Wolley Planning Briefs are the Cause of Half the Planning Problems in London

The Mayor of London has called in Barret’s refused scheme for the redevelopment of the Mill Hill National Institute of Medical Resarch complex station in Barnet – refused despite an officers recommendation for approval.  It is a brownfield site in the Green Belt.  It seems the Mayor is angling to approve with an increased amount of affordable housing.  The refusal reason were excessive height and the impact of this height on the Green Belt.

The site has the kind of wolly, poor draft planning brief so common in London, lots of words, lots of policy, no urban design analysis, no clarity on height, form, layout or built volume.  The brief says the buildings dont contribute to the conservation area but none the less would like to keep them and buildings of the same height would be unlikley to be appropriate!

Hence the developer doesnt know how much to pay for the land, so put in as little affordable housing as possible and hope to negotiate once the scheme is called in by the Mayor.

This king of planning charade would be unthinkable in most countries where the zoning of the site would clearly set the bulk, floorspace, heights, ground coverage and maybe setbacks and the % of inclusive housing.

In London a planning brief should never see the light of day without setting these and determining which buildings to keep or not in a conservation area.

The question planning departments should be asking themselves is can you value the land with this brief.  if not its as useless as an ejection seat on a helicopter.



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