More safety advice urged

The Greater London Authority (GLA) must offer more help on development proposals near hazardous installations, according to business group London First.

It wants City Hall experts to help determine applications near structures such as gasholders, as in the ongoing public inquiry for a hotel development at the Oval cricket ground in south London that has fallen foul of health and safety inspectors.

London First's call came in response to mayor Boris Johnson's initial consultation on revisions to the London Plan, which drew to a close this week.

Director of planning and development Judith Salomon said: "Hazardous installations have become such an issue in the past couple of years. The Health and Safety Executive has an automated model for assessment, which is a very blunt tool. It is such a specialist area. Skilled GLA planners could help on a case-by-case basis."

London First also called for planning policy to become more flexible to allow taller developments for the east end of Oxford Street. "It is mostly hats and souvenir shops at the moment. What we need there is a large flagship store," Salomon added. The organisation also backed the use of section 106 obligations to contribute towards funding Crossrail.

Johnson published Planning for a Better London in the summer (Planning, 11 July, p2). A GLA spokesman said: "We are likely to produce a response before Christmas to detail how we will take forward any changes."

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