M34-5 Design 5 March

Warning: Just Space and UCL are trying to make available some sort of record of what happens in the EiP for the benefit of community members. Notes are being taken by students and checked/edited so far as possible by more experienced staff and others. Neither Just Space nor UCL offers any guarantee of the accuracy of these notes. If you wish to depend on what was said at the EiP you should check with the speaker or with the audio recordings being made by the GLA. If you spot mistakes in these notes please help us to correct them by emailing m.edwards at ucl.ac.uk

Delivering good design

Note: Un-rehearsed alliance between Just Space, Footwork architects and NHS.


  • GLA: Policy D1 sets out extensive criteria; focused mainly on physical attributes of design. Physical as well as experience; safe, inclusive —what design leads to in terms of what you experience in environment. Drawing on work of Jan Gehl— how you experience urban environment – how does the human interact with the city. Number of factors that combine to make experience. Physical leads to experience.
  • Defend that policy is London-shaping.


London Tenants Federation

  • Question/concern in references of ‘character’… it’s not just about design, its about social content, what kind of communities live there, what is their economic status. Has huge impact.
  • Expressed concern of Harlesden residents with huge development coming to Old Oak Park Royal opportunity area. How does this design policy shape or form to protect that kind of existing community?


London Forum

  • D1/2: These aren’t policies they are process/procedures better dealt with in guidance, however problem with that as they then aren’t scrutinized.
  • Very worried about democratic deficit, lack of openness/transparency and community engagement as negotiated in private between LAs and developers etc – community only get to see the output of this, don’t get to see input.
  • Community want greater transparency and say over future of development
  • In a city for all Londoners, Mayor wants communities to feel comfortable with nature and scale of development…however there is a MISMATCH of mayor’s aspirations with what we have here —which is a technician document!
  • Worried that D1/D2 cut people out process.



  • Welcome changes made to draft on local distinctiveness and welcome given comments regarding human-centred approach outlined by GLA of Jan Gehl approach..… however they ARE NOT FOLLOWED THROUGH IN D1/D2. There is huge gap between that spirit and way which policy is expressed here.
  • Particular concern way in which plan as a whole is silent around NIEGHBOURHOOD planning approaches to resolving tensions. In order to understand local distinctiveness, would Like to see communities encouraged to go down neighbourhood planning route.
  • London is made up from a number of villages… we don’t want London Plan to lead us down road to change/development in London that is uniform, ‘anywhere places’ which leech distinctiveness away from London. This can be overcome by engaging communities more proactively.


Just Space

  • D1B needs to demonstrate the community engagement process undertaken at appropriate time and how it influences the design.
  • Instead of using social indices of multiple deprivation as a headline, our idea is to have this mechanism of social impact assessmentto find out which of these assets are important to people, which directly relates to what is designed and planned there.


Footwork architects:

  • Define good design in policy?
  • Agree with Just Space and others that emphasis on this policy informing area planning is important in that it’s an understanding of the social contextof places before a red line appears around a site that then informs quality of development proposals put forward.
  • In the mayor’s introduction, he defines good growth and acknowledges that there is social process to design.
  • Design can’t claim to be good If doesn’t acknowledge local context or people’s needs, wishes and what people value in a place. Then can act on this in how an area can be protected and enhanced.
  • Need to define mechanisms for understanding local character and social context prior to development, need a proper assessment and early intervention and a requirement to act on this information
  • Need to show an understanding of likely social impact of development
  • Promoting inclusivity requires an understanding of existing social makeup and what well-integrated communities are in order to avoid displacement of existing communities and businesses.
  • To avoid formless places? Acknowledge SOCIAL HERITAGE alongside built heritage, reference to local identity as to what makes each place unique.



  • GLA has said LP is a different type of document from local plans and therefore NPPF 2012 doesn’t necessarily apply, which we take issue with! As it has been our understanding throughout that the soundness of LP is assessed against NPPF…
  • GLA shouldn’t get away with ‘cherry picking’s what it gets away with
  • D2 We have an issue with as it is wordy and difficult for applicants to interpret and navigate and comply with. REMOVE D2 as we think design matters are better addressed at local levels


London NHS

  • What is missing is what contribution design makes to social interactions, well-being and health.
  • no mention of impact on people’s lives and communities’ health and wellbeing in policy design.


City of London Corporation:

  • Good design is not always about aesthetics
  • It’s how people feel welcomed irrespective of economic position
  • Way designs are translated to public and we welcome concept of 3D virtual reality – to engage Londoners in understanding design proposals


Inclusion London:

  • D1: need fully funded access panel with people who understand things for large development and local developments – inclusive expertise. Access and inclusion panels and forums to check over development again and again;
  • Need to challenge assumptions and habits. Rethink and revisit
  • Inclusion actions aren’t referenced throughout


Friends of the Earth

  • Agree with above that D1: missing crucial elements such as environmental sustainability
  • Need to acknowledge that London characteristics is not just about heritage features but of public spaces/squares and green cover.



