The London Plan is essential reading for anyone who wants to know where the capital is headed. Sadiq Khan published his new draft of this super-important planning framework at the start of the month, and once finalised – after a bone-numbingly tedious but democratic process lasting about 18 months – it’ll affect every Londoner. But if you don’t have the patience to wade through all 524 dense pages (and who does, tbh?) then relax: here’s what you need to know.
1. There’ll be more homes built (including affordable ones)
Sadiq’s new plan gives every council a new target for building on small plots of land, making the suburbs more densely built-up over the course of ten years. The aim will be for 50 percent of all new homes built to be ‘affordable’ (meaning social rent or London Living Rent), while market-rate and subsidised housing will have to be built in the same place, not separated. Housing crisis: solved? Well, it’s a start.
2. London is going to get greener
Alongside the plans for loads of new homes, there are measures to protect the green belt and encourage the ‘greening’ of walls and roofs, making London even leafier. The London Plan backs the campaign to make the capital a National Park City, and also says a big fat ‘no’ to fracking – so if you fancied tapping into that juicy supply of oil and gas that’s lurking under the local corner shop, you can frack right off.
3. There’ll be more places to spend a penny…
London isn’t too convenient when it comes to conveniences. But everyone needs a place to go, and the draft London Plan proposes a new wave of free public loos in commercial developments, including facilities for babies, pregnant women, disabled people and Londoners of all genders.
4. …and more spaces to stash your wheels (two, not four)
The mayor wants to make London a ‘zero-carbon city’ by 2050 – and that’s unlikely to happen unless loads more people get on their bikes. So new buildings will have to provide lots more cycle parking, taking over car parking spaces if needs be. Take that, carbon!
5. Pubs and music venues will get better protection
Over the last decade and a half London has lost 81 pubs a year, and a quarter of the city’s music venues closed between 2007 and 2015. The draft London Plan introduces the ‘agent of change’ principle, ensuring that anyone building new flats would have to make sure their residents weren’t disturbed by existing venues. This would help stop noise complaints from shutting down established pubs and clubs: a nice win for music fans and industry types who’ve been campaigning for an ‘agent of change’ for years. Now, whose round is it?
Get involved! Have your say on the draft London Plan by visiting www.london.gov.uk.