London planning news, October 2021


London planning news, October 2021

08 Oct 2021



Headline news


Mayor confirms first round of funding for new affordable homes

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced the first round of allocations made available from the 2021-2026 Affordable Homes Fund. A total of £3.46bn in funding has been secured in a deal with Government; the funds aim to support a mix of 57 councils and housing associations deliver 29,456 new homes across Greater London.
Of the new homes to be delivered by the funding, six in ten (16,739 homes) are intended to be provided at social rent levels, the remainder will be delivered either under shared ownership or at London Living Rent. Social Rent (otherwise referred to as ‘genuinely affordable’) is calculated using MHCLG’s formula, typically coming in at approximately 60% of market rates.
Changes to the funding criteria by MHCLG have also seen an increase in the number of councils receiving funding, resulting an increase in the number of authorities planning to deliver new homes directly. The Mayor commented:
I am delighted that we have been able to come to a deal with the Government to get started on nearly 30,000 genuinely affordable homes. Over the last five years I have overseen a council homes renaissance in London thanks to our relentless focus on giving boroughs the funding and expertise they need to build. I’m pleased to see this is now paying off with more than half the homes being funded at social rent levels in this deal being built by councils.”
Interestingly, the Mayor has not made any commitment to providing First Homes, the new affordable tenure aimed at delivering discounted homes for sale. While First Homes form a part of national policy which the Government expecting local authorities to reflect in their development plans, the Mayor recently advised that councils in London should consider the impact that the First Homes tenure may have on the delivery of other affordable tenures.
Our own analysis of the First Homes policy in London indicates that viability remains an important planning consideration in London; the inclusion of First Homes may well result in further downward pressure on the amount of affordable housing that schemes can viably deliver.
Housing providers benefiting from this round of funding are required by MHCLG to commit to ensuring that 25% of their development pipeline is to be built using modern methods of construction.
Further to this, funding conditions from the Mayor require participants to demonstrate how schemes will deliver on his Good Growth by Design principles. This encompasses a number of factors, including building and fire safety, the quality of design, and the delivery of net-zero homes, this includes:
  • All relevant new blocks of flats to be installed with sprinklers and other fire suppression systems;

  • No combustible materials to be used in external walls for all residential development;

  • Minimum floor-to-ceiling heights alongside requirement for private outdoor space; and

  • A ‘sunlight clause’ requiring all homes with three or more bedrooms to be dual aspect, any single aspect one- or two-bedroom homes to not be north-facing and at least one room to have direct sunlight for at least part of the day.
Where funding will be used for estate regeneration schemes, those making use of funds must continue to ensure that there must be no net-loss in the number and type of affordable units provided and will need to commit to the principles set out in the Mayor’s Good Practice Guide to Estate Regeneration.
Related to this, Lichfields has published a new Insight, Great Estates, which looks at how estate regeneration projects are being managed within the capital. The research considers a range of schemes across London’s housing estates, drawing upon our experience working in this sector, to assess the planning challenges and opportunities associated with this. We explore common themes and identify Lichfields’ best practice approaches to navigate estate regeneration through the planning process.

Mayor of London, Mayor strikes deals for thousands of new council homesMayor of London, Affordable Homes Programme 2021-206 - Funding Guidance




Quote of the month

All Londoners deserve a safe, secure home with enough space to live comfortably, and private outside space to enjoy fresh air. I want to deliver a new generation of genuinely affordable housing in London that sets the standard nationally when it comes to excellent design, safety and sustainability.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan Mayor


Mayor warns council over loss of Green Belt sites in draft local plan

Following a Regulation 18 consultation on Enfield Borough Council’s draft local plan, the Mayor of London has responded with concerns over the Borough’s proposals to de-designate a number of Green Belt sites for new development.
While commending the council on its ambitious housing targets, the Mayor warns that the draft local plan does not conform to the new London Plan. The draft plan aims to deliver approximately 25,000 homes over the Plan period (2019-2039), amounting to a trajectory of 1,264 new homes to be built each year. Strategic policies within the plan call for the intensification of existing industrial areas, alongside the provision of five new industrial sites within the Green Belt.
Following an intervention earlier this year, Policy G2 of the London Plan now reflects national policy, and requires exceptional circumstances to be demonstrated in order to justify the de-designation of the Green Belt through the preparation or review of a Local Plan. The Mayor has questioned the council’s approach, however, arguing that the borough’s housing requirement can be met on sites without releasing sites from the Green Belt - as evidenced in the 2017 SHLAA produced by the GLA.
“There is no ‘brownfield first’ approach to mitigate this potential risk and we are concerned that in this context, market responses may not align with the borough’s stated aims - with potentially significant impacts on brownfield sites and sustainable development. The overall approach therefore seems premature in this context.”
The Mayor warns, that bringing forward Green Belt sites at this stage risks undermining brownfield delivery and viability, particularly in the first 10-year period.
The council has yet to respond to consultation responses. It is expected to publish its proposed submission plan (Regulation 19) next Summer. For the development plan to be found sound, the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires for Development Plan Documents in London must be in general conformity with the London Plan.

