Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

BUILDING COULD BE FORCED ON BOROUGHS

  • Comment
Definition of 'strategic' too vague...
Definition of 'strategic' too vague

By Nick Golding

New planning policy guidelines for London have failed to calm worries the capital's mayor will be able to force new developments on boroughs.

The government last week gave new details about its plans to give mayor Ken Livingstone power to adjudicate on 'strategic' planning applications.

Under the proposals, now subject to consultation, the mayor must show that such applications impact on policies in his London Plan and have 'significant effects' that go beyond one borough.

Although Mr Livingstone's powers over planning applications involving waste facilities and tram stops have been clarified, many London councils fear the definition of strategic is so vague that the mayor will be able to impose new developments on unwilling councils.

In particular, there are widespread fears Mr Livingstone will use his new powers to force councils to accept high-rise developments, despite the opposition of councillors.

An Association of London Government source said: 'The problem is that it's for the mayor to decide what he thinks is strategic.'

The scope for conflict is hardly lessened by the government's expectation that disagreements about the definition of strategic 'should be resolved through discussion' between councils and the mayor.

'The option of legal challenge would be available in the event that agreement could not be reached,' the Department for Communities & Local Government Greater London Authority document states. 'We do not propose a role for the secretary of state in arbitration.'

The chairman of the Association of London Borough Planning Officers, Steve Clark, said the organisation believed boroughs, which unlike the mayor held all planning meetings in public, had the strongest democratic mandate to determine applications.

He said: 'I can see that in the future where the mayor takes on more responsibility, [councils] will need to examine more carefully whether an application is referable to the mayor.'

London boroughs have until 2 November to comment on the proposals, which could have a significant impact on how strategic applications are processed in other parts of the country.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.