Issue - meetings

Implications of Changes to NPPF on the Local Plan

Meeting: 31/01/2023 - Environment and Sustainability Committee (Item 13)

13 Local Plan Update and Implications of Revised National Planning Policy Framework pdf icon PDF 831 KB

To consider the implications of proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework on the submitted Local Plan.

Additional documents:


19:06 – Councillor Brar and Councillor Buttar arrived at the meeting


The Committee considered a report and presentation outlining the implications of proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework on the submitted Local Plan.


Two questions were received from members of the public in connection with this agenda item:


Question One from Lynda Fuller:


“Preamble: The NPPF stresses the need for Local Plans to be community led. The Council’s own constitution requires it “to work in partnership with residents to make Spelthorne a place where people are fully engaged, and to encourage the active involvement of the community in the decisions that affect them”. The well-supported and independently conducted survey of Staines residents in the autumn last year revealed that less than 2% of those who had participated in earlier consultations on the Local Plan felt their views had been listened to, and of the whole sample only 2.74% felt the plan for Staines was ‘fair’, 1.61% ‘desirable’, and 0.97% ‘sustainable’.


Question: Does the Council (or E&S Committee if it is not authorised to speak for the Council) accept these findings from our independently conducted survey, and if not why not and (if the Council decides to make change to its Local Plan or is instructed to do so by the Planning Inspector) will it endeavour to meet the obligations of its constitution and the demands of the NPPF in relation to community engagement in any consultation on revisions to its Local Plan?”


Response from the Chair:

“Community engagement and consultation are integral to the preparation of Local Plans and supplementary guidance documents. Whilst we have fulfilled these obligations and all responses are taken into account, including the survey referred to, this does not mean we can necessarily do everything our communities have asked for. Especially where those communities have competing demands. As we have explained many times, including as part of this evening’s items for discussion, we are bound by national planning policy and this affects what we can and this affects what we can reasonably achieve in sustainable town centres. We have listened to our residents by including the zoning proposals in Staines, where development can come forward with or without an up-to-date Local Plan.


In respect of making changes instructed by an Inspector, an Inspector cannot instruct. They will recommend changes necessary in order to make the plan sound, Spelthorne then chooses whether to do this or not, but if they don’t then it is obviously unlikely the Plan will be found ‘sound’.


I think your comment about listening to constituents goes to the heart of this matter. Spelthorne’s level of public engagement far surpasses the guidelines and goes well beyond the engagement carried out by any other authority I know. All of Spelthorne’s major Residents groups representing many thousands of our residents support the plan. Most of these groups have been in existence for decades and have a wide knowledge base among their members. Most have been involved in these consultations since 2018. They  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13