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Setting out our priorities for the development of the borough

Date: Tuesday 18 February 2020
Author: Councillor Martin Elengorn
Title: Chair of Environment, Sustainability, Culture and Sport Committee

It is less than two years since the Council adopted the present Local Plan, (a strategy that sets out the priorities for the development of the borough, it is used for making decisions on planning applications). But since it was adopted much has happened. The Council now has a Climate Emergency Strategy with a range of actions some of which have a direct bearing on Local Plan policies. There has also been a revision of the National Planning Policy Framework and an emerging new London Plan with, amongst other things, increased housing targets, within which the achievement of the desired proportion of affordable accommodation remains elusive. Another major issue is that, although our town centres have so far proved more resilient than most to changes in shopping habits, we need to consider whether greater policy flexibility is desirable.

So, we are working towards the next Local Plan and, as a first stage, we are carrying out a consultation based on a Direction of Travel document.

Among the most important contexts are Borough population projections which show considerable growth, particularly among the over 70s.

Projected population growth in Richmond

Projected population growth in Richmond

We also have to think about those commuting both out of and into the borough.

Commuter movement in and out of the borough

Commuter movement in and out of the borough

So, these are just a very few of the questions we will be asking:

  • Which areas of the borough could take most growth, for example based on proximity to town centres and stations?
  • How ambitious should we be in requiring zero carbon standards for all developments?
  • Should Richmond and Twickenham be the appropriate locations for the majority of any new retail floorspace?
  • Should Café culture and the night time economy be encouraged. Should we be more flexible about change of use from retail to eating out? If so, where?
  • Is there more scope for further community uses in centres, potentially even in key retail areas?
  • Would housing (including residential on upper floors) work if located next to other (potentially noisy or smelly) uses in centres?
  • Should the amount of designated key shopping frontages be reduced and/or should secondary shopping frontages (where some change of use is already allowed) also be reduced or de-designated altogether?
  • Should we continue to protect local top-up shopping facilities?
  • How long should shops be marketed before a change of use is allowed if the proposal is contrary to policy?
  • What priority should we give to employment uses over residential amenity, if at all?
  • Are there any sites that should be designated as ‘Local Green Space’?
  • Should we develop our own borough-wide design guide?
  • Should the Council actively pursue alternative uses (such as for much needed affordable housing) on its existing car parks?

There are many questions on which we’re seeking your views. Our consultation on the Direction of Travel for the next Local Plan will be launching shortly. So, watch this space for more information. Remember to sign up for our new Climate Change newsletter, which will include more information about what we are doing and what you could do to reduce our borough’s carbon footprint.

Updated: 24 March 2021