Last week’s letter by the Secretary of State to the Mayor of London reinforces the ‘Intended to Publish London Plan’ (ItPLP, December 2019) focus on height, welcoming tall buildings as a way of restricting calls on the Green Belt and other protected space.

In short, under the right circumstances development in and associated with existing tall buildings groups of clusters should potentially get taller.

At the same time, the new tall building policy in the ItPLP is more robust than the existing one in relation to heritage, while readers will also note that the capital’s World Heritage Sites are all near to Opportunity Areas.

Some are critical of the ItPLP approach on height because it could be construed as too rigid, and so frustrating the development of dense development in locations that can sustain height.

It does though require London local authorities to positively identify areas appropriate for tall buildings through a rigorous evidence base.

A number of recently adopted or emerging constituent authority plans have not, it must be said, followed this approach, which is resource heavy and time consuming, and needs to be robust to sustain challenges from landowners and other interests.  

Meanwhile new local plans, especially in Central London Boroughs, are tending to seek to maintain some flexibility in the pursuit of housing objectives, particularly affordable housing.