Mayor's response to Enfield Borough Council Reg 18 version Local Plan consultationEnfield Borough Council, draft new Local Plan (Reg 18 version) Enfield Borough Council, Local Development Scheme

Southwark Council starts work on design code as part of Government pilot

Southwark council has begun work on a new design code for part of its Old Kent Road Opportunity Area. The code is being produced with support from the Office for Place as part of a Government backed pilot which seeks to test the National Model Design Code, the latest piece of design guidance launched by Government in July 2021.
Following a recent change to national policy, the Government expects local authorities to produce design codes and local guidance, to positively shape the development of local areas. Codes should define a set of simple, concise, illustrated design requirements based on ten key characteristics of a ‘well-designed place’. These can be prepared at various scales, such as area-wide codes or may focus on a particular neighbourhoods or large sites.
In its response to a consultation on the Government’s National Model Design Code earlier this year, Southwark Council had highlighted concerns over how the design codes may work in London. It argued that design codes are less useful for many urban parts of London such as Southwark, stating such areas have diverse and complex areas of mixed uses, often side by side with historic buildings and street patterns. It did recognise a role for certain situations.
“Southwark would support an approach to Design Codes which emphasises a flexibility of approach to suit local circumstances. This could include the production of Design Codes relevant to specific types of development, regeneration areas, places and typologies. The flexibility of approach is crucial as varying levels of detail and approach will be crucial to suit the context and communities of local places.
Out of the first round of pilots, Southwark council is one of the three pilot schemes to focus on city centre regeneration, with the code planned to guide development within the Hatcham and Ilderton Roads sub-area of the Old Kent Road Area Action Plan (AAP).
The AAP forms part of the borough’s development plan, with the council having previously undertaken character and context studies in 2018 to inform the development potential and constraints of the area. Basic masterplanning on layout and the scale of development already exist for this sub-area, which is expected to deliver 2,200 new homes while providing employment space for an estimated 2,698 Jobs. The council has stated that the code will seek to reconcile residential and industrial uses in the area, with a particular focus on how buildings will relate to the surrounding streets and public spaces at ground level.
The Government has stated that it hopes for the first wave of design codes to be introduced within 12 months. To be given weight, the guidance produced will require ongoing and meaningful engagement with communities, developers and other interested parties.

Old Kent Road, A design code for the Hatcham and Ilderton Roads areaSouthwark Council, Response to Government consultation on National Planning Policy Framework and National Model Design Code:Southwark Council, Old Kent Road Area Action Plan

London Gatwick Airport consults on second runway DCO application

Gatwick Airport is consulting on its plans to start using its Northern Runway into regular use alongside its main Runway. This would enable dual runway operations at the airport, which may be operational by summer 2029.
The plans will also see other associated development at the airport, which will see the creation of a new hotel, office and commercial space and additional car parking.
Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, Gatwick Airport, said:
Our Northern Runway proposals will help boost our economy, maintain competition within the London market, open up new connections and support a Global Britain. They will also open up exciting new employment opportunities, create additional jobs and further enable travel to visit family and friends, take a leisure break or foster trade and business links. Our proposals are forward looking and seek to bring significant benefits for our region.

London Gatwick Media Centre, Gatwick 12-week public consultation begins on plans to bring its existing Northern Runway into routine use



The Lichfields perspective

The benefits of well-executed estate regeneration are multi-faceted and wide ranging. These projects, however, can be protracted, challenging and contentious. They involve complex interacting planning, design, engagement and socio-economic considerations and require collaboration, commitment and effective communication among landowners, decision takers and particularly residents.
Clare Catherall, Associate Director at Lichfields on Great Estates - Planning for Estate Regeneration in London



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