GLA response:

  • Feel that exclusion of communities from process/democratic deficit is dealt with in D2. Also view that issue of local distinctiveness and requirement for London boroughs to do something with initial evaluation and use this to inform policy is dealt with in D2.
  • Plan must be read as a whole!



  • Impact on mental health is major failing!! (NHS London)
  • Need to have further clause specifically relating to engagement and collaboration (footwork architects)
  • The (profit) numbers are going to continually trump everything else (in reference to HBF), and public participation will be seen as block not benefit. We need to put something in plan where we stop just using the numbers. Where is the limit? (Just space)
  • Plan needs direct reference to how community engagement can be useful in process, (CPRE)
  • D1/2 are NOT London specific. We Agree with HBF that these aren’t policies. Tokenistic additions are not going to solve fundamental problem. (London Forum).
  • Concern over capacity of LBs to undertake the work, with lack of resources and skills in place making. Since 2014 mayor undertaken surveys to see what place-shaping capacity they have; results are revealing over 1/3rdlack confidence in place-making skills and large % difficulty in retaining their place-making staff (London Assembly Planning Committee)







  • Concerned by the focus on appearance OVER impact and outcome on community using it
  • In reference to analytical tools, which are visual and environmental, we propose including HEALTH IMPACT ASSESSMENT IN THERE.


London First:

  • Support use of master plan, design code and review where appropriate


Footwork architects:

  • THERE’S a WIDESPREAD VIEW that retaining the initial design team is important
  • Protection of design integrity is something that has been compromised particularly on major schemes.
  • Design review is important process as it ensures development proposals deliver on their promises. Communities often feel disenfranchised and that their power to influence schemes is limited. Good design review according to guideline can ensure that these social requirements are adhered to or at least respected in process


Just Space:

  • Local input is important. Going outside borough in this policy, there isn’t place for the local consultation results.
  • Best way this can work: if applicant brings consultation results that have already happened to the design review so people know what the local feeling is.
  • Local consultation comments should be introduced to benefit design review


London Forum:

  • Securing initial design team involvement could be required
  • “Design code” – needs explanation


Just Space:

  • Master planning ought to have consultation component in it
  • Do not agree with 150 M policy over there in City of London – far too high – more City of London buildings should come to the mayor





  • Is it necessary? Principles are embedded in plan to remove barriers to inclusion, it is necessary to ensure that focus continues. Include as many Londoners as possible.


Design council:

  • Inclusive approach positive
  • Well expressed



  • High standards of inclusive design is vague – applicant wouldn’t know or decision maker know how to respond to that. ‘highest standards’ is too vague.



  • Inclusive design is defined in such a narrow way!!!
  • Only reference to physical barriers NOT SOCIAL BARRIERS !!!
  • Social accessibility needs to be cleared up


Just space:

  • Build on/ amplify what Footwork Architects said (without prior collaboration).
  • Create inclusive communities; Age friendly cities/communities.
  • Design for aging population is a life course approach. To support aging population you need social cohesion to avoid inter-generational conflict and to facilitate downward and upward transfer of resources and knowledge between people in different age groups.
  • Needs of young, excluded groups, families – all need to be included.
  • If just talking about physical barriers – when we think about the lifts in A3: those also with cognitive and sensory impairment – who could have issue exiting in emergency
  • Community engagement: resourcing issue. Find it hard to reach groups with valuable voices such as; LGBT, older generation and minority groups. Reaching those has to be done through voluntary organisations who often have the capacity, contacts and knowledge but can’t respond effectively without resources.


London Forum:

  • Support policy but seek changes
  • British standards institution 2005: define inclusive design with regard to access to services and in design policies there is not enough emphasis on this. There are barriers to access to services as well as points that people want to meet!
  • Proposed that more emphasis on walkable communities and maintenanceof those walkable neighbourhood.


NHS London:

  • Inclusive design in terms of social aspects addressed
  • As GLA say it’s focused on physical barriers
  • Suggestion: inclusive design statements and the fact that there’s no requirement of master plans and design codes to embed and document inclusive design at policy level
  • reference to British standards by London Forum: they’re broader then physical aspects , also touch on neuro-diverse individuals and their experience. Broader aspect bringing the social is important!!
  • Glossary importance: no mis match between this and policies.


Friend of the Earth

  • Policy doesn’t fully reflect the internal access of buildings. Often, buildings call themselves accessible but internally have no accessible toilets etc
  • Reference to refurbishment – existing buildings are often hopeless – so many places that doesn’t bother with physical access anymore – how we can make London more accessible in the physical sense? Policy needs to refer to refurbishment as well as new building, especially for shopps and town centre uses – and even where planning permission not required.


Assembly planning committee:

  • Support need for broader definition in policy, not just access issues.



  • Mis match between inclusive design between glossary and use in policy.
  • D3: DOESN’T touch on social and attitudes to design.
  • Moved on from lifetime neighbourhoods to inclusive neighbourhoods

notes from Gabi Abadi

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