London Plan – High-rise policy

Hadley’s draft plan may be in contravention of several provisions of the London Plan high-rise policy. When the formal application is made, we will analyse this and determine if there are grounds to object.

See also:

Policy D9 Tall buildings
A Based on local context, Development Plans should define what is considered
a tall building for specific localities, the height of which will vary between and
within different parts of London but should not be less than 6 storeys or 18
metres measured from ground to the floor level of the uppermost storey.

1) Boroughs should determine if there are locations where tall buildings
may be an appropriate form of development, subject to meeting the
other requirements of the Plan. This process should include engagement
with neighbouring boroughs that may be affected by tall building
developments in identified locations.

2) Any such locations and appropriate tall building heights should be
identified on maps in Development Plans.

3) Tall buildings should only be developed in locations that are identified as
suitable in Development Plans.


C Development proposals should address the following impacts:

1) visual impacts
a) the views of buildings from different distances:
138 The London Plan 2021 – Chapter 3 Design

i long-range views – these require attention to be paid to the design
of the top of the building. It should make a positive contribution to
the existing and emerging skyline and not adversely affect local or
strategic views

ii mid-range views from the surrounding neighbourhood – particular
attention should be paid to the form and proportions of the
building. It should make a positive contribution to the local
townscape in terms of legibility, proportions and materiality

iii immediate views from the surrounding streets – attention
should be paid to the base of the building. It should have a direct
relationship with the street, maintaining the pedestrian scale,
character and vitality of the street. Where the edges of the site
are adjacent to buildings of significantly lower height or parks
and other open spaces there should be an appropriate transition
in scale between the tall building and its surrounding context to
protect amenity or privacy.

b) whether part of a group or stand-alone, tall buildings should reinforce
the spatial hierarchy of the local and wider context and aid legibility
and wayfinding

c) architectural quality and materials should be of an exemplary standard
to ensure that the appearance and architectural integrity of the
building is maintained through its lifespan

d) proposals should take account of, and avoid harm to, the significance
of London’s heritage assets and their settings. Proposals resulting
in harm will require clear and convincing justification, demonstrating
that alternatives have been explored and that there are clear public
benefits that outweigh that harm. The buildings should positively
contribute to the character of the area

e) buildings in the setting of a World Heritage Site must preserve, and
not harm, the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site,
and the ability to appreciate it

f) buildings near the River Thames, particularly in the Thames Policy
Area, should protect and enhance the open quality of the river and the
riverside public realm, including views, and not contribute to a canyon
effect along the river
139 The London Plan 2021 – Chapter 3 Design

g) buildings should not cause adverse reflected glare

h) buildings should be designed to minimise light pollution from internal
and external lighting

2) functional impact

a) the internal and external design, including construction detailing, the
building’s materials and its emergency exit routes must ensure the
safety of all occupants

b) buildings should be serviced, maintained and managed in a manner
that will preserve their safety and quality, and not cause disturbance
or inconvenience to surrounding public realm. Servicing, maintenance
and building management arrangements should be considered at the
start of the design process

c) entrances, access routes, and ground floor uses should be designed
and placed to allow for peak time use and to ensure there is no
unacceptable overcrowding or isolation in the surrounding areas

d) it must be demonstrated that the capacity of the area and its transport
network is capable of accommodating the quantum of development
in terms of access to facilities, services, walking and cycling networks,
and public transport for people living or working in the building

e) jobs, services, facilities and economic activity that will be provided by
the development and the regeneration potential this might provide
should inform the design so it maximises the benefits these could
bring to the area, and maximises the role of the development as a
catalyst for further change in the area

f) buildings, including their construction, should not interfere with
aviation, navigation or telecommunication, and should avoid a
significant detrimental effect on solar energy generation on adjoining

3) environmental impact

a) wind, daylight, sunlight penetration and temperature conditions
around the building(s) and neighbourhood must be carefully
considered and not compromise comfort and the enjoyment of open
spaces, including water spaces, around the building

b) air movement affected by the building(s) should support the effective
dispersion of pollutants, but not adversely affect street-level

c) noise created by air movements around the building(s), servicing
machinery, or building uses, should not detract from the comfort and
enjoyment of open spaces around the building

4) cumulative impacts

a) the cumulative visual, functional and environmental impacts of
proposed, consented and planned tall buildings in an area must
be considered when assessing tall building proposals and when
developing plans for an area. Mitigation measures should be identified
and designed into the building as integral features from the outset to
avoid retro-fitting.

Public access

D Free to enter publicly-accessible areas should be incorporated into tall
buildings where appropriate, particularly more prominent tall buildings where
they should normally be located at the top of the building to afford wider
views across London.

