Spelthorne Local Plan - Preferred Options Consultation: Policies and Site Allocations

Spelthorne Local Plan Preferred Options: policies

Strategic policies


Policy ST1: Presumption in Favour of Sustainable Development

  1. Planning applications that accord with the policies in this Local Plan (and, where relevant, with policies in any neighbourhood plans adopted in the future) will be approved without delay, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.
  2. When determining development proposals the Council will take a positive approach that reflects the presumption in favour of sustainable development contained in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The Council will work proactively with applicants with the aim of finding solutions that mean that proposals can be approved wherever possible, in order to secure development that improves the economic, social and environmental conditions in the Borough.
  3. Where there are no policies relevant to the application or relevant policies are out of date at the time of making the decision, then the Council will grant permission unless material considerations indicate otherwise, taking into account whether:
  1. the application of policies in the National Planning Policy Framework that protect areas or assets of particular importance provides a clear reason for refusing the development proposed; or
  2. any adverse impacts of granting permission would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in the National Planning Policy Framework taken as a whole.


Sustainability Appraisal Indicators

Reasoned Justification

The NPPF emphasises that all Local Plans should be based upon and reflect the presumption in favour of sustainable development. The principle informs both the policies and site allocations contained within the 'Local Plan: Strategy and Sites' and will be used to guide decision makers.

Local Planning Authorities are encouraged to include a policy within their Local Plan that embraces the presumption in favour of sustainable development. Policy ST1 meets this requirement and adopts the model wording suggested. When implementing Policy ST1, local circumstances will be taken into account to respond to different opportunities for achieving sustainable development. In accordance with policies in the NPPF that protect important natural and heritage assets, the presumption will not automatically apply to: habitats sites (including sites protected under the Birds and Habitats Directives) and/or designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), development requiring appropriate assessment because of its potential impact on a habitats site, land designated as Green Belt, or Local Green Space, designated heritage assets, and or locations identified as at risk of flooding.

Key Evidence

  • National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2019

Sustainability Appraisal Alternative Options

Alternative Option 1: Include a policy which promotes the presumption in favour of Sustainable Development, in accordance with the NPPF.

National policy indicates that Local Plan policies should follow the approach of the presumption in favour of sustainable development. It was therefore considered that there were no alternatives to the inclusion of sustainable development within the policy as a 'do nothing' approach was not considered reasonable.


Policy ST2: Planning for the Borough

Spatial Development Strategy

  1. The housing requirement for Spelthorne is 6031 dwellings per annum over the plan period (2020 - 2035), a total of 9,045. During the plan period, provision has been made for at least 9,057 new homes. Table 1 shows the contribution of all sources of housing supply.
  2. Provision has been made for at least 15,000 sqm of office and research and development (B1a and b) floorspace (net) and for at least 14,000 sqm of storage and distribution (B8) (net); and approximately 22,0002 sqm of comparison retail floorspace (gross).
  3. Provision has been made for 20 permanent pitches for Gypsies and Travellers and 15 permanent plots for Travelling Showpeople (as defined by Planning Policy for Traveller Sites) within Spelthorne between 2020 and 2035.


1. As calculated using the standard method for assessing housing need.  The Council will review the local housing need figure as and when appropriate, guided by the Government’s approach to assessing housing need.   

2. This is subject to the former Waitrose unit at Two Rivers not being occupied by a convenience goods retailer.


Sustainability Appraisal Indicators

Reasoned Justification

National policy requires that we meet objectively assessed housing needs, including any unmet needs from neighbouring authorities, where it is practical to do so and consistent with achieving sustainable development. Spelthorne's objectively assessed housing need has been based on the Government standard methodology set out in the NPPF 2018 and accompanying Planning Practice Guidance.

Spelthorne's total housing supply over the plan period (2020-2035) is indicated in the table below and will comprise homes from a variety of sources in addition to the Local Plan's site allocations.

Table 1: Sources of supply over the plan period: 2020 - 2035 (net number of homes)


Approx. number of units




1,649 in Green Belt

2,671 in Urban area

SLAA sites (> 5 units)


5% under-delivery discount applied

Windfall: Small sites


37 per annum x 15 years

Windfall: Office to residential permitted development


37 per annum in 6-10 years

19 per annum in 11-15 years

Under construction


As of 1 April 2019

Staines opportunity area


Dependent upon delivery of Staines Masterplan

Approx. 100 units per annum




Average per annum



* No under-delivery discount applied as dependent upon further discussions with landowners on availability and deliverability. Yields identified in the Allocations Document supersede that identified in the SLAA for allocated sites.

