Agenda item

Local Plan Issues & Options Consultation - Outcomes

This report provides an overview of the responses received during the Local Plan Issues and Options consultation.  It also sets out the Officers’ responding comments and any suggested actions and also proposes a way forward.


Members of the Committee are asked to consider the responses made to the Issues & Options Consultation as set out under Annexes 1 and 2 and subject to any amendments agree to the annexes being published as a record of the Consultation, and agree Option 4 as the way forward for the Local Plan.


Having considered the Issues and Options Consultation as set out under Annexes 1 and 2, the Committee:

(1)            Agreed to the publication of the Annexes 1 and 2

(2)            Agreed Option 4 in the consultation as the way forward for the Local plan


With regard to the local plan an Issues and Options Consultation had been carried out which focused on the housing growth challenges facing the Borough.

The Committee were informed by way of a presentation; the progress to date of the Local Plan; the four options presented in the Issues and Options consultation for accommodating housing needs; an overview of the outputs from the consultation and the proposed way forward taking into account National Planning Policy and relevant government publications.

The Committee discussed the outcomes from the consultation and the following points arose from the discussion:

·                 The government methodology, i.e. a ‘one size fits all’ for assessing an objectively assessed housing need could best be challenged through the Council producing strong evidence to demonstrate the boroughs unique circumstances.

·                 The importance of ‘visual character’ when assessing developable potential was acknowledged and it was reiterated that incorporating high quality appealing designs was the only way forward to delivering an acceptable Local Plan.

·                 Housing growth supported by appropriate infrastructure was a principal consideration for the Council and officers were working closely with infrastructure providers, e.g. Surrey County Council, the NHS and Education authorities to explore innovative and cost effective solutions to enable the provision of necessary infrastructure to keep pace with growth.  It was noted that to date Local Plan Inspectors had not placed great weight on infrastructure capacity as a constraint for growth.  It was further noted that some utility providers for example Thames Water had highlighted the need for adequate water and sewerage infrastructure to be delivered prior to development and requested a strengthening of the policy requirements in the Local Plan.

·                 Following on from the consultation, officers were now working on producing a list of sites that could be considered as potential site allocation options.  These candidate sites will be assessed to establish whether they are genuinely available, deliverable and developable during the new Local Plan period.

·                 It was noted that there was significant support for Option 1 in the consultation – urban intensification - and that whilst most of the sites currently under consideration could not support this option due to their size, the principles of urban intensification may be considered in the long term as larger sites became available.

·                 It was confirmed that the next consultation stage of the Local Plan process will be promoted through the Borough Insight Magazine which is distributed to all households, enabling the widest possible number of residents to comment.

·                 Concern was expressed with regard to the scale of affordable housing need (identified through the SHMA) and the Council’s ability to meet it in light of the constraints introduced through national planning policy.  It was agreed that meeting the target was going to be extremely challenging and the Council’s continual efforts to influence the Government position needed to be voiced whenever the opportunity arose.

·                 Is was noted that the feasibility to increase the density of developments depended on the size of site, and officers would be producing materials to assist people to visualise the impact of increased density.

·                 A review of the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment which would form part of the evidence base for the Local Plan was due and the Committee was informed that if any problem sites were identified they would be reflected in the proposed options.

·                 The Chairman assured the Committee that manpower implications were being continually discussed and monitored to ensure sufficient staff resources that would enable the Local Plan to be delivered within the agreed timescales.

Having considered the Issues and Options Consultation as set out under Annexes 1 and 2, the Committee:

(1)            Agreed to the publication of the Annexes 1 and 2

(2)            Agreed Option 4 in the consultation as the way forward for the Local plan

Supporting documents: