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19/10/2017

Government think tank demands review of London planning

Words: Huw Morris
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London’s planning system needs radical reforms to significantly reduce bias against development, according to a think tank.

The Housing and Finance Institute, launched by the government in 2015, said councillors are in a “near impossible position” of being responsive to electorates who are opposed to development yet having responsibility to future generations who need homes. Consultation is “deeply flawed” by giving too much weight to articulate groups “who make a lot of noise and not enough weight to the ‘have-nots’,” it says.

The institute’s findings, compiled by former City of London Corporation policy chairman Sir Mark Boleat calls for small panels of members trained in planning to engage with developers from the earliest pre-application to the final decision.

It also says planning conditions should be rigorously assessed to see if they are appropriate and necessary, with the cost in time and money given to committees. These should be discharged “within seven days of certification by the developer, unless the local authority has clear evidence that the conditions have not been complied with”.

Other recommendations include a review of green belt policy, allowing higher density development, particularly in central London, and simplifying section 106 viability assessments.

Image credit | Shutterstock

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