Why not comment on Hackney Councils development plans? These are our initial thoughts.

**** NEWS 25th September NEWS ***

We've submitted our response to the Development Management Local Plan consultation.  SH.consultation.response.DMLP.pdf Thanks for your input.

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Hackney Council is consulting on two important planning documents. Sustainable Hackney will submit its own response to the consultation and we urge you to do the same before the consultation closes on 25th September. We will put out our final submission after the next steering group in the last week of August so let us know before that meeting if you think there are other important issues we should address in our response. Our initial thoughts are as follows:-


Site Allocations Local Plan

This lists sites suitable for new developments and explains what the Council would require to allow such developments. Please check the developments that affect your area and tell Council Officers if they need to set stricter rules. Site Allocations Local Plan

We will suggest that the Council needs to be more active both in identifying empty properties and underutilised space such as the retail storage space above shops on Kingsland High Street. Before approving new development we believe the Council should make best use of the buildings that already exist. And we will suggest they use the “new homes bonus” they receive from government to do so.


Development Management Local Plan

This is split into the chapters listed below and includes a series of development measures. Below are listed the key chapter headings and our initial thoughts on how those measures could be improved. Please respond to the consultation and tell us if there are other measures we should try to change. Development Management Local Plan

Chapter 3, Delivering Sustainable Growth
DM1 – High quality design
We are concerned that there is token consultation on too many developments and that too little notice is taken of the comments made by those who respond. Among the general requirements for new developments we would like the Local Plan to require developers to provide proper consultation and to take more note of what they are told.

With local residents living longer we would like the plan to require all new homes to be built to the lifetime homes standard so they can be easily modified to address our changing needs as we get older.

DM2 – Development and amenity
This section does consider some of our concerns about developments that might swamp or overdevelop an area. We’d like to hear from supporters if the standards in the London Housing Design guide are high enough and if there are areas that could be improved to address these concerns.

Chapter 4, A Dynamic and Creative Economy
DM8 – Small and independent shops
While we welcome Hackney’s continues commitment to support small and local businesses we would also like more Hackney shopping is done in Hackney to reduce travel distances and increase local employment. We think Hackney should analyse what is missing from local shops and survey the firms that might fill the gaps to ask what premises they need. Only then can they ensure that developers are building shops that will be used.

DM10 – Change of use of shops outside town centres
Non viable shops should be put to productive use but conversion to residential use is often done so poorly that it detracts from the local environment. Often there is no storage space for waste bins and entrances are hidden away and unsafe. We’d like the Council to develop area specific design guidance for conversions of former shops in consultation with local residents to ensure such conversions enhance the locality.

DM14 - Retention of employment land and floorspace
We are concerned that too many developers simply flaunt local plans to retain employment (and residential) use by pretending they cannot re-let such properties when they have not really tried in practise. We will be asking that any application for change of use based on such justification is not delegated but referred to full planning committee to allow local residents and business to challenge false claims.

Chapter 5, Providing better homes
DM19 – General approach to new housing development
Hackney has exceeded the Borough targets for new housing set in the London Plan and plans to continue to do so. Londoners need more housing but some local residents are concerned there is a risk of overdevelopment that puts further stress of schools, amenities and transport systems. Is it useful to try and define “overdevelopment”? Can the safeguards in the plan be improved to ensure this does not happen?

The first step to minimising overdevelopment is to make best use of all existing properties. We will be suggesting “new homes bonus” funding is used to identify empty and underutilised properties and generate plans to sunse they are properly used.

DM21 – Affordable housing delivery
The current supply of affordable housing is inadequate to meet local need. We’d like a target of 50% included in the Local Plan and a definition of what that means to ensure such housing really is affordable. And we think that if more homes are built in Hackney than planned then the proportion that are affordable should remain the same.

Chapter 6, Cleaner, Safer, Greener
DM31 – Open space and living roofs
Hackney does have lots of open green space but it is not in the areas under most intense development pressure. We would like to see a positive commitment to identify the parts of the Borough that do not have access to local open space, the identification of potential sites for new green space and a requirement that new developments create such space.

DM34 Sites of nature conservation value
LBH will not permit any development on green space unless under very exceptional cirumstances it can be clearly demonstarted that there is a public benefit to the majority of Hackney residents. Under no circumstances will any development be permitted on designated nature reserves and SINCs (Sites of Important for Nature Conservation). SINCs are vital links to the natural world and a precious resource. In order to protect them LBH will not permit development within 10m of such sites unless the development includes substantial green, open areas and sympathetic planting. A buffer zone of 50m around all SINCs will be subject to special development control to ensure all developments close to SINCs add to rrather than detract from those green spces. In areas of known deficiency in green space all major developments (i.e. more than 50 units) will be required to enhance local public amenity by creating public open space and public treed areas.

DM35 Landscaping and tree management
LBH is aware of and firmly committed to its statutory duty to protect trees. All developments will be expected to conform fully to the British Standard 5837 in design and protection for trees. Root Protection Areas (RPAs) will always be respected. Developments requiring fdelling of category B trees will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances where the landscaping benefits of the development clearly outweigh the value of the existing trees. Developments requiring the felling of category A trees will not be permitted.

Chapter 7, Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability
DM38 – Sustainability standards for minor residential development
Part L of the Building Regulations is supposed to reduce the carbon emissions from building and to apply to significant change to existing buildings. We are concerned it is not being properly enforced. For example if a block of flats is re-rendered the additional cost of adding external wall insulation is minor but such work is rarely done despite it being required by Part L. We will be asking the Local Plan to commit the Council to properly enforce such regulations.

Chapter 8, Transport
DM46 – Development and transport
We’d like the Local Plan to commit Hackney to a modal shift in transport use away from cars and towards walking, cycling and public transport. We’d like all major developments to contribute in some way to such a modal shift. Hackney just cannot take any more development unless more of its residents switch to sustainable forms of transport.

DM47 – Walking and cycling
We welcome the commitment to increased permeability. This is where ramped routes encourage more direct access across Hackney. We plan to point out this is not just good for cyclists. It is good for pedestrians too; particularly for those who elderly and have mobility problems.

DM48 – Car free and car capped development
We don’t understand why any off street parking should be allowed unless new developments first make provision for car club parking.

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Comment by James Diamond on August 21, 2012 at 16:58

Re DM21:- Affordable Housing Delivery.  I support the idea that the affordable housing target should be 50% of the total homes built in the borough, and that the 50% target should be included in DM21.

From 2005-2011 42% of the housing built in Hackney was classed as affordable (3,683 out of 8,786 units), so delivery of affordable housing continues to be a key issue.  The current target for affordable housing is set at 50% of the London Plan and is not adjusted upwards when development in excess of plan occurs.

Comment by James Diamond on August 21, 2012 at 16:32

Re DM19: General approach to development.  I'm not sure if people are generally aware of the rate of housing development in Hackney.  Hackney is already 4 years ahead of it's London Plan target for new homes, and will achieve it's 2021 target by 2017 according to the council's Annual Monitoring Report (see table 26)  The projections are for a 33% increase in the number of homes in Hackney by 2027 from a 2007 baseline.  This level of development assumes significant movement into the borough and will mostly be provided by development for profit.  

While it is great that Hackney is now a place people want to live is this what the people of Hackney really want?   Will it meet the needs of local people for more affordable housing?  How will Hackney adapt?

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