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London Plan: Density limits removed and new minimum space standards outlined

Words: Laura Edgar
London / Shutterstock_587766545

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has published his draft London Plan, which outlines proposals to make better use of land including creating places of higher density, and minimum space standards for different sized dwellings.

The plan sets out how Khan wants homebuilders to maximise the use of “valuable” land in the city, such as developing sites so they have more homes on them than existing developments nearby, which worked to guidelines in a previous plan.

He wants increased numbers of homes to be built on sites near town centres or good public transport, “reducing the need for car parking spaces within new developments”.

The draft London Plan states: “Proposed residential development that does not demonstrably optimise the housing density of the site in accordance with this policy should be refused.”

Councils should take a case-by-case approach to determine the capacity of the site based on surrounding infrastructure.

Khan has placed an emphasis on good design, which will be applicable to all building types. New homes should have “adequately-sized rooms” and be conveniently and efficiently laid out. Changing needs over people’s lifetimes should be met and “particular account” of the needs of children, and disabled and older people should be taken into account.

The minimum space standards include:

  • A dwelling with two or more bedspaces must have at least one double (or twin) bedroom that is at least 2.75m wide. Every other additional double (or twin) bedroom must be at least 2.55m wide.
  • A one bedspace single bedroom must have a floor area of at least 7.5 square metres and be at least 2.15m wide
  • A two bedspace double (or twin) bedroom must have a floor area of at least 11.5 square metres.
  • A minimum of 5 square metres of private outdoor space should be provided for 1-2 person dwellings and an extra 1 square metres should be provided for each additional occupant.

Additionally, “ensuring homes are of adequate size and fit for purpose is crucial in an increasingly dense city therefore this plan sets out minimum space standards for dwellings of different sizes”.

Again, Khan wants boroughs to refuse applications that include homes that do not meet the space standards in the plan.

The draft London Plans includes Khan’s commitment to ensuring that 50 per cent of all new homes are “genuinely affordable” and the fast-track route developers can use to gain planning permission if they have a minimum of 35 per cent affordable housing in an application.

Boroughs have been set new targets as Khan looks to be build 65,000 homes a year, approximately double the current build rate.

Khan has also emphasised the importance of small sites in the plan, which he wants to play a “much greater” role in delivering housing. He encourages boroughs to supports well-designed homes on small sites through both planning decisions and plan-making. He wants small and medium-sized builders to be supported, while boroughs should apply presumption in favour of certain types of small housing developments, between one and 25 homes in size. This includes infill development on vacant or underused sites.

The Planner reported on a number of policies in the draft London Plan released ahead of full publication, including on safeguarding the green belt, infrastructure and protecting pubs.

The mayor will refuse planning applications that include building on the green belt if strict rules are not met; double the current amount of cycling provision in new developments; ask boroughs to back proposals for new pubs and prevent fracking from taking place in the capital.

In addition, the plan contains polices on new growth corridors (Crossrail 2, Elizabeth Line West), fire safety, public toilet provision, climate change, build-to-rent and offices.

Khan said: “I am using all of the powers at my disposal in my first draft London Plan to tackle the housing crisis head on – removing ineffective constraints on homebuilders so that we can make the most of precious land in the capital to build more homes in areas with the best transport links.

“My London Plan sets out how we are planning for the challenges our great city faces, but crucially focuses on my vision of a London that welcomes growth, celebrates its diversity and ensures every Londoner gets the opportunity to fulfil their potential.”
A consultation on the draft London Plan will open on Monday 4 December and close on Friday 2 March 2018.

The consultation and the draft London Plan can be found on the Greater London Authority website.

Read more:

London Plan: Reaction

London Plan: Khan lays out his proposals for fracking, cycling, the green belt and pubs

Khan proposes expanding transport network to unlock housing

RTPI: Greenfield and green belts can help provide homes

Transport Infrastructure Investment: Capturing the Wider Benefits of Investment in Transport Infrastructure (pdf)

RTPI advice on fracking and the planning system

RTPI London’s priorities for the mayor

Image credit | Shutterstock