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Peter Murray

 

The fourth of the Society’s Saturday Morning Planning School talks was on Saturday 11th November 2017 with Rachel Fisher (Head of Infrastructure in the Cities and Local Growth Unit at DCLG) explloring the flip side of local growth – can places become too successful? Drawing on international and UK examples, the talk explored the relationship between planning policy and what happens in reality. Barry Coidan reports.

On Saturday we were treated to Rachel Fisher’s enlivening personal view on how growth happens on the ground in towns and cities here and around the world.

Rachel began with the general and took us down to the particular – Harlow, a planned town in Essex, and Haringey, a not so planned borough of London. On the way we visited New York, Bologna and Bilbao.

In general terms the conditions for growth (and prosperity) are: good jobs, homes (affordable and market priced) and connectivity – be that broadband or transport links. We’re all urban now. The 21st century is the century of cities and London takes its place as a global city – with a huge population vying for limited space. Imagine the functions of New York, Washington and Los Angeles in one place – that’s London. Its size, economy and status means it has a disproportionate impact on the rest of the UK. Scaling a map based on population, the UK looks grotesquely distorted – with London bloating out much of England south of the Wash.

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Peter Murray

 

The third of the Society’s Saturday Morning Planning School talks was on Saturday 4th November 2017 with Dr Paul Watt of Birkbeck College University of London discussing regeneration projects: what is meant by ‘urban regeneration’ and an examination of  what is referred to as ‘sports-led regeneration’ with particular analysis of the 2012 London Olympic Games. Barry Coidan reports.

Dr Watt’s talk – “London 2012 and the post – Olympics city – a hollow legacy?” began with an overview of urban policy, and regeneration in the UK and Europe. We then looked at recent Olympic Games and their raison d’être besides being sporting spectacles, before focusing on the London 2012 Olympics and its stated aims, the geographical area it was to impact on and its outcomes.

Urban Policy is broad brush: focused on area or territorial impact, not geared to a specific clientele, service provision or benefits. Regeneration seeks to bring about physical renewal as well as social and economic improvement to the area affected. This change is to be sustainable and achieved through a mix of private, public and voluntary sector involvement.

There was, however, little evidence that government decision making recognised that urban regeneration affected different people differently. This lack of recognition in developing a regeneration strategy – asking who it was for, who are to be the real beneficiaries – would impact on the desired outcomes.  

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Peter Murray

 

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on London’s Planning and Built Environment met on 31 October. David Taylor, editor of the NLA’s New London Quarterly, reports.

© BAR Productions Joe Howard

London must patch up its relationship with the public over so-called affordable housing by defining its parameters more realistically. But City Hall is aiming to help address quality and the housing shortfall across the capital through more intervention over land assembly, a commitment to tackling supply with new methods of construction across many tenures and a new name-and-shame database on rogue landlords.

Those were some of the key issues to emerge from the recent meeting of the APPG for London’s Planning and Built Environment at Portcullis House.

Chair Rupa Huq, MP for Ealing Central and Acton, introduced the session on how we can deliver genuine high quality homes for Londoners and address a crisis over affordable provision.

Deputy mayor for housing and residential development James Murray said that there had been ‘remarkably few’ opportunities to tighten up the speed of getting the new draft London Plan into place, but that it is expected on 29 November. The story of London over the last two decades, though, was of a 40% increase in jobs, 25% climb in population and 15% in housing supply. ‘It has been a story of jobs and economic success, but housing failure’, he said. ‘It simply hasn’t kept up with demand’. There is an ‘affordability gulf’ in what we are building, and although traditional housebuilders have a large role to play they tend to focus on the high-end homes for sale. London needs some 66,000 homes a year, according to new GLA figures, with 2/3 of them having to be affordable.

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Peter Murray

 

The second in our series of ‘Planning School’ talks was held on 28 October at the Building Centre in Store Street (in association with the Building Environment Trust), with Dr Paul Watt of Birkbeck talking about Social/Affordable Housing in London. Ian R Morrison was in the audience.

A fascinating talk on social housing in London with research that Dr Watt has been doing on estates, illustrated with slides and statistics.

Social housing is allocated on the basis of need, rather than demand and price (market forces). Its alternatives are the private rented sector and owner occupation. Provision varies between countries. At around 20%, the UK is higher than in the U.S., but not as high as other countries in Europe. Its prevalence is determined by political choices, for example social democrat traditions in parts of Europe.

Affordable housing is promoted to help solve the ‘housing crisis’, particularly in London. But affordable can take a number of forms, from being based on local incomes to being tied to a percentage of market rent. But how affordable is affordable? A limit of 80% of market rent in East Village Stratford (the Olympics site) is still out of reach of many local people. The Mayor’s new strategy of ‘genuinely affordable’ will aim to address this.

