Neighbourhood and Local Plans

Some of the terms used in planning procedures can be quite confusing to the layman.

Effingham village has a “settlement area” which is the part of the village which is available in principle for limited development as and when suitable sites become available;   ordinary planning considerations apply.  Within the settlement area is the “conservation area” ; this contains those parts of the village which are particularly set aside for protection and for which tougher planning controls apply,

At present all parts of the village are covered by the “Green Belt” , i.e. “washed over” for protection; however, the proposal for the village (and other local villages) to be “inset”  (i.e. taken out of, would mean that Green belt protection would be removed for these areas.

Green Field” areas are existing open areas; whereas “brown field” areas are those parts of the village which have  previously built on for one purpose or another.  The “Metropolitan Green Belt” applies to areas all round London which are protected from general development, and “special circumstances have to be claimed for development to be permitted.  A further restriction applies for many parts which are in an “AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” ; much of the land at the south side of Effingham is designated as part of the Surrey Hills AONB and still further restrictions apply.

Planning Policy began after the second world war, and was totally re-set by the NPPF “National Planning Policy Framework” in 2012.  This introduced the concept of “localism“, and the requirement of Local Authorities (in our case Guildford Borough Council) to produce a “Local Plan” to designate suitable land for the predicted growing housing needs of the next 20 years.  The Local Plan has to be realistic to be accepted – putting forward a plan deemed to make insufficient provision will be rejected by the Planning Inspectorate when the plan has been submitted.  Meanwhile while a district has no approved Local Plan, it is open for developers to put forward proposals, which if judged sustainable by Inspectors may be allowed despite local objections.

Parish Councils (where they exist) have the ability to produce a “Neighbourhood Plan” for their own areas, but these must be consistent with the Local Plan, and when approved by the Inspectorate must be confirmed by a local referendum.  Effingham Neighbourhood Plan can be found here

Guildford published an “Issues and Options”  document in 2011 (?) which followed two earlier investigatory papers – the ,”SHLAA (Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment”  and the “SHMA (Strategic Housing Market Assessment)“.  The SHLAA recorded all the sites that had been proposed for possible housing  development, and the SHMA assessed the market requirements. This was the first input to a  draft Local plan, which was published for consultation in 2014. The latest version of the draft Local Plan was published in 2016, and can be found here