Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Local Development Framework - Draft Core Strategy [Sections 1 and 2]

Lambeth council recently released a draft version of its "Core Strategy", which is the most important document contained in the "Local Development Framework". The entire document is 116 pages long, although the Council welcome comments. I've been sifting through it over the past few days have and produced a cut-down version, mostly just summarising what was written. I've not changed their wording much, but have shortened and simplified because it contains some interesting ideas for the Borough.

I've used the document headings where possible, but have not summarised every section as it's a highly repetitive document.
The terms in purple are the "key" definitions.
The insightful comments in red are my comments.

Section 1 – Introduction

A Local Development Framework (LDF) is a collection of documents designed to guide development of a borough over 15/20 years. The Core Strategy is the first and most important document in the LDF. A Local Development Framework must achieve sustainable development for the area it covers. The four guiding principles for sustainable development are: Social progress, Environmental protection, Prudent use of natural resources and High levels of economic growth and employment. (p4)

The Lambeth Sustainable Community Strategy is a document used to prepare The Core Strategy, and the Sustainable Community Strategy contains data related to social, economic and environmental wellbeing, including health and community safety information. (p92)

Overall vision for Lambeth Sustainable Community Strategy is that by 2020 Lambeth will be a diverse, dynamic and enterprising borough at the heart of London, and there are 7 long term outcomes for the area:

* Great place to do business with high investment
* Greater well being for households through more residents in employment
* More young people on path to success
* Safe and cohesive places where people are empowered and play active roles in communities
* Improved health / well being of people to live independent lives
* Lower levels of poverty / exclusion by helping adults into employment, education and training
* Mixed and sustainable communities with more new homes, improved existing dwellings and environment

Lambeth’s LDF will be important tool to implement spatial aspects of outcomes such as geographical inequality, new housing and jobs and delivering infrastructure. (p6)

Significant proportion of Lambeth Core Strategy is dependent on private sector for delivery, re. new housing and commercial development; offices, etc. This is dependent on availability of development finance through the market. The Lambeth Core Strategy is meant to be flexible enough to enable private sector development at all stages of economic cycle.

Section 2 – Evidence Base

Population and Diversity

Lambeth covers an area area of approximately ten and a half square miles and population projected to grow 17% to 317,000 by 2026. Lambeth is among the most densely populated areas in the country, and current household composition includes high proportion of single parent households with dependent children. Population churn is estimated at 20% every year. [That’s very high! I didn't realise that so many people stayed in Lambeth so briefly.] (p13)

Lambeth is even more ethnically diverse than rest of London. The largest groups of immigrants between 2002 and 2006 were Polish, and after that Australian, and then Jamaican. [It seems to me that it’s a bit pointless to have “diversity” be an aim of the Sustainable Community Strategy when this has clearly already been achieved and is unlikely to change!] (p13)


2007 Index of Multiple Deprivation places Lambeth as 5th most deprived borough in London and 19th most deprived in England, which is worse than 2004, and is a result of improvements in other boroughs as well as a decline in Lambeth of income, health/disability, living environment and access to housing/barriers to services. (p13). The most deprived areas are spread, but concentrated in Coldharbour ward in Brixton, and Crown Lane area of Knights Hill ward. Most affluent include the Thames-side part of Bishops and Dulwich borer area of Thurlow Park (p14).


Lambeth’s housing consists 70% flats and 30% houses and is typical of inner London. Price of an average dwelling is around £350k in December 2007, but this had decreased by approx. 12% by December 2008. [That brings down the average dwelling to being worth £308k by my calculations.] Average gross household income in Lambeth is 31k per year. [My guess is that that's quite low for London as a whole.] (p14)

32% of council homes and estimated 11% of private sector dwellings were assessed as “unfit” by Council’s private sector stock condition survey in 2004. [That is bad. Are they really saying that a third of council homes are unfit for habitation? Are people actually living in them?] There are just under 2k households living in temporary accommodation (Dec 2008), and 13kish households in “housing need” within the Borough. (p14)


There are around 10k businesses in Lambeth. 75% of these have fewer than 5 employees. Lambeth has third lowest business density per head of population across inner London, but numbers of VAT registered firms grew by 14% between 2002 and 2006. [This will probably drop again due to the recession.] (p14)

There’s a cluster of large employers around Waterloo/Vauxhall. Over half of Lambeth’s existing jobs are located in Waterloo/South Bank area. The borough suffers high rates of unemployment – 71% of working age people employed in 2007/2008 in Lambeth compared with 70% across London and 74% nationally. (Doesn’t sound that bad to me, compared with the 70% figure for whole of London). Lambeth has one of highest number of incapacity benefit claimants (p15).

Education and Transport

Lambeth has 86 schools of which 13 are secondary. There’s a shortage of secondary places in the borough. There are very few surplus places in Lambeth primary schools and demand is expected to rise. Over 123 community languages are spoken in Lambeth schools in addition to English. (p15)

There are 14 overground railway stations spread evenly and 8 underground stations mainly in the north, with many bus routes. Residents in Streatham and West Norwood are dependent on rail and bus connections. Half of households don’t have access to a car, which is one of highest proportions in the country. Traffic congestion is a serious concern for residents. (p16)


There are 1.54 hectares of unrestricted open space in Lambeth per 1000 of the population, but access is unevenly spread and limited in north of the borough (p16). Total energy consumption in Lambeth is 3.2% of total energy consumption in London [seems quite low to me, considering Lambeth's high population, but this might be due to lack of industry]. In September 2008, an estimated 6700 households were in fuel poverty. Lambeth has lower levels of carbon dioxide emissions at 5.5 tonnes per 1000 population than London as a whole (6.8 tonnes). Despite predicted improvements in air quality in Lambeth over next 4/5 years, some measures eg. Nitrogen dioxide will continue to fail government targets (p17).

In line with targets, 25% of Lambeth household waste was recycled in 2007/8 and that has increased steadily from less than 10% in 2001/2002. Lambeth ranked 20th for house household recycling and composting in 2007/8 amongst London boroughs (p17). [It sounds as though Lambeth have taken vast steps forward, but there must be some way to go, since 20th is quite a long way down! Would be interesting to have a ranking compared to the country as a whole.]

Health and social care

Lambeth scores the 4th worst in London on unhealthy lifestyles and obesity is growing among young people. There are an estimated 5029 people in borough for whom drug use is a problem. [I expect this is a chronic underestimation because these stats. are likely to be very difficult to measure, and underestimating means that provision of services can be avoided.] Lambeth has one of highest incidence of mental health issues in capital, particularly among residents from ethnic minority backgrounds (p18).

Lambeth has a high and increasing birth rate, and numbers expected to live over 85 years old will increase demand in care services. Lambeth has the highest teenage conception rate in the UK (p18). [That’s a news headline if ever there was one.]

Community Safety

p18/19 Comparing London Boroughs, Lambeth had 4th highest count of Total Notifiable Offences (which includes majority of crimes, but excludes more minor offences), but that has been reducing since 2003/2004. Gun enabled crimes are high but decreasing. Tackling gang related crime, violent extremism and threat of terrorism are growing priorities for the borough. Crime in Lambeth is high around public transport interchanges.

[Even my cut down version of the document is long (around 4k words), so I'm going to post the next interesting sections as separate posts just to break it down somewhat.]

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