Archive for the ‘planning’ Category

The next (2014) London Plan

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

20 January 2014 addition: the new Plan is now out. To find it and to follow the story and debates go to the Just Space site   I may, though, add some personal observations on the end of this post.

10 December 2013: I keep having to respond to questions about what the big issues will be when the next London Plan appears for consultation in January.  This is an attempt to write it down systematically. So far it is a purely personal statement and if any of it gets adopted by JustSpace or others then I’ll tell you. And it’s a draft with data and references to be added. Thinking aloud. (more…)

Housing, a quick note

Monday, October 28th, 2013

28 Oct 2013 Interesting Twitter exchange just now, started by Tom Neumark (see screenshot below), needs more than 140 character response. [Later:  his blog has a longer version and I hadn't connected it before. ]

The way people relate to housing and to the financial relationships which now govern so much of it is very fragmented: outright owners and established mortgage-payers gaining from price growth; new buyers maybe struggling and very exposed to interest-rate increases, especially if they have high LTV; frustrated would-be-buyers priced out; private tenants suffering under rents which in SE and some other places are extremely high with quality often very poor; social tenants finding their rents being jacked up to “affordable” levels, and in many places subject now to eviction/’decanting’ to make way for private development; homelessness and overcrowding booming; rumours of extensive vacant dwellings in London; loads of under-occupation (see previous post). (more…)

Better than a bedroom tax

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

13 Oct 2013 This is an argument I keep having with people, so here it is for reference:

There is certainly a lot of under-occupation in the English housing stock: not much in privately-rented units but a lot in the owner-0ccupied and social rented sectors.  This wastes family-sized dwellings occupied by singles and couples who neither need nor want so much space. (more…)

British Housing – a short intro

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Asked to write a very short introduction for a special issue on the UK of a German tenants’ magazine Mieter Echo.   This has actually been very hard to do and I’m nervous about their response. This is what I sent them:


Background to housing in the UK

It is always very hard to make sense of the housing situation in another country because the social relations surrounding housing and land everywhere incorporate historical legacies which we take for granted. (more…)

London Plan and the Mayor’s raspberry

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

[24 August 2013 This post may—subject to other people's comments—end up on the JustSpace website but at the moment is just my own first rather rushed comment on the situation. Thanks to Robin Brown for some corrections/improvements 25 August.]

The Mayor of London published in 2012 some alterations he wanted to make to the 2011 London Plan, mainly to bring it into line with the coalition government’s National Planning Policy Framework. Just Space and many others responded to the consultation about these changes and then took part in hearings (Examination in Public -EiP) last autumn [ Earlier post on the EiP ]. The Inspector who held the hearings said he expected to report in January 2013 but his report was long delayed… (Eventually we may find out why). The Mayor rejects outright the Inspector’s main proposed change but our arguments failed to persuade even the Inspector on the central issue: that housing policy should prioritise the worsening needs of low- and middle-income Londoners. If the Mayor gets his way, the priority will be maximum output of housing units in total and, within that, of “affordable” rented units with rents at 65-80% of market rent levels. (more…)


Friday, August 2nd, 2013

2 August is the last day for the current consultation on proposals for another radial tube line in London, Crossrail 2 (superceeding what used to be known as the Chelsea-Hackney line).  This is my pennyworth sent in today. (more…)

Is our recession a bit ‘Japanese’?

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

Todays’ papers and tweets are drawing parallels with Japan’s ‘lost decade’. That reminded me of our (JustSpace’s) exchanges with City Hall in 2010 where we were arguing that the recession would be long and deep, and exacerbated by public spending cuts. We argued that the London Plan should at least allow for the fact that this might be the future, even if their preference still was to treat the “recent downturn” as a blip. They really were so wrong and I just enjoyed re-reading the two papers they then produced, criticising our position. They aren’t on the GLA web site any more so here they are for the record:

20100903ED82PublicExpenditureLondonPlanStrategy (Japan discussion on page 3)

20101014Reply to Edwards

Has the Olympic legacy lived up to its promise?

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Asked by Building Design to be half of a debate on this question

Find it in BD at You have to register but it’s free. (more…)

“Regeneration” research note

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Arising indirectly from the long saga surrounding UCL’s plans to develop a new campus on the site occupied by the Carpenters council estate in Newham, the UCL Urban Lab took an initiative to convene an informal meeting of London researchers and community groups on the theme of “regeneration’ research. The first meeting took place in July 2013 and my contribution was a short note calling for longitudinal studies of regeneration impacts. Discussion on this will be warmly welcomed – preferably in the form of comments here in the blog.

This is the note I wrote:  Regeneration research note by ME

A version of it is about to be published in a November 2013 Urban Lab pamphlet #2

HS2 – a comment

Friday, July 12th, 2013

I was trying to keep out of this awful project but we had a request for support from tenants in Camden, part of the pan-Camden HS2 alliance, and I’m glad to say that three UCL Bartlett students offered to help (I’ll name them if they agree).  We took part in some meetings, wrote some structuring suggestions to frame the immense local and technical knowledge available and provided some editorial support. We hope it was helpful.  Will add some links when I have them.

On the last day for submitting observations on the “draft Environmental Statement”, yesterday, I added my own pennyworth.  This is it (links added).  (more…)