Changes in the London Mayor’s planning powers

11 March 2015, Blog

The Treasury recently published proposed changes which would allow the Mayor greater power to intervene in planning applications for large housing projects.

Existing planning regulations state that London boroughs must refer applications for more than 150 homes to the Mayor who then decides whether to intervene in the decision or return it to the borough to decide itself. The justification for this is that applications for large numbers of homes may be of significance to the development of the borough, although the power to intervene has not been used extensively by the current Mayor, Boris Johnson.

It was also announced that the GLA will be considering whether to change planning law to automatically refer any planning application of more than 50 homes to the GLA if a determination on the application hadn’t been reached within 16 weeks. Roger Hepher, senior director at Savills property retailers, told PlanningResource that “a lot of proposals get bogged down because authorities don’t have the resources to process them or they get caught up in local politics”, and that the 16 week target “should be perfectly possible”.

Last week, the Mayor, along with Chancellor George Osborne, announced a package of proposals for London planning, Among the long list of proposals were plans to remove the need for the Mayor and London boroughs to involve the Communities Secretary when setting policy on protecting London’s sightlines and wharves. Additionally, a proposal for a London Land Commission was announced, whose task would be to identify and develop currently unneeded brownfield land by 2025. 

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