What is the Local Plan?

What is the Local Plan?

The Local Plan is a document which sets out planning policies and proposals for how the communities and places in the borough will develop over a period of up to 15 years. It includes policies and site allocations to guide the development and use of land in the borough as well as defining the Green Belt and those areas that will be protected and enhanced for heritage or nature conservation purposes.

Why is a Local Plan needed?

The Local Plan is at the heart of the planning system and is the starting point in deciding planning applications. The Government has therefore made Local Plans a statutory requirement and requires that all local planning authorities must have an up-to-date plan that seeks to address their development needs. 

Failure to prepare a Local Plan could lead to intervention whereby the Government writes our Local Plan for us. Without a Local Plan we could also find ourselves unable to resist unacceptable development or refused applications being granted on appeal. This could result in unplanned development in unsustainable locations. 

It is therefore important that a Local Plan is in place and is kept up to date.

What is the current Local Plan? 

The current Elmbridge Local Plan consists of the Core Strategy (2011) and Development Management Plan (2015).

The Core Strategy is the principal planning document that sets out the vision, spatial strategy and core policies that are used for shaping future development in the Borough up to 2026. The Development Management Plan contains more detailed “every day” policies that all planning applications are assessed against.

The implementation of the policies in the Core Strategy and Development Management Plan are supported by a series of Supplementary Planning Documents and Guidance Notes.

See current policies and guidance for more information. 

Why is a new Local Plan required? 

The Government requires local planning authorities to review our Local Plans every five years.  

In addition, the Local Plan must be positively prepared and seek to address our development needs which have changed since the adoption of the Core Strategy (2011)

Like the rest of Surrey and the South East, accommodating new growth and development is challenging. However, a Local Plan enables us to carefully plan for and proactively manage this to achieve good growth, that benefits our existing and future residents and builds on the prosperity of the borough. It provides certainty for communities, businesses and developers and ensures that new development and infrastructure comes forward in a coordinated way.


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