A leading planning lawyer has led industry backing for the City Property Association's series of proposed amendments to Mayor of London Boris Johnson's proposed changes to the London Plan. Richard Ford head of planning at international law firm Pinsent Masons said: "The City Property Association is absolutely right to focus on tall buildings, housing and carbon as key London Plan Review issues. On tall buildings, the Mayor should embrace inspirational design and not be afraid of iconic schemes.
"On housing, he is already moving in a sensible direction on flexibility to encourage delivery. And on carbon, a delivery strategy for carbon reduction targets, involving local energy grids plus energy efficiency requirements, is needed.. Much can be learnt from the Olympic Park experience but they must be realistic and one size does not fit all. Boris has a chance here to put his stamp on a more user friendly and flexible London Plan."
In a letter to the mayor's office Bill Gloyn, president of the CPA, urges the mayor to provide greater clarity on how ambitious CO2 reduction targets are to be funded. Gloyn wrote that the CPA supports the mayor's commitment to the reduction of CO2 emissions by 60% by the year 2025 and the retention of the "energy hierarchy".
Gloyn adds: "We are, however, concerned that there is no clear indication of how the required adaptations to existing buildings can be funded. In the current economic climate, it is unlikely that building owner or tenants will be able to raise funds through the normal methods. We are also concerned that any requirement which leads additional costs will act as a further deterrent to new development."
On affordable housing the CPA believes that the plan should refer to viability in determining the level on a site by site basis. "We support the removal of the mechanistic 50% affordable housing target and support a target based on housing need for the local housing market area. It is important that the plan also refers to viability appraisals to determine the maximum reasonable proportion upon a site by site basis."
Planning and development partner at Gerald Eve Robert Fourt agreed: "The use of financial viability appraisals in order to justify affordable housing levels, as well as other issues such as contributions to cross rail and planning obligation levels, on a site by site basis should be considered as normal practice and fully embraced within Policy."
The CPA also calls on the mayor to promote high density office development close to transport hubs in Smithfield, Moorfields, London Wall, and Bishopsgate, north of Liverpool Street.
Source: Brown Lloyd James Financial