverty, particularly in the provision of cheap housing;
- Failure to discharge the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) from the outset of the planning process. If the Mayor had considered the PSED properly from the outset – and the duty to consult those groups properly – he would have had some chance of achieving the ‘Good Growth’ he favours.
- Failure adequately to consider alternative strategies, notably the Just Space community-led plan of 2016. (LSE London made a similar challenge, arguing the need for an explicit evaluation of alternative strategies beyond the London built-up area.)
- A mistaken approach to housing based on maximising total housing numbers, rather than protecting and growing the stock of council and low-rent housing which is London’s overwhelming need. This mistake will lead to the backlog of unmet housing need getting even worse in the coming years, families being sent miles from home if they become homeless and to those who do find housing spending so much on rent that they can neither save nor enjoy London.
- Failure adequately to protect the jobs and services in London’s industrial areas, in and behind high streets and in town centres as land is switched to produce yet more expensive homes. This failing makes the economy less robust, increases the need to travel and would have regressive effects on many protected equalities groups.
- Weak approaches to climate change and bio-diversity, lacking urgency, tangible measures and timelines of target outcomes. failure to meet the requirements of the UK Habitats Directive in concluding that the London Plan will not have adverse impacts on Natura 2000 sites, and the last minute removal without consultation of Policy G6 C(3) which required Boroughs in their development plans to provide net biodiversity gain when harm to a SINC is unavoidable. [Second sentence added on web after the letter was sent to Assembly Members.]
- The absence of convincing ways of paying for social and physical infrastructure without cutting the provision of low-rent housing; contributing to unsupportable increases in housing density and land price inflation, especially in Opportunity Areas which are supposed to contribute so much of the housing we need.
- Continuing failure to devise and require transparent and democratic mechanisms for the designation, planning and implementation of Opportunity Areas.
Download PDF version of this letter: Reject this London Plan 03022020