Draft Settlement Investment and Development (ID) Plans-Esher

How do we judge what is the best use of a site?

1.31 It’s not easy and there are often competing uses for a site that we need to consider. The allocation process has been developed to ensure that only reasonable alternatives for development will go through to the consultation stage. Reasonable alternatives will be judged against the following criteria which essentially act as a ‘sift’.

1.32 The assessment process has been divided into a number of stages (Figure 1). 


  • Stage A – Initial Assessment – this eliminates sites that are not in line with the Council’s Core Strategy or are considered too small for inclusion.
  • Stage B – Deliverability Assessment – eliminates any sites that are not genuinely developable and available to be delivered.
  • Stage C – Detailed Assessment – assesses the social, economic and environmental effects of the proposed development (incorporating Sustainability Appraisal)

Further details can be found at www.elmbridge.gov.uk/planning

1.33 In addition, where a site has been discussed at the local workshops, the level of community support has been taken into account. In most cases this has influenced whether a site has been put forward as an ‘opportunity site’ or an ‘other possible site’ for consultation purposes.

1.34 The intention is not to allocate all sites that could potentially be developed over the lifetime of the plan. This would be impossible and an approach riddled with uncertainty. Only key sites, of particular significance to the area will be allocated. The ID Plans present a range of site for consultation. The threshold for inclusion differs between areas, the minimum being 6 units.

1.35 It is inevitable that some sites will fall out, and others come forward during the lifetime of the plan. The Council’s Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment therefore continues to be an important document. Through rigorous monitoring and annual review of this land availability assessment, the Council will always have up to date evidence of potential future land supply in order to ensure the delivery of our overall housing target, and potential capacity for employment floorspace.