London mayor Sadiq Khan is set to make new housing and office developments car-free if they are near public transport links, while doubling cycle parking
The mayor will outline the measures in his draft London Plan, to be published tomorrow (Wednesday), saying it is ‘essential’ that the capital reduces its reliance on the vehicles. Exceptions will be made for parking needed for disabled people.
As set out in his draft Transport Strategy, Khan wants to increase the proportion of travel made by foot, cycle or public transport to 80 per cent in 2041, compared to 41 per cent now.
Where car parking provision is allowed in new schemes, the draft plan will require this to support electric or ‘ultra-low’ emission vehicles, said City Hall.
Khan said: ‘My draft London Plan will set out how I want to transform how London’s infrastructure works, making cycling and walking a safe and convenient alternative for millions more journeys every day.
‘If you buy or rent a home in London and make regular journeys to work or the shops, I want to see safe and secure cycle parking available for every journey, across all parts of the city. For too long our housing and infrastructure have been built solely around the car.’
The mayor will also propose new measures to protect the capital’s green belt in his draft London Plan.
Khan’s strategic planning framework for the city will set out that planning applications involving the green belt will be refused if they do not meet City Hall’s ‘strict rules’. Projects allowed on the green belt will include agricultural schemes and those replacing existing buildings.
The draft plan will also provide details on the mayor’s plans to make more than half of London ‘green’ by 2050 by increasing the number of green spaces – a key manifesto commitment alongside his pledge to safeguard the city’s green spaces.
Khan’s proposals will also include guidelines for increasing green infrastructure, such as street trees, green roofs and walls, and a framework to help boroughs and developers know how much should be required in new developments.
The guidelines will make it clear that this infrastructure must form an ‘integral’ part of new schemes rather than acting as an ’add-on’, City Hall said.
The mayor said: ‘London needs 66,000 new homes every year to meet its increasing need and put right years of underinvestment. But development must not be done at any cost; the green belt is the lungs of the capital and must be protected.
‘I firmly believe we can build the homes Londoners need without sacrificing the green belt. This will mean more development on brownfield land, town centres becoming denser, incorporating more green infrastructure in our streets and developments and being more creative with how we develop the hundreds of small sites across the capital.’
He added that his draft London Plan would send a ‘clear message to developers that building on or near the green belt must respect and protect this vital natural resource’.
Riette Oosthuizen, a planning partner at HTA Design, said that the practice ‘fully supports’ the mayor’s view that ‘large amounts’ of the green belt do not need to be used for new developments, but added that green belt land should be used if it is cut off by other buildings and is not used by the public.
She said: ’There are left over portions of green belt land within London that have become surrounded with transport infrastructure and other uses, that offer little biodiversity value and no access to green spaces for people, and it is important that these portions of land do not get protected at all cost.
’It is of utmost importance to very carefully approach what type of interventions would support healthy outcomes for London’s residents: as London’s existing fabric increases in density, we need to ensure accessibility for everyone to healthy, good quality green spaces, not overgrown pockets of land no longer fulfilling any of the criteria of green belt land.’
Manisha Patel, a partner at PRP, said: ’This latest release from the mayor aligns with last week’s budget in relation to green belt protection and underscores the mayor’s commitment to protecting and enhancing the living environment of Londoners, including clean air. This does not appear to be idle chatter.
’The draft London Plan will demonstrate how a housing target of 66,000 dwellings across all tenures per year can practically be built without infringing on the green belt in the capital. This is a commendable target which sets the bar high and which, if deliverable, could set a true legacy for this mayor and for London.’
Khan’s draft document will be published tomorrow [29 November], and will be out for consultation until March 2018. The final London Plan will then be released in autumn 2019.