Richmond Council has published the first draft of the new Local Plan, which sets out a 15-year strategic vision to guide development and place-making across the borough.
When finalised, the Local Plan will be the main document against which planning applications are assessed, and residents, businesses and other key organisations are invited to share their feedback.
At the heart of the draft Local Plan is the concept of a 20-minute neighbourhood – the idea that our places should be complete, compact, and connected neighbourhoods where most of the things we need for shopping or visiting are an easy walk or cycle away. This concept enables our communities and residents to ‘live locally’, which will not only improve the quality of life, but will also bring many other benefits such as healthier lifestyles, cleaner air, stronger local economies and a better resilience against climate change.
The Local Plan is supported by a large amount of research and numerous studies, which form the basis for a holistic understanding of the borough’s qualities, constraints and capacity for growth, and assessing future needs.
The draft Local Plan is based around ten key themes:
- Responding to the climate emergency and taking action
- Delivering new homes and an affordable borough for all
- Shaping and supporting our town and local centres as they adapt to changes in the way we shop and respond to the pandemic
- Increasing jobs and helping business to grow and recover from the impacts of the pandemic
- Protecting what is special and improving our areas (heritage and culture)
- Increasing biodiversity and the quality of our green spaces and waterway
- Improving design, delivering beautiful buildings and high-quality places
- Reducing the need to travel and improving the choices for more sustainable travel
- Securing new social and community infrastructure to support a growing population
- Creating safe, healthy, and inclusive communities
The draft Local Plan takes a stronger approach to addressing the Climate Emergency, including setting requirements for new development on small sites to contribute to urban greening and biodiversity. It also takes a stronger approach to implementing requirements for affordable housing alongside all new homes.
Each place in the borough has a vision and plans for how it might be expected to change; the Council wants to hear from residents who know those places best as to whether this reflects what they would want to see for the future. There are also eight new key site allocations flagged for potential development including Teddington Police Station and former House of Fraser in Richmond Town Centre.
The consultation is open to everyone until 31 January 2022. Once it closes, Richmond Council will make changes to the Local Plan, taking account of the feedback where appropriate. There will be a further consultation, and, following examination by an independent Inspector, it is expected that the new Local Plan will be adopted in 2024. Visit the website for more information and to share your comments.
Cllr Julia Neden-Watts, Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee, said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us just how important the concept of ‘local’ is. The new draft Local Plan aims to build on this by enhancing local places, whilst still protecting their unique character. It outlines how the borough will change and so it is important that you share your feedback and ensure your voice is heard. We want to set out ambitious policy requirements for new development to ensure it plays a role in responding to future challenges including climate change, affordability, health and wellbeing. Please visit the consultation page and share your comments – your responses will be used to shape the next version of the Plan.”
Residents are invited to attend collaborative and informative workshops to help share their feedback on the Draft Local Plan. The events will take place on Zoom on 18 January, 19 January and 25 January.
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