CPA and WPA (London Property Alliance) Response to Mayor’s Draft London Plan

Friday 9 March

The City and Westminster Property Associations (London Property Alliance) have submitted a joint response to the Mayor’s Draft London Plan – the new strategic planning framework for the capital.

The Alliance, which represents more than 400 of central London’s leading property owners, developers, investors and advisory businesses, has broadly welcomed the aspirations and ambitions of the Draft London Plan, in particular its commitment  to “Good Growth” and increased focus on housing delivery.

However, the Alliance is concerned that the Plan is overly focused on detailed local policies, which gobeyond the Mayor’s strategic remit. The Alliance argues that the local councils should be given more leeway to formulate detailed local policy. The Alliance is also concerned about the lack of support for the West End as an international business, retail, leisure and cultural district.

Below are some of the key areas that the Alliance highlighted in its representations:

The City of London – Given the importance of the City of London to the health of the UK economy, the Alliance suggests that the Plan should recognise and explicitly support the City’s role as the world’s leading international financial and business centre.

The West End – The role of the West End and the Central Activities Zone are incredibly important for London’s economic growth. The draft Plan should explicitly recognise the West End’s importance and strengthen its support for the critical functions that it delivers for London. Greater support and increased flexibility for the West End’s retail, office and business uses in particular should be incorporated into the Plan.

Housing – The Alliance recognises the Mayor’s ambition to deliver more housing.  The new targets represent a very significant increase above historic trends. Whilst the Alliance understands the priority for affordable housing to be provided on site, the Plan should be moderated to accept that off-site provision may be acceptable in some circumstances, especially in the West End where this leads to a greater quantity/quality of affordable housing being delivered and helps to promote the strategic functions of the West End.

Design and Heritage – The emerging policies on design and heritage are too prescriptive in places.  The Alliance is concerned that they may stifle opportunities to maximise the efficient use of land, hindering the ability of the Plan to deliver “Good Growth”. There should be more encouragement to optimise density in appropriate locations, including the West End. The level of detail included in the Plan should be reduced to provide councils with more leeway on local policy.