Accessible London: Achieving an Inclusive Environment

Date published: 
22 July 2011

The London Plan published in July 2011 contains a number of policies which specifically promote inclusive access to the built environment for disabled and older people. The key policies are:

  • 2.4 The 2012 Games and their Legacy which promotes a sustainable and inclusive legacy for the Games
  • 2.15 Town Centres where the provision of Shopmobility schemes and other measures to improve access to goods and services for older and disabled Londoners should be promoted
  • 3.1 Equal Life Chances for All which aims to ensure that the barriers to meeting the needs of and expanding opportunities for particular groups and communities and tackling inequality across London are addressed.
  • 3.5 Housing Design which requires that the design of all new dwellings have adequately sized rooms, convenient and efficient room layouts and meet the needs of Londoners over their lifetime, and address social inclusion
  • 3.8 Housing Choice which requires that all new housing is built to Lifetime Homes Standards (external website) and ten per cent of new housing is designed to be wheelchair accessible, or easily adaptable for residents who are wheelchair users; and that account is taken of the changing age structure of London’s population and in particular the varied needs of older Londoners
  • 3.16 Protection and Enhancement of Social Infrastructure which addresses the requirement for social infrastructure to meet the needs of London’s diverse population
  • 4.5 London’s Visitor Infrastructure which requires that at least 10% of new hotel bedrooms are wheelchair accessible
  • 7.1 Building London’s neighbourhoods and communities which promotes Lifetime Neighbourhoods (external website), whereby places and spaces are designed to meet the needs of the community at all stages of people’s lives and meet the ‘lifetime neighbourhoods’ criteria
  • 7.2 An Inclusive Environment which requires all new development in London to achieve the highest standards of accessible and inclusive design
  • A number of other policies on the design of the public realm, car parking facilities, the walking and pedestrian environment, accessible sports facilities, access to arts and culture, and the historic environment.

The GLA publishes Supplementary Planning Guidance to provide detailed advice and guidance on the policies in the London Plan. The SPG ‘Accessible London: achieving an inclusive environment’ published in 2004 provides advice on implementing the inclusive design policies contained in the previous London Plan. The GLA is has updated this advice and mainstreaming it into the new SPGs being published on particular topics. This should help to ensure a wider readership of the inclusive design advice by developers, designers, planners, and the wider community, as well as by access consultants, local access groups, and organisations of disabled and Deaf people.

Advice on providing for accessible play and informal recreation facilities for disabled children and young people (Policy 3.6) is included in the Shaping Neighbourhoods: Children and Young People's Play and Informal Recreation SPG (Chapter 3) which is currently out for consultation until 27 April 2012.

Advice on implementing policies 3.5 housing design and 3.8 housing choice has been included in the Housing SPG. The Housing SPG includes advice on implementing the London Housing Design Guide Interim which incorporates the 16 Lifetime Home standards (external website). It also includes in Annex 2 best practice advice on wheelchair accessible housing including a diagram to illustrate the key features of wheelchair accessible housing (see p189).

Advice on accessible hotel bedrooms and town centre Shopmobility Schemes are also included in the draft Town Centres SPG published in 2013.

Accessible London (Draft Supplementary Planning Guidance April 2014)

The Mayor has issued for public consultation draft supplementary planning guidance on Accessible London. The Accessible London publications give advice on how to promote and achieve an inclusive environment in London.

The GLA’s Strategic Access Panel (SAP) Chair

The GLA is in process of forming a Strategic Access Panel (SAP). The Strategic Access Panel (SAP) will assist the Mayor in delivering an inclusive and accessible city in accordance with the ambition behind London Plan Policy 7.2.

In the first instance we are looking to appoint a Chair for the Panel. It is expected that the Chair would have appropriate relevant experience in the field of inclusive design and to be able to support the GLA. The post would be voluntary, but reasonable expenses and a recognition payment for attendance would be covered.

The SAP will offer technical advice on:

  • GLA funded regeneration projects;
  • larger scale/ strategic developments within Opportunity Areas (identified in Map of the London Plan and shown in Appendix 1of these terms of reference);


  • larger strategic planning applications where there is no borough access group involvement or access officer to advise on the projects.

SAP will also assist with the on-going review of policies and standards relating to the built environment and disabled and older Londoners as required.

It is expected that the SAP shall normally meet monthly and that Panel members may be asked to attend smaller working groups in addition to the monthly meetings at the discretion of the Chair and subject to their own availability. Total membership of SAP will not exceed 10 individuals who will each have appropriate experience in the area of inclusion and access.

