Policy 2.13 Opportunity Areas and Intensification Areas

Policy

Strategic

A    Within the opportunity and intensification areas shown in Map 2.4, the Mayor will:

a  provide proactive encouragement, support and leadership for partnerships preparing and implementing opportunity area planning frameworks to realise these areas’ growth potential in the terms of Annex 1, recognising that there are different models for carrying these forward; or

b  build on frameworks already developed; and

c  ensure that his agencies (including Transport for London) work collaboratively and with others to identify those opportunity and intensification areas that require public investment and intervention to achieve their growth potential

d  encourage boroughs to progress and implement planning frameworks to realise the potential of intensification areas in the terms of Annex 1, and will provide strategic support where necessary.

Planning decisions

B    Development proposals within opportunity areas and intensification areas should:

a  support the strategic policy directions for the opportunity areas and intensification areas set out in Annex 1, and where relevant, in adopted opportunity area planning frameworks

b  seek to optimise residential and non-residential output and densities, provide necessary social and other infrastructure to sustain growth, and, where appropriate, contain a mix of uses

c  contribute towards meeting (or where appropriate, exceeding) the minimum guidelines for housing and/or indicative estimates for employment capacity set out in Annex 1, tested as appropriate through opportunity area planning frameworks and/or local development frameworks

d  realise scope for intensification associated with existing or proposed improvements in public transport accessibility, such as Crossrail, making better use of existing infrastructure and promote inclusive access including cycling and walking

e support wider regeneration (including in particular improvements to environmental quality) and integrate development proposals to the surrounding areas especially areas for regeneration.  

LDF preparation

C    Within LDFs boroughs should develop more detailed policies and proposals for opportunity areas and intensification areas. 

Supporting text

2.58  Opportunity areas are the capital’s major reservoir of brownfield land with significant capacity to accommodate new housing, commercial and other development linked to existing or potential improvements to public transport accessibility.  Typically they can accommodate at least 5,000 jobs or 2,500 new homes or a combination of the two, along with other supporting facilities and infrastructure.

2.59  Intensification areas are typically built-up areas with good existing or potential public transport accessibility which can support redevelopment at higher densities. They have significant capacity for new jobs and homes but at a level below that which can be achieved in the opportunity areas.

2.60  The broad locations of London’s opportunity areas and intensification areas are set out in Map 2.4. The strategic policy directions for London’s opportunity areas and intensification areas, and minimum guidelines for housing and indicative estimates for employment capacity, are set out in Annex 1. Together, the opportunity areas have capacity for 575,000 additional jobs and 303,000 additional homes; the intensification areas can accommodate 8,000 new jobs and a further 8,650 homes.

Map 2.4 Opportunity and Intensification Areas

Map 2.4 Opportunity and Intensification Areas

2.61  The opportunity areas are diverse, ranging in size from 3,900 hectares (Upper Lee Valley) to 19 hectares (Tottenham Court Road). The 12 areas in east London together cover 9,000 hectares of land, and have capacity for 217,000 jobs (including 110,000 at the Isle of Dogs and 50,000 in the Lower Lee Valley including Stratford) and 126,500 homes (including 32,000 in the Lower Lee Valley and 26,500 at London Riverside).  Some, particularly some of those in east London, will require substantial public investment or other intervention to bring forward and these will be given priority in the Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy and in the programmes of the GLA Group to address market failure or weakness. In others, such as Tottenham Court Road, the market will be stronger and public intervention can be restricted to ensuring an appropriate planning policy framework.  Similar considerations apply to intensification areas. The Mayor expects both types of area to make particularly significant contributions towards meeting London’s housing needs. 

2.62  Planning frameworks, investment plans and other spatial interventions for these areas should focus on implementation, identifying both the opportunities and challenges that need resolving such as land use, infrastructure, access, energy requirements, spatial integration, regeneration, investment, land assembly and phasing. With support from strategic partners, they should set realistic programmes and timescales for delivery. The Mayor will continue to work with boroughs and other delivery partners to ensure that the development capacity estimates for the Opportunity and Intensification areas are up-to-date, realistic and aligned with strategic as well as local priorities. There is concern that aspirational employment allocations should not fossilise housing potential (see Policy 3.3). To ensure that housing output is optimised, employment capacities should, if necessary, be reviewed in the light of strategic and local employment projections. In addition, the scope for larger areas to determine their own character should be fully realised in terms of housing densities, including those towards the top of the relevant density scale where appropriate. The Housing SPG provides guidance where these ranges may be exceeded in justified, exceptional circumstances. It is essential that a high quality residential environment and public realm is secured in these areas and that they are developed in line with Lifetime Neighbourhood Principles in Policy 7.1.

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