Boris publishes revised planning guidance for London

12 June 2015, Blog

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, released the Social Infrastructure Supplementary Planning Guidance last month in order to maximise the construction of quality homes in the capital.

The Planning Guidance “does not introduce new policy” but builds on existing policies from the London Plan, aiming to deliver new housing areas that will be inclusive “regardless of age”. It also aims to flesh out the London Plan’s promotion of “lifetime neighbourhoods” that will incorporate services for health, education, sport, community and faith among other things. Essentially it aims to build new neighbourhoods, which planners must ensure are “well connected and walkable”, and integrated into the rest of the city. The emphasis is on quality, not quantity, in the Mayor’s latest addition to the discussion on housing.

Mr Johnson sees it as a vital step towards building the 49,000 houses a year London so desperately needs. Sir Edward Lister, Deputy Mayor for Planning, said that the Guidance will be crucial in helping developers and boroughs understand how to achieve the Mayor’s ambitious aims for housing in London.

Tessa Jowell, one of the leading Labour candidates looking to replace Boris Johnson as the next Mayor, has pledged to set up a body that would serve as the housing equivalent of Transport for London, which would boost housing construction in the capital. Most importantly, however, she will demand a Greater London Authority veto on national planning guidance, stating that guidance “would be detrimental to London.” With Jowell’s stance made clear, which is in direct competition to Mr Johnson’s latest revisions, it will be interesting to see which housing policies planners and developers think will be best for London when the mayoral election comes around next May.

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