20 Nov 2018

Islington Council invites feedback on the borough’s new Local Plan

Islington Council is consulting on a new Local Plan to setting out a range of planning policies to steer development in the borough over the next fifteen years, covering the period 2020 to 2035.

The draft Islington Local Plan uses planning policy to promote the social objective of making Islington a fairer place, ensuring that the borough grows in an inclusive and sustainable way as part of one of the largest and most populous cities in the world.

The council’s main priorities for a new Local Plan include:

  • Delivering more high-quality and genuinely affordable homes: at least 50% of new homes must be genuinely affordable and be built to high-quality standards, including meeting minimum space and accessibility standards and providing private outdoor space.
  • Creating a thriving, inclusive local economy: all new office developments will need to provide at least 10% of floorspace as affordable workspace, which is let by local businesses at low rents. The plan also protects town centres to ensure they can adapt to meet the evolving needs and shopping habits in the borough and restricts betting shops and hot food takeaways.
  • Protect Islington’s environment and character: The plan restricts the location and height of tall buildings and ensures that all new buildings are high quality, meeting stringent sustainability standards to protect against climate change.

The draft Local Plan also builds on the Council’s current strong approach to viability. Islington Council has been very successful in ensuring that viability information is properly and fairly scrutinised, evidenced by the Parkhurst Road planning application and subsequent court case. The draft Local Plan builds on this approach by utilising viability tools to secure greater levels of affordable housing, including review mechanisms where developers have make more contributions toward affordable housing in future if the original viability calculations at planning stage are found to be incorrect.

The draft plan has been informed by previous consultations with local communities and public and private sector partners.

The council is inviting feedback on the draft Local Plan, particularly from Islington residents as well as those work or spend significant time in the borough. The consultation will run from 20 November 2018 to 14 January 2019.

Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Executive Member for Housing and Development said: 

“Islington is a thriving borough with a diverse and incredibly inclusive community, and a rich cultural history that is reflected in our built environment.

“However, we are also a dense, inner-city borough with some of the challenges that go along with that, including a desperate need for genuinely affordable housing and a lack of affordable workspace. The Islington Local Plan is an opportunity to use planning policy as a tool to help address some of those challenges.

“The Council has been very successful in the past using tough planning policy to ensure that developers deliver the homes and workplaces local people need, and the new Local Plan builds on that approach. We have very little usable space for development left in Islington so each and every development in the borough must make the best possible use of space, as well as providing tangible benefits that help ensure that everyone, whatever their background, has the same opportunity to reach their potential and enjoy a good quality of life.”

Contact Information

Islington Council Media Team

Follow us on Twitter @IslingtonBC and @IslingtonLife

Tel: 020 7527 2307

Out of Hours: 07769 163303

media.team@islington.gov.uk

Notes to editors

  • More information about the Islington Local Plan is available on the council’s website.

  • Responses to the consultation can be submitted by e-mail to planningpolicy@islington.gov.uk, or in writing to: Planning Policy Team, Freepost RTXU-ETKU-KECB, Planning Policy, Islington Council, Town Hall, Upper Street, London N1 2UD.

  • Top Ten policy points from the draft Islington Local Plan:
  1. Maximise delivery of genuinely affordable housing

The draft Local Plan sets out strong policies requiring 50% of all new housing to be genuinely affordable. Social rent continues to be the priority affordable tenure; tenures that aren’t considered to be genuinely affordable will not be acceptable.

The draft Local Plan also builds on the Council’s current strong approach to viability. Islington Council has been very successful in ensuring that viability information is properly and fairly scrutinised, evidenced by the Parkhurst Road planning application and subsequent court case. The draft Local Plan builds on this approach by utilising viability tools to secure greater levels of affordable housing, including review mechanisms where developers have make more contributions toward affordable housing in future (when a scheme is almost complete) if the original viability calculations at planning stage are found to be incorrect.

  1. Strong requirement for affordable workspace

To support the council’s growing affordable workspace programme, new office developments across the borough will be required to provide at least 10% of proposed floorspace as affordable workspace, let to the council at very low (peppercorn) rates for at least 20 years. Through the subsequent letting of these spaces, the Council will ensure that social value is maximised, particularly that local businesses have the opportunity to access affordable space.

  1. Ensure all new housing is high quality, and sustainable

The draft Local Plan proposes policies that require new homes to be built to the best possible standards for residents, including a requirement to meet minimum space standards and levels of accessibility, and provide private outdoor space for every home. All housing developments will be ‘tenure blind’, meaning that market and affordable tenures will be indistinguishable from one another.

  1. Facilitate jobs growth through provision of new employment space

Evidence suggests that a significant number of jobs will need to be accommodated in the borough over the next 15-20 years, meaning that new employment space must be planned for in order to maintain Islington’s strong economy. The draft Local Plan proposes a range of employment areas where new space should be focused, particularly in the south of the borough; within these areas, the Local Plan sets out a clear priority for employment space, particularly office space over other types of development. 

  1. Futureproofing Islington’s Town Centres

Shopping habits are changing and Islington’s retail areas need to adapt to this. The draft Local Plan proposes focusing protection of shops to the core areas of Town Centres, while allowing flexibility outside of this core that will help diversify town centres to deliver uses such as restaurants, cafes and cultural facilities. 

  1. Restricting uses which do not make the best use of land and resisting uses which affect the health and wellbeing of residents

The draft Local Plan restricts proposals for new hotels to specific locations. The scarce amount of land available for development in the borough means that housing and employment space are the priority over other uses such as hotels. The draft Local Plan proposes strong restrictions on the number and location of betting shops and hot food takeaways in the borough. These uses can have significant impacts, especially where there are clusters of such uses. 

  1. Identify cultural quarters to protect and enhance Islington’s unique cultural assets

The draft Local Plan proposes cultural quarter designations at Angel, Archway and Clerkenwell/Farringdon. These vibrant areas have existing concentrations of cultural uses with potential to further develop their cultural offer.

  1. Protecting Islington’s unique character in the built environment

Projected steep increases in population, combined with the lack of developable land, and the borough’s desperate need for more genuinely affordable housing and workspace means we will need to consider development applications for taller buildings. The plan restricts the location and height of tall buildings and puts strict conditions in place. A number of specific sites have been identified where new buildings over 30m may be acceptable, subject to strict criteria. These sites have been informed by a comprehensive urban design study, and will help meet the borough’s needs for genuinely affordable housing and workspace while protecting the boroughs unique character.

  1. Requiring advanced sustainability standards to tackle climate change

New buildings will be required to meet various sustainable design standards in order to mitigate and adapt to climate change, including Fabric Energy Efficiency Standards which aim to ensure that consideration of sustainability is factored in from the very first stages of building design. 

  1. Ensure that well established businesses are not affected by new development

Where new development, particularly residential development, is proposed near to existing commercial uses, this can often generate complaints due to noise and the general functioning of the commercial business. The draft Local Plan introduces the ‘agent-of-change’ principle to give such businesses better protection where new development occurs nearby.