City Plan 2040

What is the City Plan 2040?

The City Plan 2040 is a plan for the development of the Square Mile, setting the City Corporation’s priorities for development up to 2040, together with policies that will guide future decisions on planning applications. The plan provides a framework for future development in the Square Mile, outlining priorities for its communities, businesses and places until 2040 and beyond.

Once adopted, the new Plan will replace the current Local Plan 2015

Development of the City Plan 2040

The City of London Local Plan was adopted in January 2015 and plans for development requirements up to 2026. It is important that the City’s planning framework remains responsive and flexible to address changing circumstances, whilst providing a clear vision for how a future City should develop.

The first stage of preparing the new City Plan 2040 was the Issues and Options stage in 2016, during which consultation took place on the key planning issues facing the City and on the potential options that should be considered in a new local plan to address them.

The second stage, the draft City Plan 2036, was a consultation on a full draft local plan during later 2018 and early 2019.

Responses from these two consultations, along with evidence, informed a proposed submission version of the City Plan 2036, which was consulted on between March and May 2021. As a result of comments made during this consultation, the City Corporation decided to undertake further technical work and evidence to address consultation responses and changing economic, social and environmental trends.

Informal public engagement on key issues and the Key Areas of Change was undertaken during the summer of 2023.

The City Corporation has used this technical work, public engagement and updated evidence to prepare the City Plan 2040, which is a revised submission version. The timeframe for the new City Plan has been amended to ensure a 15 year timeframe for the plan.

What is in the City Plan 2040?

The City Plan 2040 is a large document, which provides a framework for future development in the Square Mile, outlining priorities for its communities, businesses and places until 2040 and beyond. It comprises 15 separate chapters and representations can be made on the Plan as a whole or by individual chapter.

These are:

Chapter 1 – Strategic Priorities

The City Plan 2040 covers a wide range of issues, and it is important that the Plan has clear priorities for its delivery. Identifying ‘strategic priorities’ is also a requirement of legislation. Chapter 1 of the Plan sets these priorities out, and these underpin the strategic policies that form the backbone of the Plan. These priorities build on earlier versions of the City Plan, and have been informed by engagement work, evidence and relevant strategies.

Chapter 2 – Spatial Strategy

The spatial strategy for the Plan sets out a broad framework for understanding how policies with a spatial element will affect different parts of the Square Mile. It outlines the overall spatial vision for the growth of the Square Mile and identifies the Key Areas of Change, where transformational growth is envisaged over the Plan period. 

Chapter 3 – Health, Inclusion and Safety

This chapter helps to realise a range of strategic priorities, particularly creating a more inclusive, healthier and safer City for everyone. 

Chapter 4 – Housing

This chapter sets out how the City Plan will meet the requirements of the London Plan and national policy in delivering housing in the City. It identifies the housing requirements for the City Plan, which have been informed by the City Corporation’s Strategic Housing Market Assessment. 

Chapter 5 – Offices

This chapter continues the City Corporation’s long-standing approach of supporting economic and employment growth in the City through the delivery of additional office floorspace; resisting the loss of existing offices in many instances; and seeking to encourage investment in existing office stock. This approach also reflects the requirements of the London Plan, which promotes employment growth in the City in particular. 

This chapter has been informed by a report by Arup/Knight Frank for the City Corporation, which identified strong positive demand for office floorspace over the lifetime of the City Plan.

Chapter 6 – Retail

This chapter has been informed by recently completed retail evidence, which shows that over the long term there remains strong demand for retail uses in the Square Mile, supported by a growing workforce and increased visitor footfall. 

The policies in this chapter take a more flexible approach to retail and related uses, seeking to promote more diversity of active frontages across the City and in the Principal Shopping Centres. 

Chapter 7 – Culture and Visitors

The City Corporation’s Destination City vision has had a significant impact on this chapter, which recognises the crucial role that culture and visitors will have to play in creating a more vibrant Square Mile that is a welcoming destination for everyone. The policies in this chapter seek the development of a wide range of cultural, leisure and recreational facilities across the City. These policies have been informed by the Culture Planning Framework, which is currently under development, and which will set out a framework for how new development can support the cultural life of different parts of the Square Mile.

The policy on hotels sets out a positive approach to the provision of visitor accommodation, reflecting recent evidence from Avison Young for the City Corporation. 

Chapter 8 – Infrastructure

The policies in this chapter seek to deliver infrastructure and utilities provision for the City and seek to deliver a net zero and climate resilient Square Mile. The approach in the chapter has been informed by the City Corporation’s Utilities Infrastructure Strategy and the Local Area Energy Plan.

