Consultation document

How do we make a new Plan?

The new Local Plan and each stage of the plan-making process must be informed, shaped and guided by a number of elements.

This includes our residents' and stakeholder views as set out in the responses to consultations, the emerging Local Plan evidence base, including those relating to infrastructure; and the ongoing Sustainability Appraisal (SA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). It must also respond to national policy and legislation requirements on matters such as employment, the environment, heritage, infrastructure as well as housing. The Local Plan must also sit alongside other borough and county-wide strategies as it will help to deliver some elements of these.

We will need to balance these sometimes conflicting elements to ensure we produce a plan that we believe is 'sound' to be tested by an independent Government Inspector.

The following section provides more details on each of the elements that inform and shape the new Local Plan.

National Planning Policy

Our Local Plan must respond to and be consistent with the Government's planning policy and legislation, and since the adoption of our current planning policies in 2011 [1] and in 2015[2]  there has been significant changes to both. The new Local Plan will need to respond to these changes and will need to take into account the policies set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the technical guidance on how to apply these found in the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG).


Circle diagram showing the elements of the Local Plan Residents' and stakeholder views, Local plan evidence base, National planning policy and legislative requirements, Duty to co-operate, Other borough and county-wide strategies


Diagram 1: The elements that inform, shape and guide the Local Plan

Duty to Co-operate

The Localism Act 2011 requires us to co-operate across administrative boundaries on strategic planning issues; this is called the Duty-to-Cooperate. The duty requires us to engage with our neighbours, partners and infrastructure providers "constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis" on strategic issues in plan-making. This covers issues such as housing, employment, transport and infrastructure.

We have already been working closely with others to ensure we have a better understanding of strategic issues and to ensure they are fully considered in our plan-making, especially in relation to infrastructure. We will also need to take account of relevant planning policies and proposals in adjoining areas, and further afield that may affect, or be affected by our new Local Plan policies and proposals.

Feedback from residents and stakeholders

Consultation is an important part of the plan-making process. The consultations throughout the process are not votes but an opportunity to give views on what the Local Plan should include. Responses are considered at each stage of the Local Plan preparation.

In total there will be five opportunities for residents and stakeholders to make comments during the preparation of the Local Plan, this is set out in the diagram below.


Diagram showing the five stages of consultation. We are at the stage where we are creating our vision, objectives and the direction for development management policies 2020


Diagram 2: The five stages of consultation


Early consultation which includes this one, focusses on what our new Local Plan should contain and the key issues it should address and the options for doing so. These consultations are more informal and have included events such as public meetings, drop-in sessions and workshops with key community groups and resident associations. The latter two are representation stages and are more formal as they centre around 'soundness' and the legal compliance of the plan.


Hands holding pieces of a jigsaw


The role of the evidence base

Local Plans must be informed by evidence and over the past four years we have been preparing a series of technical documents on a wide range of topics to help us understand what new development we need, how we could plan for it and how it will be delivered. Together, these are known as the 'Local Plan Evidence Base'.

The technical documents use a variety of local and national facts, figures and data. Some elements require judgements and reasonable assumptions to be made. We have used our knowledge of the borough to inform this work. All our assessments follow national and European guidance and requirements as well as standard industry best practice.

The findings of each technical document are carefully considered against the results of other technical work, national planning policy and the law. The evidence base should be read 'as a whole', as many technical documents are interlinked.


Open book with tree shadow


There have also been several supporting documents produced to inform the plan as it is being prepared to make sure we are complying with national planning policy and law. A number of assessments need to be undertaken throughout the plan-making process to ensure important environmental, sustainability and equality matters have been properly considered.

This includes the Sustainability Appraisal which assesses the social, environmental and economic effects of the plan from the outset. It guides and informs the plan preparation to help ensure that it contributes to achieving sustainable development. This is especially important where there are conflicting views or information.

The supporting documents and the evidence base are updated and added to throughout the plan-making process. All technical documents that form the evidence base and supporting documents undertaken to date can be found on our website at

Our strategies for the borough

The Local Plan does not sit in isolation and across the borough and the county we have strategies to ensure we deliver the best outcomes for our residents, businesses and places. These include strategies relating to the economy, transport, housing, culture, open and green spaces and health. As shown in Diagram 3, the Local Plan sits at the centre of these strategies, providing the spatial delivery framework for the ambitions set out within them. Please note, this is not an exhaustive list.


Hexagonal comb diagram featuring local strategies for Elmbridge which surround the Local Plan


Diagram 3: Local strategies for Elmbridge