Agenda item


Report of the Director of the Built Environment (TO FOLLOW).        


Members discussed a report of the Director of the Built Environment regarding the City of London Local Plan Review: Proposed Submission Version of City Plan 2036 and the following points were made.


·         An officer noted that Members had discussed the issue of housing at the last meeting and the current report had been prepared in response to those discussions. Officers noted that some housing issues were difficult to align with a 15-year forward plan, and Members were asked to bear this in mind. The officer continued, noting that options were set out within the report at paragraphs 14-19.


·         The Deputy Chairman (in the Chair) noted the comments made by the Chairman by email to those present that he supported the approach set out in paragraphs 15-16 (amend supporting text and amend policy) but did not feel that there was sufficient evidence at present to justify the identification of additional residential areas set out at paragraph 15.


·         A Member noted that in the public policy arena there were many problems best addressed by central government which were, in his view, pushed down to local authorities to deal with, one example being annual housing targets. In his view, this meant the Local Plan needed to address annual housing targets.


·         Officers noted that the City was meeting its annual housing targets, and that these reported retrospectively over three-year periods. They acknowledged that this was a problematic metric for the Plan’s 15-year period.


·         A Member commented that the City should publish metrics of the number of residential units delivered against those permissions granted by the City. Moreover the issue regarding housing was not one of numbers of units, but rather their affordability. This could only be addressed by a pan-London approach to central government. With that in mind, the Member was supportive of paragraphs 15-16 in the report (amending City Plan 2036 supporting text and amending City Plan 2036) accordingly.


·         A Member was wary regarding the enforceability of site allocations and cautioned against committing to an early review, and instead advised that the Plan should simply commit to a review in five years’ time.


·         A Member noted that he would be supportive of using building regulations to encourage delivery of residential units, without losing office space in the longer term. He felt that residential zones within the City would encourage a greater mix.


·         A Member, in contrast, noted that he would not support the adoption of zones, and rather if the City could demonstrate that a building regulations approach would satisfy government policy, then it should do so.  


·         In response to the comments regarding building regulations, officers noted that this point had been made by the City Property Association in its submission. The City’s ambition regarding office space was outlined at paragraph 16.


·         In response to a comment from a Member, officers advised that a Planning White Paper was forthcoming and therefore a sensible approach would be to submit the draft Plan and await an assessment of any required changes by the inspector. It was possible therefore to draft a case for more delivery of housing without making reference to site allocation. Officers concluded by noting that the adoption of site allocation at this stage could result in a procedural burden which was not in the City’s interest at this stage.


·         In response to Members concerns regarding a co-living approach, namely the experience of other London boroughs combined with potential pressure on common areas, officers noted that co-living should be seen in the context of the rise of student-like accommodation developments for young professionals across London. Moreover it was City policy that co-living was only permissible in new developments, not existing buildings.


·         The Chairman summarised discussion, noting that Members were broadly content with the approach set out at paragraphs 15-16 (amend supporting text and amend policy) but did not feel that there was sufficient evidence at present to justify the identification of additional residential areas set out at paragraph 15. The Chairman concluded by requesting that officers incorporate those comments made by Members at the meeting in the final iteration of the Plan.


·         Officers noted that the revised Plan would be submitted to the Planning and Transportation Committee for approval.


·         In response to a question, officers noted that they were confident the Plan would be aligned with the forthcoming London Plan.


RESOLVED, that the report be received.


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