The draft Local Plan for Elmbridge: update
Supporting the development future of the borough
We are on track to submit our draft Local Plan for examination by the Planning Inspectorate by summer 2023. A Plan that not only supports a development future for the borough free from green belt release, that allows for sustainable home building and improved walking and cycling infrastructure, but it also sets out a vision for an Elmbridge with vibrant high streets, flexible workspace, accessible transport options and welcoming hospitality. This is a robust draft Local Plan, enabling a sustainable and thriving Elmbridge.
One of the key national planning documents, guiding Local Plans up and down the county, is the NPPF, the National Planning Policy Framework, which sets all planning issues as well as the Government’s planning policies for England and how these should be applied.
In December 2022, Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, announced a number of possible changes to the National Planning Policy Framework in relation to housing, local plans and other issues. Following this announcement, a new ‘NPPF Prospectus’ consultation was launched by the Government on 22 December 2022, running until 2 March 2023.
The NPPF consultation outlines a series of proposed amendments to national planning policy including (but not restricted to):
- Calculation of housing need
- 5-year housing land supply
- Housing Delivery Test
- Presumption in favour of sustainable development
- The ‘tests of soundness’ for plan making
- Provision of social rent homes and housing for the elderly
- Introduction of National Development Management Policies
It is expected that a revised NPPF will be published shortly after the close of the consultation in Spring 2023, at which point we will have to make planning decisions and submit our draft Local Plan in line with the new NPPF.
The Leader of Elmbridge Borough Council, Cllr Chris Sadler, has written to Michael Gove, expressing “our support for the proposed changes and to press upon you the need for continued momentum in getting these changes agreed.”
He continues to outline our support for community growth and development without the use of Green Belt:
“The amendments in the updated NPPF provide clarity to combat the dogmatic rhetoric which has taken hold of the planning profession - that in constrained areas, the Green Belt must be used and that the established character of our communities must be changed to meet housing need. Which is simply not true. These misinterpretations of the NPPF, enshrined by your Planning Inspectorate have significantly lengthened the time and resources needed to prepare local plans and made engaging with local communities much more challenging.”
The Elmbridge draft Local Plan is on track as Cllr Sadler explains in his letter:
“Our plan will be submitted to the planning inspectorate for examination this summer. It is a plan we and our communities are proud of. It links to our Council Plan and vision, it looks at our towns and villages from a place-making perspective, it understands the needs of our communities and it tackles their challenges including climate change, housing, health and infrastructure. It will be accompanied by a Design Code that covers our urban areas, shaping development to reflect our commitment to building beautifully.”
Cllr Sadler ends his letter, urging a swift NPPF amendment process:
“To ensure the progression of local plans across the country I trust you will ensure that the NPPF is promptly updated following this consultation and that all changes will be applicable to any plan not yet submitted.”
Our draft Local Plan combined with our 2030 Vision, are vital to a sustainable and thriving Elmbridge, and we will do all we can to ensure national planning policies also support the Elmbridge community and what is best to help to our borough thrive.
Cllr Chris Sadler, Leader, Elmbridge Borough Council