Sadiq Khan has been urged to conduct a review into the planning call-in process in order to improve community engagement and ensure there is no bias towards developers.

The recommendation comes from the London Assembly’s planning and regeneration committee, which has on Wednesday published a report on community engagement and transparency in London planning.

The Mayor of London has the power to “call in” any planning applications in London that are of “potential strategic importance” to ensure they comply with the London Plan.

Since 2008, the various mayors have called in 40 planning applications, many of which have been the subject of local opposition, but only two have been refused.

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Most recently, Sadiq Khan refused an application to build a new development on the historic former Stag Brewery site in Richmond due to the lack of affordable housing offered.

But the new London Assembly report found that some community groups felt that the mayoral call-in process often has a “predetermined outcome” that favoured developers.

Andrew Boff, chair of the planning and regeneration committee, said that “more transparency and opportunities for views from local people” are needed “at the very outset” of the mayoral call-in process.

He said: “Community involvement leads to better quality developments that reflect London’s diverse communities. Local people need to shape where they live. It is not simply a box-ticking exercise as involvement and engagement needs to run through every process and at every phase.

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“Opportunities for local people to speak up need to be given and the mayor needs to level the playing field. Residents simply do not have the time, money and resources, like the major developers and simple things like plain English documents, more proactive communication and face-to-face meetings can go a long way in improving the process. The mayor needs to get onto this urgently because local people and community groups deserve more.”

The report urges Sadiq Khan to carry out a “holistic review” of the call-in process “in order to pinpoint increased opportunities for community engagement and information sharing”.

It has also recommended that the mayor and Deputy Mayor for Planning should not be accompanied on site visits by the representatives of planning applicants so as not to give them undue influence.

The issue of community engagement in the planning process was recently raised with Sadiq Khan during a Mayor’s Question Time session at City Hall.

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Responding at the time, Mr Khan said: “I am keen to ensure that a more representative range of voices help to shape London. As set out in my London Plan, to achieve that communities need to be engaged early and constructively in the planning process. This applies to both plan-making and policy development, as well as the development of specific schemes, as by the time a planning application is made, many of the principles of development have already been established.

“Much of the responsibility for engagement rests with Local Planning Authorities and developers, but the GLA has also been working to increase community engagement in relation to our planning activities. This includes using new engagement tools for Opportunity Areas and London Plan Guidance and making more data available to help inform Londoners. We are also exploring how we can support people to better understand and engage with the planning process, with its constraints and opportunities.”