London planning news, May 2019


London planning news, May 2019

01 May 2019



Headline news


London Plan’s Examination in Public update

After a four-week break, hearing sessions for the new London Plan’s Examination in Public (EiP) resumed on 30 April.

A total of 13 sessions are scheduled to take place throughout May, with the matters up for discussion covering a broad range of issues, including social infrastructure, aviation, town centres, and air quality.

The EiP Panel has announced that an additional hearing session will take place for matters 92 – 93 ‘Viability and delivering the new plan’. This will be held on the 22 May to supplement the session previously scheduled for the 17 May. The extended session will focus on the cumulative impact of the policy requirements within the new plan on economic viability, as well as whether the policies will be effective in delivering the infrastructure needed to support the development proposed within the plan.

On this topic, concerns have been raised regarding the methodology and approach taken within the GLA’s viability evidence. Amongst other issues, a written representation from MHCLG stated that the typologies selected do not reflect the diversity of development coming forward, whilst the supporting evidence is ‘limited and superficial’ - concerns echoed by a number of participants due to attend the EiP session.

The EiP Panel have also announced that there will no longer be a hearing session for matter 75 – ‘Digital Infrastructure’, which will now be undertaken through the written representation procedure.  

Lichfields is monitoring the draft London Plan EiP by attending some of the key hearing sessions and reporting on the main highlights. For further information, check the London Plan EiP blog series on Lichfields’ website.

Greater London Authority, Examination in Public for the draft New London Plan

London Plan EiP, Written Statements

London Plan EiP, Hearing Agendas



Quote of the month

Would the cumulative cost of the policy requirements set out in the Plan, along with any other national and local requirements, threaten the economic viability of development and put implementation of the Plan at serious risk?
London Plan EiP, Matter 92 ‘Viability and delivering the Plan’

Mayor purchases hospital site for affordable housing

On 18 April, the Mayor announced the £12.8 million purchase of North Middlesex University Hospital site in Edmonton. According to the Mayor’s press release, the “Mayor expects the site to deliver at least 200 homes, with 50 per cent of those being social rented or other genuinely affordable housing”.

The purchase was made using part of the Mayor’s £250 million Land Fund, introduced in 2017 to support the acquisition and preparation of land for delivering new affordable housing.

Mayor of London, Mayor purchases part of Edmonton hospital site for affordable housing

Mayor recommends refusal for specialist care scheme over affordable housing contribution

The Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, acting under delegated authority, has directed the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) to refuse planning permission for a specialist retirement home scheme on the site of Heythrop College on Kensington Square.  This decision is likely to be of wider interest given the GLA planning report’s considerations regarding whether the proposed development would fall within use class C2, C3 or be sui generis.

The  application proposes 142 extra care dwellings, three five-bedroom townhouses and a block of five affordable homes for intermediate rent.  RBKC had recommended that the application be approved subject to a legal agreement.

Whilst the Stage 2 Report supported the principle of the development, it was considered that the use class of the specialist older persons housing element of the proposal fell within use class C3, rather than C2 as detailed on the application. As such, the proposal should be subject to the affordable housing policies set out in the current and emerging London Plan.

Concluding that the application had not demonstrated that the maximum reasonable amount of affordable housing would be delivered, the Mayor recommended to direct the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to refuse the application.

GLA, Heythrop College

GLA, Heythrop College: Stage 2 statutory referral, final decision

GLA, Heythrop College: Stage 2 statutory referral, report



The Lichfields perspective

Whilst the detailed nature of many of the new London Plan’s policies is intended to support the Mayor’s “Good Growth” agenda from day one, concerns have been raised over the consequences that a tightening of planning controls may have on the viability and delivery of current and future development across the capital. The EiP panel’s announcement of an additional hearing session on viability and the delivery of the new London Plan indicates that there is clearly much to discuss on this topic.
Tom Davies, Planning Researcher


Disclaimer: This publication has been written in general terms and cannot be relied on to cover specific situations. We recommend that you obtain professional advice before acting or refraining from acting on any of the contents of this publication. Lichfields accepts no duty of care or liability for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of any material in this publication. Lichfields is the trading name of Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners Limited. Registered in England, no.2778116