Westminster City Council launches Draft City Plan 2019-2040

At the Westbourne Park Baptist Church Councillors Nickie Aiken and Richard Beddoe today launched the consultation for Westminster City Council's draft City Plan 2019-2040.

Cllr Aiken started the event by saying that it is a Plan that places people, homes and the environment at its heart, with a target of delivering more homes for people on lower and middle incomes. Currently only around 1.5% of the City's housing stock is intermediate housing and the Council will be asking for 60% of all affordable units in the future to be intermediate (it is currently 40%).

Cllr Aiken also announced that the annual target for housing delivery will be 1,495 homes a year. This contrasts with a London Plan requirement of 1,010 homes a year - representing almost 50% more than the London Plan requirement.

Cllr Beddoe stated that the Plan is a positive, visionary document that will guide development, promising an approach that is open, transparent and involves local communities.

Other announcements made at the launch include:

- At least 35% of new homes required to be affordable, though the Plan does say off-site in the vicinity will be accepted where it cannot be provided on-site and '...applicants are expected to discuss with the council any potential opportunities to provide off-site affordable housing on existing council estates either as infill or as part of estate renewal';

- In Victoria buildings will be permitted to be 12 storeys and in Paddington 20 storeys (though the Plan says in exceptional circumstances heights of up to 30 storeys in Paddington and 18 storeys in Victoria will be permitted);

- Hotels of more than 2,500 sqm will not be permitted anymore in Soho. 

The Plan also says that, with respect to commercial use and affordable housing requirements in the Central Activities Zone (CAZ):

- Where smaller scale hotels and offices (750 sq m – 999 sq m) are proposed within the CAZ, a financial contribution to the Affordable Housing Fund will be required. Proposals for larger hotels and offices (above 1,000 sq m) within the CAZ will provide 35% of the floorspace as affordable housing on-site.

There is clearly a lot of information in the City Plan to digest and the full document is available here. The consultation ends on 21st December.