3.9.1 Whilst high density does not need to imply high rise, tall buildings can form part
of a plan-led approach to facilitating regeneration opportunities and managing
future growth, contributing to new homes and economic growth, particularly in
order to make optimal use of the capacity of sites which are well-connected by
public transport and have good access to services and amenities. Tall buildings
can help people navigate through the city by providing reference points and
emphasising the hierarchy of a place such as its main centres of activity, and
important street junctions and transport interchanges. Tall buildings that
are of exemplary architectural quality, in the right place, can make a positive
contribution to London’s cityscape, and many tall buildings have become a
valued part of London’s identity. However, they can also have detrimental visual,
functional and environmental impacts if in inappropriate locations and/or of poor
quality design. The processes set out below will enable boroughs to identify
locations where tall buildings play a positive role in shaping the character of an

3.9.2 Boroughs should determine and identify locations where tall buildings may be
an appropriate form of development by undertaking the steps below:

  1. based on the areas identified for growth as part of Policy D1 London’s
    form, character and capacity for growth, undertake a sieving exercise by
    assessing potential visual and cumulative impacts to consider whether there
    are locations where tall buildings could have a role in contributing to the
    emerging character and vision for a place
  2. in these locations, determine the maximum height that could be acceptable
  3. identify these locations and heights on maps in Development Plans.

    3.9.3 Tall buildings are generally those that are substantially taller than their
    surroundings and cause a significant change to the skyline. Boroughs should
    define what is a ‘tall building’ for specific localities, however this definition
    should not be less than 6 storeys or 18 metres measured from ground to the
    floor level of the uppermost storey. This does not mean that all buildings up to
    this height are automatically acceptable, such proposals will still need to be
    assessed in the context of other planning policies, by the boroughs in the usual
    way, to ensure that they are appropriate for their location and do not lead to
    unacceptable impacts on the local area. In large areas of extensive change, such
    as Opportunity Areas, the threshold for what constitutes a tall building should
    relate to the evolving (not just the existing) context. This policy applies to tall
    buildings as defined by the borough. Where there is no local definition, the policy
    applies to buildings over 6 storeys or 18 metres measured from ground to the
    floor level of the uppermost storey.

    3.9.4 The higher the building the greater the level of scrutiny that is required of its
    design. In addition, tall buildings that are referable to the Mayor, must be subject
    to the particular design scrutiny requirements set out in Part D of Policy D4
    Delivering good design.

    3.9.5 The Mayor will work with boroughs to provide a strategic overview of tall
    building locations across London and will seek to utilise 3D virtual reality digital
    modelling to help identify these areas, assess tall building proposals and aid
    public consultation and engagement. 3D virtual reality modelling can also help
    assess cumulative impacts of developments, particularly those permitted but
    not yet completed.

    3.9.6 A tall building can be considered to be made up of three main parts: a top,
    middle and base. The top includes the upper floors, and roof-top mechanical or
    telecommunications equipment and amenity space. The top should be designed
    to make a positive contribution to the quality and character of the skyline, and
    mechanical and telecommunications equipment must be integrated in the total
    building design. Not all tall buildings need to be iconic landmarks and the design
    of the top of the building (i.e. the form, profile and materiality) should relate
    to the building’s role within the existing context of London’s skyline. Where
    publicly-accessible areas, including viewing areas on upper floors, are provided
    as a public benefit of the development, they should be freely accessible and
    in accordance with Part G of Policy D8 Public realm. Well-designed safety
    measures should be integrated into the design of tall buildings and must ensure
    personal safety at height.

    3.9.7 The middle of a tall building has an important effect on how much sky is
    visible from surrounding streets and buildings, as well as on wind flow, privacy
    and the amount of sunlight and shadowing there is in the public realm and by
    surrounding properties.

    3.9.8 The base of the tall building is its lower storeys. The function of the base should
    be to frame the public realm and streetscape, articulate entrances, and help
    create an attractive and lively public realm which provides a safe, inclusive,
    interesting, and comfortable pedestrian experience. The base should integrate
    with the street frontage of adjacent buildings and, where appropriate, enable the
    building to transition down in height.

    3.9.9 Any external lighting for tall buildings should be minimal, energy efficient
    and designed to minimise glare, light trespass, and sky glow, and should not
    negatively impact on protected views, designated heritage assets and their
    settings, or the amenity of nearby residents.

    3.9.10 The list of impacts of tall buildings in Policy D9 Tall buildings is not exhaustive
    and other impacts may need to be taken into consideration. For example, the
    impact of new tall buildings in proximity to waterbodies supporting notable bird
    species upon the birds’ flight lines may need to be considered.

    3.9.11 Safety considerations must be central to the design and operation of tall
    buildings. Policy D11 Safety, security and resilience to emergency provides
    information on how to ensure the design of buildings follows best practice to
    minimise the threats from fire, flood, terrorism, and other hazards and Policy D12
    Fire safety sets out specific requirements to address fire risk