Concerns for planning and design quality persist with ambitious draft London Plan

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Ahead of the deadline for responses to the draft London Plan consultation closing on 2 March 2018, Kim Vernau, CEO of BLP Insurance, comments on the need to address design and build quality and facilitate flexible planning for individual London boroughs

Vernau said: “The Mayor’s new London Plan is the most far-reaching and visionary document to have been drafted for the city for some time, setting out the key policies to guide London’s spatial development for the next 20 to 25 years, including local plans. However, there are still a number of key challenges to be overcome, and its future progress merits widespread attention from the planning, construction and real-estate sectors.

“The strategic objective is to shape how London will evolve and develop as a growing city, delivering increased housing numbers while maintaining a high quality of design. There is currently a crisis in quality of design in design and build procurement, resulting in problems in the life-cycle of buildings, which needs to be addressed. Design codes and reviews should be implemented to ensure a high quality of design can be achieved going forward.

“The Plan sets out a vision for a more socially integrated city, focusing on health, jobs for existing communities, excellent data communications and sustainable mixed-use developments. Future developments in London should be economically sustainable, with the new plan supporting a commitment to build 50% of new homes that are affordable, and contributing to a zero carbon rating by 2050.

“Feedback on the consultation so far has highlighted that not all outer London boroughs share the same objectives as those set out in the plan, with criticism that there needs to be a greater recognition of the differences between the development needs of inner and outer London. Increases in housing targets and a prescriptive approach to planning have given rise to objections, as has a significant reduction in car parking standards, not considered sustainable for residents in outer London.

“Furthermore, there is no clear detail outlined in the plan for the protection of conservation areas, local heritage designation or the settings of listed buildings. These issues need to be clearly stated and considered in respect of new developments.”

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