London mayor Boris Johnson today published new guidance aimed at better protecting the capital’s commercial areas from encroaching residential development
A supplementary planning guidance to the London Plan covering the central activities zone (CAZ) outlines a hierarchy of areas where local authorities will be expected to direct housing.
For the first time, planning policy states that homes are not appropriate in ‘commercial core areas’ of the City of London, along with the ‘commercial core’ of the north of the Isle of Dogs.
Speaking at MIPIM, the international property conference being held in Cannes, Johnson said: ‘The heart of the capital is the foundation of London’s reputation as best city in the world in which to do business.
‘While we continue to do all we can to increase housing supply city-wide, it is also vital that we protect our office space so central London continues to be a key generator of economic prosperity for the entire country.’
Outside the core commercial areas in the City and Docklands, a second tier would require offices to be given greater weight compared to housing.
This zone includes other parts of the City and Isle of Dogs, the West End, Soho, Covent Garden, Marlyebone and Fitzrovia plus a number of specific areas which are designated for intensification.
The third tier, where offices and housing can be given equal weight, include Vauxhall, Nine Elms, Battersea, the Elephant & Castle and Old Kent Road, along with other predominantly residential neighbourhoods and streets.
The document said: ‘Whilst high office values in some central areas provide scope to support a mix of uses and contribute towards meeting London’s housing need, increasing residential values within the CAZ are leading to pressures on existing office floorspace.
‘Cumulatively, the loss of office stock within the CAZ to residential development has the potential to undermine the strategic functions of the CAZ and its offer as a competitive national and global business location.’
Johnson has also published new housing supplementary planning guidance which aims to provide direction on encouraging private rental development and on viability appraisals, as well as identifying sites for new homes.