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New PPG3 'avoids setting minimum housing densities'

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Supporters of higher urban housing densities fear that new government planning guidance will duck the issue of minimums when it is published next month. It is understood that the new ppg3 will express the desire for higher densities without recommending explicit numbers. This could set back hopes of brownfield sites reaching their full housing potential, especially in cities. London, for example, requires 630,000 extra homes by 2016 to meet the national target of 4.4 million. London's density standards are already high, and it is understood that fears of local reaction may have inhibited radical upgrade targets.

Llewelyn-Davies is working on a major report into sustainable residential quality (srq) for large sites, focusing on the use of housing prototypes as a means of realising future housing capacity.

The architect-planner is extending the design-led principles of an srq report it prepared on small sites 18 months ago to London sites of over one hectare. The results of the study will be used by the London Planning Advisory Committee to test boroughs' assessments of housing capacity and requirements in the capital. John Lett, assistant chief planner of lpac, said the report, funded by London Transport, the Housing Corporation and the Government Office for London, means that density guidelines will be available at the end of the month and a full report made public at the end of June.

Llewelyn-Davies said that the guidelines would unlock the housing potential of large sites, and the case studies would demonstrate what the guidelines could mean for residential quality, affordability and accessibility to public transport and local facilities. The results will be fed into an overarching housing capacity study and the review of boroughs' udps.

The practice's report on srqs 18 months ago - 'New Approaches to Urban Living' - demonstrated how design-led approaches to planning policies and standards could result in denser but high-quality housing on small sites. Prepared for the lpac, the gol and the detr, it led to a density, location and parking matrix.

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