For those wishing to apply for the position of Chair or to express your interest to be a member of the SAP please submit a copy of your CV to:

Neil Smith Planning Department PP18 Greater London Authority Freepost LON15799 London SE1 2BR

The deadline for application is the 11 July 2014

Terms of Reference for the GLA Strategic Access Panel (pdf) Terms of Reference for the GLA Strategic Access Panel (rtf)

Accessible Hotels in London (April 2010)

Improving the availability of hotel accommodation that is genuinely accessible to all is a particular priority in the draft replacement London Plan, which states that at least 10% of new provision should be wheelchair accessible – see draft replacement London Plan Policy 4.5, London’s Visitor Infrastructure.

To assist in the implementation of this policy the GLA, in conjunction with the London Development Agency and Design for London, commissioned Grant Thornton in conjunction with Colin Buchanan, David Bonnett Associates and Inclusion London to undertake research to assess the current supply and demand for accessible visitor accommodation in London. This report is the result of their research.

Accessible Hotels in London PDF (opens in new window) Accessible Hotels in London RTF (opens in new window)

Accessible Hotels in London Appendices PDF (opens in new window) Accessible Hotels in London Appendices RTF (opens in new window)

Accessible Hotels Draft Best Practice Guidance PDF (opens in new window) Accessible Hotels Draft Best Practice Guidance RTF (opens in new window)

The following documents were published to support the previous London Plan but still provide helpful and relevant advice on achieving an inclusive environment.

Monitoring the London Plan

Section 346 of the Greater London Authority (GLA) Act 1999 places a duty on the Mayor to monitor the implementation of the Mayor’s London Plan. The Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) is the central document in the monitoring process and assessing the effectiveness of the London Plan.

The London Development Database (LDD) has been collected data on Lifetime and Wheelchair Accessible Homes since 2008. The figures are contained within the AMR. LDD counts new build, extension, changes of use and conversions. Although developers should seek 100% compliance with Lifetime Homes standards, there are often practical difficulties that can arise when seeking to modify existing buildings through conversion or change of use.

London Development Database (LDD) (opens a new window) Monitoring the London Plan (opens a new window)

Wheelchair Accessible Housing (September 2007)

The Mayor's Best Practice Guidance on wheelchair accessible housing provides advice on how to implement the London Plan policy on wheelchair accessible housing which states that at least 10% of new homes should be designed to be wheelchair accessible or easily adaptable for residents who are wheelchair users. BPG Wheelchair Accessible Housing PDF (opens in new window) BPG Wheelchair Accessible Housing RTF (opens in new window)

Lifetime Homes - case study examples (September 2006)

This document aims to inspire developers, designers and planners in the provision of accessible housing and supplements the advice given in the Accessible London SPG. Meeting the principles of inclusive design helps to ensure that the needs of disabled people, older people and families with small children are integrated into designs from the outset. These case studies show how five developments in London have addressed Lifetime Homes standards and the particular challenges faced when meeting the design criteria in inner city residential schemes. Building to Lifetime Homes standards provides homes that are more flexible, adaptable and convenient for all of us so helps to eliminate discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and contribute towards the creation of sustainable and inclusive communities. Lifetime Homes - case study examples PDF (opens in new window) Lifetime Homes - case study examples RTF (opens in new window)

Blue badge parking standards for off-street car parking (December 2006)

The GLA and the London Development Agency commissioned research to ensure that the London Plan policy on parking standards ensures equal and dignified access to all new developments in London by disabled people. Blue badge parking standards PDF (opens in new window) Blue badge parking standards RTF (opens in new window)

An illustrated journey through an accessible environment - case study examples (October 2004)

The introduction of the final provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in October 2004 has ensured that many service providers have reviewed how they provide their service to disabled people. As a result there are now some good examples of buildings in London where access for disabled people has been successfully improved. Although no building is flawless, providing information on buildings that have been made accessible can inspire others. A number of photographic examples of building elements have therefore been illustrated in this document, with the aim of inspiring developers, designers, and planners, helping to supplement the advice given in the SPG and assisting in implementing the London Plan policies on inclusive design. An inclusive approach to improving access for disabled people can help to eliminate discrimination and contributes towards the creation of an accessible and inclusive City. An illustrated journey through an accessible environment - case study examples PDF (opens in new window) An illustrated journey through an accessible environment - case study examples RTF (opens in new window)

Accessible London (April 2004)

Accessible London was the first SPG document to be published following publication in February 2004 of the London Plan. It provides detail on the policies in the London Plan which promote inclusive design and access to the building environment for disabled people, including policies on accessible housing. It will be of interest to all planning authorities in London, developers including house builders and housing associations, designers planners, access officers, and voluntary organisations, particularly disability organisations. It was prepared within the context of the advice and guidance current at the time of going to print but is subject to an ongoing process of monitoring and review as the strategic policy framework, legislation and government guidance change. Accessible London: Achieving an Inclusive Environment PDF (opens in new window) Accessible London: Achieving an Inclusive Environment RTF (opens in new window)


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