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Ten key points from Westminster City Council’s City Plan 2040 Consultation

Westminster published its draft City Plan 2019-2040 for consultation on Monday 12 November, with the consultation period running through to 21 December.

The plan follows the recently published reports on the future of Westminster’s planning department, and a political shift in the council’s approach to planning and facilitating development in Westminster which has been taking shape over the last year.

The slimmed down (NPPF style) City Plan sets out the council’s vision for homes and communities, a healthier and greener city, and for the right kind of growth in Westminster to 2040.

We have reviewed the plan and drawn out ten of the most noteworthy changes.

  • Affordable housing is no longer triggered by a threshold of additional residential floor space or units – meaning existing residential floor space will be captured for sites delivering over 10 or more residential units, over 1,000 sq m of residential floorspace (not additional), or sites over 0.5ha. This will therefore affect the redevelopment or re-configuring of existing residential sites.
  • A reversal in the affordable housing split to be 60 % intermediate, 40% social rented to address identified shortfalls. On site presumption and at least 35% affordable housing targeted.
  • Reduced requirement for family sized housing to 25% of units. Nationally described space standards apply for new housing, not the London Plan standards, and an upper limit on unit sizes of 150 sq m is introduced (with exceptional circumstances allowances, such as heritage constraints).
  • Air quality neutral or positive requirements for major developments, the promotion of walking and cycling, and requirement to meet London Plan Carbon reduction targets.
  • Emphasis on place, local context and protecting and enhancing unique areas and clusters of uses – West End, Soho, Oxford Street, the Special Policy Areas.
  • Parking revisions to reduce the maximum standards and allow allocation of spaces. This includes support for car free development in certain circumstances, with car clubs and sustainable transport promoted as alternatives.
  • Neighbourly development policy to capture elements of protecting and enhancing residential amenity, the local environment, local character and managing construction impact.
  • Building heights and density to be design and context led – with reference to the prevailing height of an area as a baseline, with exemptions and complications, and with Supplementary Planning Guidance to follow.
  • Significant increase in housing delivery target to nearly 1,500 new homes per year, intensification of sites and optimising density to make most efficient use of land. Timely promotion of innovative forms of housing – build to rent, co-living and other, and clarification on amalgamation of units.
  • 75,000 jobs targeted, but alongside mixed-use revisions that require affordable housing on hotels and offices in the Central Activities Zone (when certain thresholds are triggered).

The consultation runs to 21 December. Supplementary planning documents and technical notes will sit alongside the plan, in addition to monitoring reports, the recently published viability guidance update, and CIL documentation.

For further information on the plan or on making representations please contact Laurence BrookerMichael Lowndes or Ben Wrighton.

21 November 2018

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