Policy Seminar

04 Jul 2019

Earlier this week, over 70 WPA members attended an evening seminar and reception about the Regulation 19 draft Westminster City Plan. Kindly hosted by The Church Commissioners, the seminar provided an opportunity for members to discuss the City Council’s planning proposals with senior politicians and policymakers, exploring the draft’s key changes against the existing City Plan and the previous draft published late last year.

Councillor Richard Beddoe, Council Cabinet Member for Place Shaping and Planning at Westminster City Council, provided the introductory speech at the seminar. Cllr Beddoe explained how this current Plan “gives far more flexibility than previous versions” in order to enable the growth required in Westminster. It is hoped that this less prescriptive approach will be “matched by a change in the way that [the] planning department will work to implement them”.

He added that the “City Plan is a strategic document that sets out what goals we want to see delivered… it’s not about prescribing exactly how you then go about it”. Cllr Beddoe explained how this revised plan will support the vision of creating a City for All in Westminster, with more green and open spaces and improved cycling and walking routes. The revised City Plan will “maximise opportunities for growth by delivering an ambitious new housing package, new business floor space to accommodate 63,000 new jobs, and ensuring [Westminster has] more leisure and entertainment”. It became clear that a top priority for Westminster in this revised City Plan is “about creating a City that we are proud to hand on to the next generation”.

Cllr Beddoe concluded by thanking the WPA for the opportunity to speak to the membership about the revised City Plan.

Following Cllr Beddoe’s introduction, Deidra Armsby, Director of Place Shaping and Town Planning, and Kimberley Hopkins, City and Planning Policy Team Leader at Westminster City Council delivered a presentation outlining the specific changes in the revised Plan. You can download the presentation slides here.

Panel discussion: (L-R) Rosemarie Jones, Deidra Armsby, Cllr Richard Beddoe, Kimberley Hopkins, Paul Williams, Professor Tony Travers

The three representatives from Westminster City Council joined WPA Board members Rosemarie Jones, Deputy Surveyor at Church Commissioners, and Paul Williams, Chief Executive Officer at Derwent London, on an expert panel moderated by Professor Tony Travers, Director at LSE London. The panel discussed the revised City Plan, as well as the need for more affordable and intermediate homes for local residents; the impact of the draft tall buildings policy on the viability of developments that generate good local benefits; and how tall buildings are defined in Westminster.

WPA is currently preparing its response to the Reg 19 consultation (view here) and will share this with members before the submission deadline of 31 July 2019.