** Excluding sites identified for allocation in the Local Plan

Spelthorne has an annual requirement for 603 homes per annum, which has been determined using the Government's standard methodology for calculating local housing need (LHN). The methodology uses the official 2014 household projections with an uplift to take account of local affordability.

The Council has produced a Strategic Land Availability Assessment (SLAA) to identify which parcels of land in the urban area could help to meet development needs and has also undertaken a Green Belt Assessment to determine which areas are weakly performing and could be released from the Green Belt. These evidence base documents have informed the sites identified for potential allocation in the Local Plan.

Not all sites identified in the SLAA have been allocated in the Local Plan due to their non-strategic nature and the lack of benefits identified from an allocation. As such they are expected to be delivered as windfall development. In addition, an allowance for small sites and office to residential permitted development has been identified based on past trends. Sites under construction as of 1 April 2019 are included within the supply, with a 16 year period accounted for from 2019 to 2035.

It is anticipated that the residual need will be addressed through the Staines Masterplan. This is in the early stages of development and figures will be updated once this work progresses.

Spelthorne sits within a housing market area (HMA) with Runnymede Borough Council and the two boroughs also form a Functional Economic Market Area (FEMA). Runnymede has recently had its Local Plan examined. The Runnymede Local Plan will make provision for a minimum of 7,480 net additional dwellings over their plan period, a 20,000sqm business park in New Haw and a 79,025sqm (7,350sqm net) office/business park at the Longcross Enterprise Zone. They are also seeking to deliver a minimum of 7,540sqm net retail floorspace and a minimum of 60,260 sqm net employment floorspace delivered in Runnymede Borough's Strategic Employment Areas.

Monitoring Indicators



Data Source

Net number of new homes delivered per annum

603 (net)

In house Council Monitoring

Net number of additional permanent pitches for Gypsies and Travellers and 15 permanent plots for Travelling Showpeople

20 permanent pitches for Gypsies and Travellers

15 permanent plots for Travelling Showpeople

In house Council Monitoring

Net additional office and research and development (B1a and b) floorspace

Net additional of storage and distribution (B8) floorspace

15,000 sqm of (net) office and research and development (B1a and b)

14,000 sqm of storage and distribution (B8) (net)

In house Council Monitoring

Additional comparison retail floorspace

22,000 sqm (gross).

In house Council Monitoring

Key Evidence

  • Strategic Housing Market Assessment (2015) and SHMA update (2019)
  • Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (2018)
  • Employment Land Needs Assessment (Spelthorne Borough Council, 2018)

Sustainability Appraisal Alternative Options

Alternative Option 1: Aim to meet all need for housing, including affordable and G&T pitches, employment and other development in the urban area without amending Green Belt boundaries. Increase densities, prioritise housing need and build on open space and re-provide sports and recreation facilities in the Green Belt.

Reject alternative. Unlikely to meet full OAN and would result in the loss of uses other than housing in town centres.

Alternative Option 2: Amend the Green Belt boundary significantly to meet housing and employment need. This option would include safeguarding land in the Green Belt for future need beyond the plan period. The Green Belt designation would only be retained for sites that are strongly performing and/or perform a strategic Green Belt function.

Reject alternative. This would result in the loss of a significant amount of strongly and moderately performing Green Belt.

Alternative Option 3: Focus new development in Staines upon Thames by making use of a Master Plan approach for development that increases opportunities for new high rise residential buildings. Significantly increase densities in the Staines area; prioritise housing need by allowing employment sites to be redeveloped; allocate sites for housing elsewhere in the Borough but only at an appropriate density.

Reject alternative. Approach unlikely to meet all needs. Negative impacts expected on social SA objectives.

Alternative Option 4: Increase densities in town centres and near transport facilities where the character can accommodate it, allowing high rise development where appropriate and where they are of high quality design. Release some weakly performing Green Belt that would not adversely affect the integrity of the strategic Green Belt. Make use of a masterplan approach for Staines.

Preferred approach. This option provides the opportunity to meet all development needs and distributes growth across the Borough.

Alternative Option 5: Consider Kempton Park Garden Village as an alternative option. Allow as much need as possible in the urban area and release the site to provide 3,000 new homes. Develop sites identified in the Strategic Land Availability Assessment as suitable in the urban area in addition.

Reject alternative. This option is likely to have significantly negative impacts on the environment and transport given the proposed scale of development concentrated in one location.


Core Strategy 2009 policies to be replaced

  • Strategic Policy SP1: Location of Development