A representative of a leading housing association said at a meeting I was at recently that development in London was becoming “just too difficult”. High land values, the huge investment in fees before a project gets off the ground, the long delays in planning – a couple of years is not uncommon, larger and trickier sites can sit around for a decade, the uncertainty once the project gets to the planning committee and the possibility of it being called in by the Mayor all add to the difficulties. Birmingham, on the other hand, is enticing developers to the area by promising planning decisions in 16-18 weeks.
If London is to deliver anything like the 65,000 or so homes it needs then the system needs to speed up. But is faster better? The other side of the coin is that local communities want to have a say in what sort of development takes place in their neighbourhood and the Mayor is committed to a system that includes greater consultation. How do we square the circle? I look forward to finding out from Daniel Moylan on March 5.
Daniel is one of the most perceptive politicians on the subject, as Co-Chairman of Urban Design London, a former Kensington and Chelsea Councillor with a focus on planning, design and placemaking, a former Chairman of the Mayor’s Design Advisory Group and instigator of the concept of ‘Good growth’. His criticisms will be robustly rejected, I am sure, by Victoria Hills, the CE of the Royal Town Planning Institute who has had an eminent career in London’s planning system at the GLA and the Old Oak Common Development Corporation.
It should be a lively evening. I look forward to seeing you there and at the other fascinating events the Society has organised over the next month.