Challenging the London Plan

[14 August] The web site for the Examination in Public now has links to the complete set of submissions made in March and to a new version of the London Plan with ‘minor alterations’ in red. There is also a complete set of the supporting documents – the ‘evidence base’. Thanks to Prof Ian Gordon at LSE for pointing this out.

[2 August 2018] The Web site for the Examination in Public (hearings) on the draft new London Plan has now appeared. Check it frequently for updates to the timetable. We understand that the draft list of proposed Matters for examination and of Participants is not likely to appear until September, though a preliminary note may be published in August and so may be the full set of representations made during the consultations. [See the end of this post for link to most of the community submissions.]

[4 June 2018] The more we digest the 2017 draft new London Plan, its Impact Assessment and other supporting documents, the more alarmed we become for the future of London as an inclusive city. Just Space and its member groups are gearing up to challenge it during the coming months of debate. Update from the GLA follows (but the timetable in these bullet points has since slipped. See our later posts.) :

  • there were 4,000 responses to the consultation draft, including postcard campaigns and Talk London (responses to an online survey);
  • Examination in Public (EiP) Panel of 3 inspectors is now in place and will be announced soon.  It will be serviced by Carmel Edwards, Programme Officer, and Jinder Ubhi, Admin Assistant (Jinder works at GLA);
  • GLA London Plan team aim to forward all the responses to EiP Panel by the end of June, with Mayor’s comments and early suggested changes to the draft Plan;
  • All responses will go on-line in July;
  • The Annual Monitoring Report on the London Plan (normally every Feb) won’t be published until July.
  • The Panel’s draft list of the “matters” they propose to examine in public is  expected in August, when the EiP office will open. This draft list (which also identifies which organisations and individuals will be invited to hearings on each issue) is open to challenge for a short while;
  • Technical seminars will be held in September;
  • EiP hearings are expected to start in November and run through to March 2019.

Just Space will make further postings here, including statements of position on the key issues.  Meanwhile the consultation responses of Just Space, its member-groups and many others are gathered together here. Let us know of any important ones we have missed by commenting below.

Estate ballots

[April 2018 + later additions at the end.] Just Space responds to the Mayor of London’s Consultation on whether and how ballots should be held as a pre-condtion for estate “regeneration” schemes which  involve demolition of people’s homes. The response is firm and strong, calling for

  • the Mayor to use planning powers as well as grant-making powers
  • all schemes involving demolition to be covered, not just big schemes
  • ballots to be held early in consultations to reduce the anxiety and disruption of  lives which result from uncertainty
  • voting eligibility must include all household members, not just those named in tenancies or on council waiting lists;  the age cutoff should be 16 and ballots should include tenants who have already been moved moved away but expressed an interest in returning after redevelopment.

Continue reading

draft London Plan: responses

Just Space response

Consultations on the draft new London Plan and its associated
Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) closed on 2 March 2018.
Download complete JustSpace response (116 pages) here:
Just Space on new London Plan complete

For those who don’t want it all, here are comments on the separate chapters:
0 Introduction  JS on Chapter 0
1 Good Growth  JS on chapter 1
2 Spatial Development  JS on chapter 2
3 Design (+ housing density)  JS on chapter 3
4 Housing  JS on chapter 4
5 Social Infrastructure  JS on chapter 5
6 Economy*  JS on chapter 6
7 Heritage and Culture  JS on chapter 7
8 Green Infrastructure and Natural Environment  JS on chapter 8
9 Sustainable Infrastructure  JS on chapter 9
10 Transport  JS on chapter 10
11 Funding  JS on chapter 11
12 Monitoring  JS on chapter 12

and JustSpace supporting documents:
IIA Just Space response
Just Space – community participation in regeneration
London Plan Community Mapping

JustSpace cooperated with students & striking staff at UCL in a “teach-in” on Wednesday 7th at which a summary of this response to the London Plan was presented. A slide show is available here as PDF (not official) ME on JS on LP

*Just Space response to the draft Economic Development Strategy appeared on 13 March 2018 JS response to Draft Economic Development Strategy

Other responses to the draft London Plan
List to grow as organisations & individuals send us their documents

Press & blog links
Duncan Bowie 15 June 2018 on Dave Hill’s blog


Beyond (below) this point the page contains drafts and background material generated up to the end of February 2018. Some of it remains useful.  Continue reading

new Plan: first impressions

11 December 2017:  Protection for pubs and much better for reading on screen. Some protection for industrial land and jobs. Otherwise the draft is looking like a step backwards. We are all reading it now.

The draft of the new London Plan appeared on 1 December. Here we shall gather comments as they appear. If you want a (free) printed copy of the draft Plan mailed to you please email your request to

Duncan Bowie, housing expert and former GLA planner in charge of housing, on the failures of the draft Plan to tackle housing need: Bowie on housing supply policies in draft London Plan Dec 2017 and an earlier comment on density from Michael Edwards.

First quick summaries/reactions on themes in the draft Plan: Just Space LP Economy note || London Plan housing Dec 2017 || Summary – Draft London Plan Housing Chapter || Opportunity Areas new London Plan 2017 ||…

Planning blogger, Andrew Lainton, famously acerbic and prone to typos, is dismissive of the plan’s attempt to square the circle of housing supply.

Please use the comment box below to link us to more critiques.

Commentaries on the draft Housing Strategy, an overlapping document, are gathered in the previous post.

13 December: the draft Economic Development Strategy is published. This too is for consultation (until 13 March 2018) but the comments are not published – except by us – and not subjected to public debate; only the London Plan has an Examination in Public (hearings). [ Later: Just Space response March 2018 is here JS response to Draft Economic Development Strategy ]

Housing: not good enough

7 December 2017 Just Space is strongly critical of the Mayor’s draft London Housing Strategy. After much deliberation among member-groups, we have written to the Mayor/GLA with strong criticisms and suggestions on how to make it better. While the Mayor’s sentiments are mostly right, his actual proposals are in many cases feeble or plain wrong.  The Just Space response in full: JS response to Housing Strategy 2017

The Mayor expresses many fine ambitions and Just Space groups agree with most of them. However the detail of what is actually proposed is, in most cases, inadequate or could actually worsen the crisis which everyone agrees confronts London. Just Space has proposals which would strengthen the strategy.

We do not consider that the strategy can be finalised until the London Plan is finalised.

It is a widely held view among Just Space groups that London is being rapidly transformed to meet the needs of elites in the ‘global city’ framework and doing so at the expense of the diversity and community which we —and seemingly the Mayor— value so much and at the expense of the real economy. Comments on the Strategy are made in the spirit of wanting to re-balance these power relationships.

Key points are:

  • A welcome to the idea of a “London Model” for regulating the private rented sector and would like to work with City Hall on developing the idea.
  • The Mayor is not proposing to do nearly enough to stop the losses of inherited stocks of social housing and council housing through estate demolitions, Right to Buy and ‘conversion’ of social tenancies to inferior ones.
  • The proposals for new building envisage types of housing “products” which are described as “affordable” but which are not actually affordable to those in greatest housing need or even those on median incomes. Despite being constrained by national government, the Mayor could do much more to direct scarce public resources and planning gain provisions towards those in greater need. The use of public money to support middle-income shared ownership is wrong: it amounts to free gifts to an arbitrary group and could inflate land prices.
  • A top priority should be to limit the growth of land prices, or bring them down. There is more that the Mayor could do to bring this about.
  • Just Space also has strong recommendations on estate ‘regeneration’, landlord licensing, security and rent regulation for private tenants, community-led housing and the huge potential of tenants and residents organisations to inform policy development, the management of estates and a more genuine form of ‘regeneration’.

Submissions by other organisations

If your organisation has submitted views, please let us publish or link to your submission. Use the comment box below. Here is a collection of the submissions we have so far:

London Tenants Federation: LTF response draft London Housing Strategy 2017 and the attachment referred to within it: LTF VCS engagement proposal to the Mayor (F)

New Economics Foundation NEF: NEF response to MDHS

London Community Neighbourhood Co-operative: LCNC response to LHS

Leathermarket Joint Management Board (JMB) and Community Benefit Society (CBS), Bermondsey: LeathermarketJMB

Housing Association Residents Action HARA a very trenchant and thorough critique (via comment below):

Demolition Watch link:

LSE London group (link)

and comments are beginning to appear on the draft London Plan, starting here with Andrew Lainton, famous for his typos and energy on density and zoning; Duncan Bowie, housing expert on the failures of the draft Plan to tackle housing need: Bowie on housing supply policies in draft London Plan Dec 2017 and a further comment on density from Michael Edwards.  This harvest of comments will continue in the next post.

London Plan starts as Housing Plan closes

City Hall has now published the draft of the new London Plan for consultation. It (and its supporting papers) can all be downloaded from

There are instructions on how to ask for printed copies, and information about consultation meetings in various parts of London. Just Space will be organising events as well, some of them jointly with the GLA.  Details in our events list. Continue reading

‘Our Way Ahead’

Just Space has been supporting a Pan London Network called Our Way Ahead, with the aim of strengthening communications between existing community networks and thereby increasing our influence and access to resources.
Two events by Our Way Ahead are taking place on Thursday 16th November, one on digital community platforms, the other on the Mayor’s Health Inequalities Strategy.  You are invited to book a place and circulate these flyers to your networks: 
More information about Our Way Ahead can be found in the Statement of Purpose (draft). Our Way Ahead Statement of Purpose October 2017