BPF responds to Draft London Plan

30 Nov 2017

Policy area: Planning

The Draft London Plan provides a credible statement of intent, and has translated rhetoric into a plan with tangible actions to deliver a London that works for all Londoners.

The Plan’s recognition that town centres must provide high-quality community infrastructure – with both a day and night-time economy – and that there is significant potential for new housing around the edges of town centres, will underpin sustainable growth for the capital.

While there is much to be positive about, there are however elements of the proposals that require detailed consultation with the real estate industry. 

Melanie Leech, Chief Executive, British Property Federation comments:

Mayoral Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) 2

“The Draft London Plan sets out that, if Crossrail 2 does not get the go-ahead, monies collected from the Mayoral CIL 2 will be used for other strategic infrastructure projects. We need an urgent decision on Crossrail 2, but in the meantime we urge the Mayor and his team to re-consider the payment schedule for Mayoral CIL 2.

“The initial Mayoral CIL, which came into effect back in April 2012, was a success because developers knew that they were contributing towards a single, large-scale infrastructure project in the form of Crossrail 1. Not only would it benefit their developments, but it would also prevent London’s transport network from buckling under the weight of considerable population growth. It is vital that our industry is given clarity around how the monies from Mayoral CIL 2 will be used.”

Build-to-Rent

“The Mayor of London continues to support the Build-to-Rent sector, recognising that a more diversified housebuilding industry will be vital to addressing the demand-supply imbalance.  

“We are pleased to see the Mayor’s support for Discounted Market Rent as Build-to-Rent’s affordable housing provision. Build-to-Rent is delivered using a different financial model to houses for sale, where Build-to-Rent relies on rental income over the long term from a professionally managed block, and so unified ownership is fundamental to a development’s success. Discounted Market Rent recognises this structure and also, for example, prevents the creation of ‘poor’ doors, where tenants of the affordable housing provision use a different entrance to the development, and the high-quality services and facilities remain accessible to all.

“It’s also a huge vote of confidence for the sector that the Discounted Market Rent provision, where it meets the requirements of the CIL regulations, will qualify for mandatory CIL relief.”

Industrial land

“It is encouraging to see that the Draft London Plan recognises the vital part the industrial and logistics sector plays in our everyday lives, and the impact of the greater than expected loss of industrial land in London. The provision of industrial land does more than just ensure that online deliveries arrive on time – it also creates a range of skilled jobs and delivers significant economic growth.

“Introducing a policy of no net loss of industrial floorspace in strategic industrial land is welcome, and developers are keen to work on innovative approaches outlined including multi-storey or subterranean warehouses, as well as exploring genuine mixed-use residential and industrial developments. However, none of these will work in isolation and with the competition for land in London so intense, with an acute shortage of housing in particular, we need a balanced approach. Sustainable communities require both high quality homes and the right infrastructure to provide services, facilities and jobs.”

Purpose-built student accommodation

“London lacks purpose built student accommodation in comparison with its student numbers, and that puts additional pressure on the capital’s housing stock. The Higher Education sector is growing, but in different ways to the past, and is no longer just focused on a few large institutions. We are concerned that having to link with a Higher Education Institution will limit access to purpose-built accommodation for students of smaller institutions, who would probably benefit from it most. In so many other ways this is a contemporary London Plan, but on this issue, it is living in the past.”