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The Draft London Plan Examination in Public opens

The independent examination of the Mayor’s draft London Plan opened this week on 15 January and will continue through to May.

A broad coalition of objectors has formed with many in the development community either making their own representations or challenging the Mayor through key lobby groups.

Being held in the Chamber at City Hall, the Examination promises to be the best free show in town with criticism expected not just from the development community, but from the boroughs and  the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. All are absolutely clear that they see its policies as too detailed and overly prescriptive.

Significantly, it will be argued that the draft Plan does not meet the statutory requirements for a Spatial Development Strategy. For whilst the draft Plan does address strategic spatial issues, it also seeks to duplicate many Borough-level Local Plan policies and some criticise City Hall as already behaving as if it were the development management function of a local planning authority.

Substantive arguments begin next week regarding the format and scope of the Plan; its consistency with national policies; the application of proposed Good Growth policies and the overall spatial development strategy.

We should expect discussion about:

  • how the worthy, but vague, aspirations for Good Growth can be genuinely effective as policies;
  • whether the lack of clear strategic priorities will undermine those objectives of Good Growth in London;
  • where, through cumulative impacts on development viability, an unreasonable expectation to meet all policies risks seriously inhibiting delivery;
  • where the prohibition on Green Belt development fails to meet the requirements of the NPPF; and
  • where an over reliance on small sites, rigid protection of the Green Belt, intensification of industrial land and the design-led approach to density, will all contribute to the Plan’s inability to deliver the level of development that London needs.

We will be providing further commentary on the Examination in Public as it progresses.

15 January 2019