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Allford and Zogolovitch in call for flexibility to ease housing shortfall

The winner of the 'London Building of the Year' award has issued a clarion call for more flexible planning to bring about the supply of necessary housing for the capital and elsewhere - including the abandonment of any distinction between residential and B1 uses.

Architect-turned-developer Roger Zogolovitch, with architect Simon Allford of AHMM, presented their manifesto for planning change at the annual Lignacite lecture last week.

They will present their ideas to the Treasury review into housing supply later this month. If even part of their manifesto is adopted, it would lead to profound changes in attitude to the way housing is regulated and approved.

Allford and Zogolovitch propose four new 'rules of engagement' in relation to housing and planning, to replace the current 'parochial powers', which they argue are undermining 'the form of the city and its suitability for the future'.

Each new 'rule' would extend permitted as-of-right development, so that any scheme covered by a rule would only be subject to building/fire regulations, not planning rules.

The four rules relate to permitted size, permitted use, permitted impact and permitted replacement.

The proposers believe the introduction of these broadbrush principles would 'project by project generate new buildings, releasing capacity in the city where it is in most demand'.

And they say a reformed planning system along the lines they suggest would deal with a series of hurdles that currently prevent the easy provision of muchneeded housing.

The ideas will be presented to Kate Barker, who is conducting a housing review on behalf of Gordon Brown, later this month. The proposals have been welcomed by Architectural Association president Crispin Kelly, and RIBA president George Ferguson is said to be in support.

Rules for planning

RULE ONE

Permitted size would allow: a floor plate of up to 150 m 2la total floor area of 900 m 2la total height of 18m

RULE TWO

Permitted use would mean: a development could be used for any residential or B1 use in any proportion lthe proportion could be changed freely throughout the life of the building

RULE THREE

Permitted impact: a development could not encroach more than 1m in front of adjacent building lines lit could not be positioned closer than 6m from opposite windows lno part of the facade could subtend an angle of 60 degrees from an adjacent window in either plan or section

RULE FOUR

Permitted replacement: a development may replace any building in or out of a conservation area provided it is not listed, and the new proposal is constructed from approved materials la development may not replace any existing car parking, nor may it provide any new Key questions asked The lecture posed a series of questions about aspects of current planning that prevent such provision.These included:

Why do we seek to control use when light industrial and residential uses happily site side by side?

Why do we restrict the capacity of urban land when blinds on windows can do the task just as well?

Why do we restrict the size of windows when we are seeking ways of reducing carbon emissions?

Why do we judge style by reference to context rather than beauty?

Why should a historical two-storey neighbour dictate the form and size of an adjacent new building?

Why, on safety issues, do we allow ourselves to be over-controlled?

Is it in order to protect our insured risks from litigation?

Why does the idea of design quality default to 'sub-heritage';

what is the argument for uPVC windows with leaded lights?

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