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News - 09/02/2021

New London Plan gets green light

After 5 years, 13 revisions, and 615 pages, the new London Plan was finally given the green light by the Secretary of State last Friday.

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After 5 years, 13 revisions, and 615 pages, the new London Plan was finally given the green light by the Secretary of State last Friday, confirming that the Mayor could now proceed to adopt the New London Plan published in December 2020. This new version of the London Plan will now form part of the Development Plan for all London Boroughs.

Below is a summary and recap of some of the key policy objectives and changes.

Affordable Housing

The new London Plan sets a strategic target of 50% for all new homes delivered to be affordable. It also confirms the fast track (and viability tested) approach as set out within the Affordable Housing and Viability SPG whereby if an applicant is able to meet a strict minimum of 35% affordable housing at the preferred tenure split without public funding, then they would not be subject to viability considerations and late stage reviews. Developments on public land and industrial land would need to achieve 50% affordable housing to quality for the fast track route.

Industrial Land

When the Mayor submitted the draft London Plan to the Secretary of State, there was heavy criticism for the restrictive position on protecting industrial sites. It is therefore welcoming to see the omission of the words “no net loss” and reference to rigid plot ratios for developments on industrial land. This will undoubtedly give local planning authorities more flexibility to support mixed use development sites or release surplus industrial land for development.   

Tall Buildings

The Mayor has also accepted the Secretary of State’s direction to expand the definition of tall building in the capital which states that they cannot include those under 6 storeys or 18m measured from the ground. With regards to where tall buildings will be suitable, the plan specifies that tall buildings should only be developed in locations that are identified as suitable in local development plans.

Green Belt

The Mayor originally retained a stringent stance on developments within the Green Belt. It is welcoming to see that the proposed modifications to the Green Belt Policies have now been carried forward to this final reiteration of the London Plan which makes provisions for development in the Green Belt if there are very special circumstances. It also requires exceptional circumstances to be demonstrated in order to extend or de-designate Green Belt land.  The same principles will apply to Metropolitan Open Land. 

Other key changes include the Mayor’s commitment towards zero carbon initiatives and supporting a modal shift towards sustainable travel. It is expected that formal adoption with take place in the coming months but in the interim, we consider that full weight can now be attributed to the policies within the New London Plan. 

For more information regarding the above or discuss the implications in more detail, please get in touch with the Lambert Smith Hampton Planning Team who has been monitoring the changes and implication of the emerging London Plan over the past 4 – 5 years.

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