Central London business neighbourhood plan passed in local votes

A cross-boundary business neighbourhood plan in one of central London's tourist hotspots, covering locations including the Southbank Centre, the National Theatre and Waterloo Station, has passed two local referenda.

London's Southbank: area included in neighbourhood plan
London's Southbank: area included in neighbourhood plan

The South Bank & Waterloo Neighbourhood Plan was one of London's first business neighbourhood plan bodies and one of the first to cover more than one local authority area.

Most of the neighbourhood plan area is in the London Borough of Lambeth but part of it covers the London Borough of Southwark.

The plan area includes the Southbank Centre, the National Theatre, Waterloo Station, Lambeth Palace, the London Eye and the London Dungeon.

The submitted plan includes no site allocations and proposes 20 policies, including support for the provision of green infrastructure and open space with new schemes, improvements to air quality plus affordable housing policies.

The plan was passed at two local referenda - one for residents and one for businesses - held in both council areas last Thursday, 24 October.

In the residents referendum, it was backed by 92 per cent of voters on an 11 per cent turnout; while 91 per cent of businesses supported it on a 43 per cent turnout.

The document now forms part of both local authorities’ local planning policies.

The plan was put together by the South Bank and Waterloo Neighbours Neighbourhood Forum.

It was one of five business neighbourhood plan "frontrunners" unveiled by the government back in 2011.

A report by independent examiner Christopher Lockhart-Mummery QC, published at the end of May, found that the plan can proceed to referendum subject to a series of modifications.

Among the changes, he recommended that two policies on affordable housing - one supporting provision for "specified target groups" and the second encouraging features such as co-housing to accommodate such groups - should be deleted because he found them inconsistent with local and national policies.

Lockhart-Mummery also recommended the deletion of a policy that "seeks to direct" the neighbourhood element of the community infrastrucure levy (CIL) generated in the area to be used to fund a series of local projects set out in the plan.

The examiner said he "would have concerns over the propriety of this policy constraining the discretion of each council as to how it should spend its CIL".

However, overall, Lockhart-Mummery said the plan was "well researched, well presented and undoubtedly provides additional detail and a distinct local approach to the existing development plan".

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