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Peter Murray

Want to distinguish your Garden City from your City Garden? Want to learn how we went from Green Belt to Green Growth? The London Society’s Saturday Morning City Planning School is for you! Following on from this spring’s immensely successful Architecture School, this new series of talks seeks to provide an overview of how and why our cities have grown in the way they have, with a focus on London.

To find out more and to book for the whole series click here. To book individual talks, go to the events page.

We’ll explore the history of London’s development over the past 2000 years and its urban revival in the past quarter of a century. We’ll explain how decisions are made and how the idea of “affordable” housing, which dominates the media, has emerged over two centuries of debate to the viability-driven decision-making of today. Leading the course will be an expert line-up of speakers, from academia and practice, sharing their experience with an overview of how our city (and cities) have been managed over time and what the future holds.

Details of the five classes, which will be held in the Building Centre in Store Street, WC1 (in association with the Building Environment Trust), can be found here here. If you book the whole series of five, you’ll pay for just four, and non-members who book the whole series will receive a free 12-month membership of the Society.

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Peter Murray

 

The next meeting of the London Planning and Development Forum will be on Monday 25 September at UCL, 14 Upper Woburn Place, WC1H 0NN in the Peter Hall Room, Room G01, Ground Floor, Central House from 2.30 pm.

If you wish to attend, please contact the Secretary, Drummond Robson
robplan@btconnect.com

DISCUSSION TOPICS:
a. Discussion item 1: Draft Mayor’s Transport Strategy 2017
Led by Max Sugarman, the ICE London and South East England External Relations Executive and Mike Keegan and Paul Strang, of TfL

b. Discussion item 2; Esther Kurland of Urban Design London will update us on UDL’s activities and their new book: The Design Companion for Planning and Placemaking by TfL and UDL

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Peter Murray
APPG London Planning and Built Environment

photo ©Agnese Sanvito

The All Parliamentary Group for London’s Planning and Built Environment gathered in Portcullis House last week to hear a panel of experts on the implications of Grenfell Tower for London’s housing stock.

The session was introduced by Rupa Huq, MP for Ealing Central and Acton, and NLA chairman, Peter Murray, who said it was important to learn from events and ensure that the right mechanisms are in place so similar disasters do not happen again.

[The minutes of the meeting can be downloaded here]

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Peter Murray


A new ‘pass-it-on pamphlet’ which seeks to raise awareness of London’s housing crisis and possible solutions has just been launched, which you can read above. 2000 copies of the HOUSE ME LONDON are being distributed to generate public discussion and stimulate a social media campaign around the city’s housing crisis.

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Peter Murray

9781472479020

The Radical and Socialist Tradition in British Planning: From Puritan colonies to garden cities

by Duncan Bowie

Reviewed by Jonathan Manns

This book can be ordered from our bookseller partner John Sandoe Books – click here to find out more.

[This review appeared in the Journal of the London Society, edition 470. More details here.]

Duncan Bowie is well known within London’s urban-planning circles and his new book, The Radical and Socialist Tradition in British Planning, is a timely and useful contribution to the profession’s history. Set out as a chronological narrative of radical and socialist planning from the late-18th to early-20th century, it’s intended to redress a historiographical imbalance which has traditionally focussed heavily on the influence of middle-class philanthropists.

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Peter Murray

 

pil logo 2012-190Society members are invited to the forthcoming meeting of the London Planning and Development Forum on Tuesday 6th December 2.30-5.30pm at Colliers International, 50 George Street W1U 7DY.

If you would like to attend, please contact the Secretary, Drummond Robson on robplan@btconnect.com.

Discussion topics include:

  1. Heathrow Infrastructure Plans. We have invited representatives of some key organisations involved to consider the infrastructure implications for the third London Airport. Simon Earles, Planning Policy Director from BAA Heathrow Airport Limited has agreed to give a short presentation. Michael Schabas Rail expert from First Class Partnerships and Dan Lewis of IoD will also be joining us to lead the discussion. Representatives from TfL, Network Rail, a Legal Representative and have also been invited to consider the implications.
  2. The Mayor’s draft Affordable Housing Strategy SPG has just been published. Riette Oosthuizen of HTA will speak about it.
  3. Green Belt Swaps have recently become current again with decisions on Birmingham’s local plan adoption to include a new sustainable urban extension near Sutton Coldfield justified because Birmingham is “full up”. In the Prime Minister’s constituency of Windsor and Maidenhead 3,000 dwellings are proposed.

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