Sadiq Khan has set out proposals for a 50 per cent affordable housing target and has shone a spotlight on good design in his draft London Plan published today
The ambitious 524-page document outlines major new changes to former mayor Boris Johnson’s London plan and includes removing housing density limits near town centres and transport hubs.
Khan said he wanted to ‘rip up existing planning rules’ in a bid to build 65,000 homes a year in the capital, and is pushing to build more homes on small sites in the city, saying there was capacity to build 24,500 homes a year in these areas.
The draft document also puts a heavy focus on design and includes amendments to the existing policy such as allowing local authorities to insist on the retention of an architect for delivery of schemes for which they grant planning.
Design takes up a major part of the plan, with 13 design policy areas highlighted in the document. The section includes steps to deliver ‘high-quality design’, maintaining design quality through to a project’s completion, as well as ensuring developments ‘achieve the highest standards of fire safety’.
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.’
Regarding the fire safety of buildings, the plan calls for buildings to be constructed in an ‘appropriate way to minimise the risk of fire spread’, and for there to be a ‘suitable and convenient means of escape’ for all those in the building, as well as a ‘robust strategy for evacuation’. Critics have pointed to the fire spread and the evacuation strategy at Grenfell Tower as partly to blame for the blaze earlier this year being so deadly.
In addition, the report states that tall buildings ‘have a role to play’ in the capital, but they must be ‘sustainably developed in appropriate locations, and [be] of the required design quality’.
The plan adds that the mayor will work with boroughs to provide a ‘strategic overview of tall building locations across London and will seek to utilise 3D virtual-reality digital modelling to help identify these areas’.
On the mayor’s 50 Design Advocates, the document states that these people – who include David Adjaye, Alison Brooks and Sadie Morgan – will play a ‘key role in helping to deliver good design’ in London.
’They will help champion design across the GLA Group and beyond, through research, design review, capacity building, commissioning and advocacy,’ the document adds.
The paper also provides guidance for making architecture more inclusive and accessible.
Elsewhere, Khan’s London plan calls for the provision of more public toilets; protecting London’s green belt; exploring development options in the wider South East; increasing bike parking on new developments; and stronger protection for pubs.