Agenda item

Draft Response to the new London Plan Consultation


Resolved that the Council’s response to the draft new London Plan, as amended and as set out at Appendix A to these minutes, be approved and submitted to the Mayor of London by 2 March 2018.


(Link to Council Priorities: P1, P4)


The Portfolio Holder for Planning Services considered a report that set out the Council’s draft response to the Mayor of London’s draft new London Plan public consultation.


The last London Plan (Further Alterations to the London Plan (FALP)), that had been adopted in 2015, was currently under review to take account of changes in national policy and to address several strategic issues raised during the Examination in Public (EiP) which had included the failure to meet identified housing needs.


The Portfolio Holder noted that the new London Plan would set out the overarching planning framework for those local authorities within the Capital, and provide the policies within which each London Authority must confirm when preparing their own individual Local Plans. The Plan would provide a strategic plan for development for the next 25 years from 2019 to 2041.


The draft new London Plan was an entirely new Plan and once adopted would replace all previous versions including any modifications and alterations.  Whilst the draft Plan differed significantly from the current London Plan, it introduced a new concept of ‘Good Growth’, which the Mayor defined as growth that was socially and economically inclusive and environmentally sustainable (cross-cutting policies).


With regard to the key issues for Elmbridge, the significant issue that had emerged from the new draft London Plan was housing provision.  Whilst the new draft London Plan sought to meet the housing needs within the Greater London Authority, it was also seeking to increase the delivery of new homes within Outer London.


During consideration of the report, the Head of Planning Services took the opportunity to update the Portfolio Holder that the Council’s draft response to the public consultation had been considered and discussed at the recent Local Plan Working Group (LPWG) meeting.  As a result of the comments made at the LPWG meeting and in light of comments received from community groups, the Council’s draft response had been redrafted.  The amendments sought to address any misunderstanding and provide greater clarification as to the Council’s position on Green Belt.  In order to convey more clearly and concisely the Council’s response, the following had been amended:


·      on the first page of the draft response, the fifth bullet point had been amended to read “the Metropolitan Green Belt’; and


·      the section ‘A strategic review of the Metropolitan Green Belt’ had been replaced with the following text:


‘The Metropolitan Green Belt


The Council notes that throughout the draft London Plan there is the presumption in favour of building on previously developed land and that the continued protection of Green Belt, Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) and other open land is strongly advocated (Policies H1, G2 and G3).  However, the Mayor’s approach does not recognise that in practice that several outer London Boroughs and local authorities on the London-Fringe covered by the wider Metropolitan Green Belt are already undertaking reviews of the Green Belt, in accordance with National Planning Guidance and the requirement to meet identified objectively assessed need.


The Council is concerned that without the benefit of a wider-strategic approach, local authorities within the South East are applying various approaches and methodologies to Green Belt reviews.  This ad hoc approach is leading to inconsistent proposals for Green Belt release / protection and piecemeal release which may undermine the integrity of the wider Metropolitan Green Belt and prevent development taking place in the most sustainable locations away from Green Belt areas where its integrity is most vulnerable.


The Council is also seeking clarification on how Crossrail 2 South, the Kingston Opportunity Area (Policy SD1) and the proposed 9,000 homes in Chessington will be delivered.  It is not clear how these can be achieved without potential releases of Green Belt land.  Given the proximity of Chessington to our Borough Boundary it is necessary to consider the Mayor’s longer-term plans for this part of London as part of London as part of the preparation of our current Local Plan.’


The Head of Planning Services reported that the redrafted section in respect of the Metropolitan Green Belt was now considered to be more succinct and provided a clearer argument.  She further commented that the Council’s intention had not been to request the Mayor of London to undertake a Strategic Review of Elmbridge’s Green Belt.  Whilst the Council fully supported the protection of Green Belt, there was a need to acknowledge that a number of London Boroughs were already undertaking Strategic Reviews.  The Council did not support piecemeal erosion of Green Belt and in this regard there was a need to not undermine the Council’s area of Metropolitan Green Belt.


During consideration of the item, the Portfolio Holder invited Councillor Mrs. J.R. Turner to comment on the Council’s draft response.  In order to fully understand the cross-boundary strategic planning issues that the draft London Plan could have on the Borough, Councillor Mrs. Turner asked whether officers could provide a Member Briefing for all Members.  In this regard, the Head of Planning Services confirmed that an all Member Briefing had been arranged for 5 p.m. on Wednesday 7 March 2018 which would provide greater clarification with regard to the draft London Plan and the Council’s draft response.


The Portfolio Holder then invited Councillor S.J. Selleck to comment and he requested that the invitation to the Member briefing be sent out to all Members as soon as possible with the redrafted Council’s response to the draft Local Plan attached, which officers agreed to undertake.


The Portfolio Holder for Planning Services thanked the officers for all the work undertaken in preparing the Council’s response to the draft new London Plan and whilst supporting the redrafted version, acknowledged that the introduction and conclusion of the response would also need to be amended.  Subject to this being undertaken, the Portfolio Holder


Resolved that the Council’s response to the draft new London Plan, as amended and as set out at Appendix A to these minutes, be approved and submitted to the Mayor of London by 2 March 2018.

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