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Public consultation on the draft of a new London Plan (more formally, the Spatial Development Strategy for Greater London) will run from 1 December this year until 2 March 2018. There will be a consultation event at Enfield Civic Centre on 12th January, and other events in central London.  These will take the form of briefings followed by question and answer sessions.  For full information about how to comment and about the subsequent Examination in Public see www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/planning/london-plan/new-london-plan.

The new plan, once it comes into effect in two years time, will be extremely important in guiding the city's future development and how it copes with the forecast increase in its population:

As the overall strategic plan for London, the new London Plan sets out an integrated economic, environmental, transport and social framework for the development of London over the next 20-25 years. It puts good growth at the heart of planning, seeking to improve the health and quality of life for all Londoners, reducing inequalities by tackling disadvantage and discrimination and ensuring that the city is a more pleasant place for all its citizens to live, work and visit. It seeks to use the continued growth of the city as a positive asset to accommodate the various challenges that London will face in the future to ensure all Londoners can share in the benefits and successes of London..

The aspects that have attracted the most attention so far are housing and transport.  On housing, faced with a target of 65,000 new homes a year, the emphasis is on increased density and more "genuinely affordable" housing.  The call to build much new housing close to public transport hubs and to provide few or no parking spaces slots into the main theme with regard to transport - a marked reduction in reliance on cars and a switch to walking, cycling and public transport.

The draft plan also places emphasis on the provision of affordable workspace, protection for the green belt, support for the night-time economy and protection for London's pubs.

The two videos here provide a quick introduction to some aspects of the draft plan.

But no short summary can possibly capture everything of importance in this 500+ page document, so I would recommend reading or at least skimming through it - it's actually quite readable.

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Karl Brown posted a reply #3539 15 Jan 2018 00:11

Draft London Plan published

Karl posted these comments to the Active Travel discussion thread , but because he also writes about non-travel related aspects of the draft London Plan, I've copied it across to here as well. Basil

The London Plan is an incredibly important document for us all and is now out for consultation. This is rather long in the hope of getting that message through.

Yesterday, along with about 60 others from north and north east London, I attended an open consultation session led by the Deputy Mayor, supported by about eight of his planning team and a at least one industry specialist. This is life changing stuff and I would strongly suggest people cast an eye over it, at least summary text (the body itself is 600+ pages before appendices and supporting documents) and input any thoughts - there is a link towards the top left of the PGC site.

All written comments will be available to the appointed independent Inspector who will then decide who and what will be called forward as part of the EIP (Evidence in Public – a rather serious cross examination of disputed aspects), expected Autumn this year, ultimately leading to the plans formal adoption, which is expected in Autumn 2019. In the meantime the current London Plan, with its Mini Hollands and more, will continue to stand.

There are major strands affecting pretty much all aspects of our life be they housing, transport, leisure or work. One theme ripping through its heart and affecting everything is pressure on London’s finite space: there is only so much London but forecasts are for an awful lot more Londoners and each will seek housing, education, jobs, travel options and so on. Where to put it all?

The Mayor has developed something called “Good Growth” to meet this challenge which spans sustainable, inclusive growth (think more housing and public spaces accessible to all) and a also a big slug of environmental care (think health and wellbeing, a commitment to 50% green cover to make London a national park city, and a modal shift so that 80% of all journeys are not made by car).

We heard that the Viability Assessment of all this has been passed successfully.

Transport, and specifically a cycling element, has obviously been a local hot topic for the last few years. There was not a glimmer that this is actually seen as “hot”, rather that the plan’s focus on discouraging what is highlighted as the space hungry car in a space stressed city will be a theme noticeably affecting change in Londoners lives for future decades. The local stretch of the north circular did get a mention and with some hope that there will be efforts to ease the impact on its neighbours in particular, but also that future focus for the A406 will be to prioritise freight, cycling and walking, not other.

Housing, specifically the shortage of it and what was termed the “crisis of affordability”, received much focus. (We heard that 80% of the private homes currently being built in London are affordable by only 8% of its population.) The density matrix has gone, in its place a design led approach which will look at a proposal in the wider round, eg does it fit rather than stick out like a sore thumb and does it have the wrap around infrastructure, such as schools, to be a viable addition to its local community? Individual size requirements for people to live in will remain, so perhaps think more “up” rather than out for many future developments.

The draft plan seeks 66,000 new London homes pa, although we heard of an independent report claiming this needs to be 95,000 to meet actual needs. We’re currently at about 35,000 pa. Enfield is currently targeted at 798 new homes pa, achieves 600-650, and will be called to meet roughly 1900pa under the new plan. That’s a big, big ongoing uplift.

There will be a strong presumption in favour of smaller sites (that’s 1 to 25 homes) which are expected to pick up 50% of the overall total. (Readers may recall the recent London press comment about new homes in back gardens.)

Enfield has significant issues: 50% of our land is either green belt / MOL or Strategic Industrial Land, and each is protected under the plan. Add in that Enfield is one of four boroughs being targeted to bring forward more Industrial Land (that’s different to SIL) and where will all the houses go?

Town centres and transport hubs (and PG seems to fit both) will be priority targets for new homes. Areas within 800m of both will be prioritised. For PG that would go well beyond the north circular, Broomfield Park and almost as far as Tatem Park and Barrrowell Green. Within such areas of proposed densification would be expected many more homes on small sites and perhaps higher-sites as well as multi use sites – think of homes on top of supermarkets and the like. Cars become unimportant because at these distances and concentrations, facilities are accessible via active travel means.

(Perhaps find a post of mine several years back when I said given the issues and decisions to be faced some way down the line, the then proposed cycle lanes were going to be the least contentious aspect facing PG locals. And here we now are.)

Of the 200000 new homes expected to result from Crossrail 2 (2035), a full 40000 are expected in Enfield – that’s the Lea Valley but also around the New Southgate spur, an “Opportunity Area”, one of nine in a London – think more stuff on the ground. PG is just on its border.

Providing some input, Enfield senior planners, highlighted that the borough is a low wage economy suffering a 5% wage gap with the London average. They want to close it in the same way they want to close the appalling huge gap in life expectancy between the east and west of the borough. That means more and higher value jobs, which might mean the jobs some travel too in central London become jobs people travel to in Enfield – an aspiration.

It’s easy to see as this unfolds the intense pressure being placed on space. The plan highlights that cars are very space hungry (think about looking for a parking space) as well as keeping people unnecessarily inactive with all that costs the NHS and people’s happiness and so cars become the unwelcome guest at this party.

I’ve highlighted many times over many years what is coming over the travel horizon and also how it would be more sensible and beneficial to prepare for it rather than seek to fight what is an immensely powerful, unstoppable incoming tide; well it’s just about to break. Cars – we’ll still have them, lots of them, but they will be put up with rather than lead any decisions as has been the case for decades.

The plan is there for anyone and everyone to comment on. Don’t say you weren’t warned. These are London issues, not personal, nor the result of an inadequate local council or its officers so best not mix up the agreed strategic response to facts with blaming a few local individuals; we’ve been through that loop once and it’s always worth learning from mistakes. This is everyone’s chance to add constructive comment based on best available facts and forecasts for the most serious assessment.

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