Spelthorne Local Plan - Issues & Options

Spelthorne Local Plan Issues & Options consultation paper


Housing need


Local authorities used to assess their housing needs by producing a Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), which is compiled using data on population and household growth, migration and economic factors to result in a figure for how many dwellings will be required to meet the need. Spelthorne and Runnymede Borough Councils produced a joint SMHA in 2015 that resulted in a range of between 557 and 747 dwellings per year for Spelthorne.

The Government has since published its own standardised methodology that all authorities will use, based on household growth and affordability. The figure for Spelthorne is 590 dwellings per year.

Available housing land

Spelthorne has published its Strategic Land Availability Assessment (SLAA), which looks at how much land we have in the Borough that could be developed for housing.  It does not include land that currently should not be built on, such as Green Belt, flood risk areas or sites subject to other constraints that would rule it out for development. It also only looks at developing sites at a scale and density that would fit in with existing buildings in the area.  The annualised figure of how many homes can be built is 428 per year.

Gypsies and Traveller pitches

We commissioned experienced consultants to produce evidence about how many additional pitches will be needed for Gypsies and Travellers and Travelling Showpeople. This document is known as the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA). 

The definition of who are considered Gypsies and Travellers changed in 2015 so the numbers have to be looked at separately, which makes things a bit more complicated.

A pitch is a piece of land that generally accommodates a mobile home, a touring caravan, storage space and parking. It is normally occupied by one Gypsy and Traveller family but larger pitches may be home to an extended family. There can be one pitch on a site or several pitches.

We need to provide up to 10 pitches for those meeting the new planning definition of Gypsies and Travellers and in addition we may need to provide 17 pitches for those who don't meet the new definition. Even if people do not meet the new definition, we still have to assess their needs as part of the Local Plan evidence.

Travelling Showpeople are members of a group who hold fairs, circuses and shows. Over the plan period, we will need to provide between 15 and 17 new plots to meet their needs. These plots need to be suitable to accommodate their equipment as well as mobile homes.

The challenge

We need to find land to accommodate another 162 dwellings per year for the 15 years between when we adopt our new Local Plan in 2020 up to 2035, or 2430 dwellings in total.  This is beyond the number we think we can already accommodate on brownfield land.

We also need to find land for up to 27 Gypsy and Traveller pitches and up to 17 Travelling Showpeople pitches. It is unlikely there would be enough land for this number on brownfield land.