Westminster announces delay to plan timetable in view of housing policy changes

Westminster City Council has this week announced a delay to the programme for revising its key planning blueprint, attributing the decision to new national and mayoral policy announcements on housing.

Westminster City Council: has announced revision to plan timetable
Westminster City Council: has announced revision to plan timetable

In a letter issued yesterday, Daniel Astaire, the council’s cabinet member for planning and public realm, announced that the timeline for preparing the full review of the City Plan has been put back.

Consultation had been expected on the document this autumn but Astaire says this will now be put back to spring 2018.

The move, he says, is "in direct response to the mayor and central government making a number of significant policy announcements in recent months, particularly on affordable housing".

Astaire says the mayor is set to publish the draft London Plan at the end of November and that next week’s Budget will include "proposals that we will have to take into account".

"Adjusting our timetable will enable us to better consider and take account of these new overarching regional and national strategies and policies, so the City Plan will be much more robust", says Astaire.

"There is, of course, never a time when the landscape is wholly settled, but there are times, such as currently, when you know that information is forthcoming which means that in the long-run it will be more effective to take the time to take this on board rather than to be forced to make major changes later on."

Under the proposed new London Plan housing figures, Westminster’s annual target for new homes would fall slightly, from 1,068 in the current plan to 1,010 in the new plan.

Astaire says the plan will resist permitting new tall buildings "anywhere across the City". "Such a blanket approach would risk Westminster’s unique character," he says.

"We want to take forward innovative approaches such as infilling, better use of existing space and bringing buildings up to the same height as their immediate surroundings."

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