London Plan (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
December 14, 2017
Question By: 
Nicky Gavron
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Nicky Gavron AM:  Mr Mayor, I would like to ask you about the draft London Plan, but before I do I want to just say that I really welcome the fact that this Plan is more people-centred.  I want to follow up from what Andrew Boff [AM] was saying about another aspect of families living.  It is families with children and young people living at high densities.  That is what my question is about.


I noticed that the draft London Plan is very strong on play policies and they are really good, innovative policies on outdoor play and independent mobility for children, which is important in a city like London.  However, in order for this to work in high-rise, high density housing association/council estates, it is important that children have easy access to outside play areas and that also that their parents can overlook and see, in an informal way, because the play provision will be, as it says in the guidance, close by.


All over the world, from Auckland to Vancouver, planning departments have policies which say that families with children and young people in them should not live above the fifth floor.  That is for the reasons that I have just outlined.  Would you be prepared, therefore, to consider a presumption against families with children and young people in them living above, say, the fifth floor?

Supplementary To: 


Answer for London Plan (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for London Plan (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  As you will appreciate, the Mayor cannot decide the allocation of homes.  That is a job for the council or housing association.  The allocation of which family gets which home is not decided by the Mayor ‑‑


Nicky Gavron AM:  It is not which family; it is larger units - this is a planning policy - larger units at lower levels of developments.  That is planning.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I am really happy during the draft London Plan stage for you to make those representations and others may as well, but we have built in play space in the draft London Plan because you are right about the importance of families with children having sufficient play space.  For example, we have made sure there is provision of safe, accessible, well-designed play and leisure spaces as part and parcel of delivering good growth and an important part of children having access to places to play.  The Healthy Streets approach encourages local authorities, when it comes to planning, to make sure children have places to play, and the draft plan also includes a requirement for 10 square metres of play space per child in residential developments.


You make a different point, though, in relation to the units of homes on floors zero to five being bigger units for families, as you suggest.  I am really happy during the draft London Plan stage and during the consultation phase for you and others to make submissions in that regard.  I am sure, when it comes to the inspectorate stage, those will be taken on board.


Nicky Gavron AM:  That is very welcome because good growth really has to mean that it is good for children and young people, and there is evidence of the harm done to children and young people if their accommodation is high up in tower blocks.  We have the evidence of that.  Restricted play opportunities and social isolation have led to behavioural change and have sometimes led to mental ill-health.  It would be really good if we can have a very strong steer on this both for the local plans at borough level and for your own strategic planning applications.  It needs really to be not just in the Housing Strategy but in the London Plan as well.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  That is why I am very interested, Chair, in the point you make.  It is a really interesting point, which is why I would encourage you to make sure that you respond to the draft London Plan but with evidence, obviously, because there are other studies that say residence on higher floors of high-density developments can have a positive impact on health and social outcomes as well as high levels of satisfaction.  I would encourage you to please respond to the draft London Plan consultation phase to try to bring about the changes you are referring to because I am fascinated by what you say.


Nicky Gavron AM:  Thank you.  I will have to look at that because it is about giving access to outdoor play with other children, but I will come back to you on it.