Elmbridge Local Plan should reflect needs after COVID-19 pandemic
Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a delay in the Local Plan timetable for Elmbridge. The current timetable outlined that a draft new Local Plan would be sent to Council in July 2020, before a wider viewing by Elmbridge residents in September 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted that schedule.
Unfortunately, external consultants and other partners who would have provided analysis and technical details for the plan, have either been furloughed or are unable to continue this work. It is not clear when they can restart and as a result, we will not meet our original timetable, nor can we establish a new timetable.
Councillor Karen Randolph, Portfolio Holder for Planning Services said: “Due to the current uncertainty the council is not in a position to set a revised timetable for Elmbridge’s new Local Plan.”
She added: “Although the full impact of the changed circumstances and the economic challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic will not be known for many months, probably years, the council still has to produce a Local Plan if it is not to lose all control over future development in Elmbridge.”
Last week, 7 May 2020, the Leader of Elmbridge Borough Council, Councillor Stuart Selleck, wrote to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, expressing his desire that any new Local Plan should consider the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic: “…the importance of good design, of space standards and well-designed homes that function for its occupants - allowing for home working with good quality outdoor amenity space. It (COVID-19 pandemic) has also made us aware of the importance and the impact of the wider environment that we live in, our well-designed streets and public spaces…”
The Local Plan has a great impact on the life of Elmbridge residents, it ensures we can control development in the borough for the benefit of all our residents and now more than ever, it is needed to help plan for the future - a future that may see more working from home, less commuting, less reliance on cars and more cycling and walking.
With this in mind, we will review all the work to date on the Elmbridge Local Plan to ensure that it positively shapes Elmbridge for a time beyond the pandemic, one that continues to allow Elmbridge to thrive and its residents to cherish our green spaces, independent shops and businesses, and our great schools and community.
Cllr Randolph concluded: “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused so much sadness and disruption to our lives. While we wait for a time when we can be reunited with friends and family, our residents can be assured that we are working in the background to make sure that Elmbridge continues to be a great place to live and work.”