Chapter 9 – Design

The design of buildings and spaces plays a vital role in ensuring development is sustainable, makes a positive contribution to the City’s aesthetic qualities, and meets the requirements of all users. The Design chapter sets out a range of requirements covering issues ranging from sustainable design, form and layout, experience of spaces, and the quality and character of buildings. 

Chapter 10 – Transport

This chapter has been informed by the City Corporation’s Transport Strategy. It sets out how development should seek to enable the vision of the Transport Strategy, prioritising people walking and wheeling while facilitating the servicing of the Square Mile in sustainable ways, for example through consolidation. Policies seek to ensure development reinforces the Healthy Streets Approach, address freight and servicing and vehicle parking; promote the use of the river Thames for transport; enhance permeability and wayfinding; and facilitate pedestrian movement, active travel and cycling.

Chapter 11 – Heritage and Tall buildings

The policies in this chapter seek to ensure the City’s historic environment will be protected, celebrated and positively managed. Tall Buildings policy sets out a comprehensive approach to managing tall building proposals in the Square Mile. This approach has been informed by extensive evidence including characterisation work, exploring the suitability of areas for tall buildings; three-dimensional computer modelling of potential tall building heights; and assessments of views and the impact on key heritage assets. 

Chapter 12 – Open Spaces and Green Infrastructure

The policies in this chapter seek to protect existing open and green spaces and provide new ones through development and other measures. 

The chapter also seeks to enhance the City’s biodiversity through new development, instigating a new approach to biodiversity that builds on the recently introduced national approach while tailoring it to the City’s circumstances. It also supports urban greening and the provision of trees.

Chapter 13 – Climate Resilience

This chapter seeks a range of measures to help make the City more resilient as development comes forward, helping to minimise the urban heat island effect and the risk of flooding, implement sustainable drainage systems, reduce and manage the City’s waste in sustainable ways.

Chapter 14 – The Temples, The Thames Policy Area and The Key Areas of Change

This chapter includes a revised policy on the Temples, setting out that the Plan will support its broad range of education, training and other facilities as well as the balance between professional and residential accommodation. The Thames Policy Area sets out how the City will seek to enhance this important part of the City, the enjoyment of the Thames and its use for transport including waste and freight.

The chapter also sets out a broad framework for the Key Areas of change, that are likely to experience significant transformation during the plan period. It includes a range of measures and spatial requirements, to guide future development in these areas.

Chapter 15 – Implementation

This chapter sets out the types of contributions that will be expected to be provided by relevant development, including through Section 106 and the Community Infrastructure Levy (Policy S27: Planning Contributions). It also sets out how the City Corporation will expect developers to approach viability, and sets out how the City Plan will be monitored.

Appendices

The appendix to the City Plan provides information into why the City Corporation is preparing a new Local Plan and what are the different stages of preparing a Local Plan. 

City Plan 2040 – Glossary

The glossary in the City Plan provides a list of definitions or explanations related to specific topic areas. It acts as a reference guide to help readers understand unfamiliar or technical terminology, within the context of the plan.

Policy Maps

This document outlines the changes made to the existing Policy Maps A and B and introduces two new Policy Maps, C and D.

Policies Map A – Tall Buildings, Views and Heritage 

Policies Map B – Key City Places 

Policies Map C – City Cluster Tall Building Area 

Policies Map D – Fleet Valley Tall Buildings Area 

Make representation

The City of London Corporation is conducting a Regulation 19 consultation for the ‘City Plan 2040’.

This consultation will focus on assessing whether the plan is sound, legally compliant and prepared in accordance with the duty to co-operate. It has been running since April 18 and will close at 11pm on June 17 

All representations must set out whether it is considered that the City Plan 2040 is sound, legally complaint and complies with the ‘Duty to Cooperate’. The tests of soundness are set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (paragraph 35). Any response should consider the following questions:

  • Is City Plan 2040 legally compliant and sound?
  • Are any modifications necessary to make City Plan 2040 legally compliant and sound? It will be helpful if you are able to put forward your suggested revised wording of any policy and text.
  • If your representation is seeking a modification to the plan, do you consider it necessary to participate in examination hearing session(s)? 

Representations can be submitted on all or any chapter of the City Plan 2040 and Policy Maps here.

What happens then?

Following consultation on the City Plan 2040, it will be submitted to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. The Secretary of State will then appoint an independent Planning Inspector to examine the submitted Plan, which is expected to be adopted in 2025.

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