Spelthorne Local Plan - Issues & Options

Spelthorne Local Plan Issues & Options consultation paper

Local designations

The preparation of a new Local Plan offers the opportunity to review all of Spelthorne's planning designations to ensure they are still fit for purpose and performing well against the reasons for the designation or if changes should be made to their boundaries. Earlier in this paper we discussed the review of the Green Belt and there are other sites in the Borough that are designated nationally or even internationally and these will not be reviewed.

The designations that we think should be reviewed are:

  • Protected Urban Open Space
  • Plotland Areas
  • Sites of Nature Conservation Importance

 

Protected Urban Open Space (PUOS)

 

The Core Strategy 2009 contains a list of specific sites that fall within the designation of Protected Urban Open Space (see Appendix 1 in the following link: Core Strategy). These are areas that contribute to the character and amenity of towns and villages in the Borough, such as parks, recreation grounds, school playing fields and residential estates that include pockets of open space.

Since the Core Strategy was adopted, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published, which includes policy on open spaces. It provides protection for open space, whether formally designated or not, and will only permit its loss if certain criteria are met, similar to the existing policy.

The NPPF also allows for certain sites to be designated through the Local Plan process as Local Green Space. This provides an additional level of protection similar to land within the Green Belt. We can also draft new design policies to avoid the loss of smaller pockets of open space that make an important contribution to the character of residential areas and estates. The Council has lost planning appeals for PUOS sites and the production of a new Local Plan is an opportunity to review whether this designation still achieves its purpose.

 

Question 4

Do you agree that the Public Urban Open Space designation can be removed and we should consider sites for designation as Local Green Space instead?

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Question 5

Do you have any sites you would like us to consider allocating in the new Local Plan as Local Green Space? Please supply address details and why you think the space should be designated.

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Plotland Areas

 

Plotland Areas are located mainly along the River Thames or on the river's islands that originated as weekend or holiday bungalows in the 1920s and 1930s but are now occupied as permanent residences. Their distinctive character contributes to the wider character of the riverside and it is important that their scale is carefully controlled.

However, they are also located within the Green Belt where there are already controls over the size of extensions and replacement dwellings. The current policy [link] requires new development to comply with Green Belt policy in addition to further requirements for Plotland dwellings. Other neighbouring local authorities also have the Plotland designation, or have had it in the past, but the policies vary from borough to borough so there is little consistency in how these areas are treated.

We would like to consider whether the Plotland Area designation is still achieving its purpose, whether it is consistent with other boroughs, whether it is fair that those wishing to extend or replace their homes have additional controls to the Green Belt policy and whether design and character policies could achieve a similar function.

 

Question 6

Do you agree that we should remove the Plotland Areas designation in the new Local Plan and use design policies instead to preserve their character?

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Sites of Nature Conservation Importance

There is a requirement of national policy for the Council to set out a strategic approach for the creation, protection and enhancement of areas of Green Infrastructure in the Borough.

The Borough has a number of Sites of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI), which is a local designation. This designation is attributed to sites where it is considered they have substantive local nature value concerning their flora and fauna. The Council is able to review and alter boundaries for SNCIs where it is considered appropriate following detailed surveys of the sites. This review will take place as part of the development of the new Local Plan and each site will be thoroughly assessed to identify any areas that are considered suitable to be added or lost from the designation.

In addition, the Borough's reservoirs are designated under the South West London Waterbodies Special Protection Area (SPA) and as Ramsar sites in 2000. SPA and Ramsar are international designations and afford the highest level of protection.

Also, the Borough has a number of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) including Shortwood Common and Poyle Meadows. SSSI is a national designation, these sites are considered to have national importance for nature conservation and strict protections are applied.

Staines Moor

The Council will continue to seek to protect biodiversity through safeguarding these designated sites and, where appropriate, seek to secure enhancements.

Question 7

Please provide any comments you wish to make on the review of Spelthorne's Sites of Nature Conservation Importance.

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Question 8

Are there any other local designations you think we should review, amend or delete as part of the new Spelthorne Local Plan? If yes, please expand on your answer below.

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