Executive, 22 March 2005
UNITARY DEVELOPMENT PLAN: SECRETARY OF STATE DIRECTION TO MODIFY, AND
PROPOSED MODIFICATIONS AND ADOPTION OF THE PLAN
Report by the Director of Environmental Services
To recommend proposed modifications to the Unitary Development Plan (UDP) following a
Direction to Modify by the Secretary of State on 8th February 2005, for decision by Council.
Action Proposed by the Executive Member for Transport and Sustainable Development
That the Executive recommend to Council to resolve to adopt the Kingston upon Thames UDP
First Alteration including the Proposed Modifications as set out at Annex 2, and that any further
updating, correction or amending necessary which does not materially affect the Plan be
delegated to the Head of Planning & Development in consultation with the Executive Member
for Transportation & Sustainable Development.
Reasons for action proposed
In order to ensure that the Executive’s views on the Proposed UDP modifications are
considered and that the procedures for formally adopting the UDP are undertaken.
1. The Secretary of State has ‘directed’ the Council to modify the Unitary Development Plan
(UDP) prior to its adoption. This means that the Council cannot yet adopt the UDP, and
must modify its policies on ‘affordable housing’ and ‘car parking standards for
employment uses’, to conform with the direction. This report recommends modifications
to comply with the direction, and the procedure for adopting the UDP.
2. On 7th December 2004 the Executive previously considered the adoption process of the
UDP. On 14th December 2004 the Council resolved to adopt the plan, including
proposed minor Modifications. Notices were published on 12th January 2005
commencing a 28-day period after which the UDP would have been adopted.
THE SECRETARY OF STATE’S DIRECTION
3. The Secretary of State has the power to direct a modification under the 1990 Town &
Country Planning Act. Although these powers are normally used sparingly, recently both
LB Westminster and LB Richmond have received directions to modify in respect of their
affordable housing policy. The full direction letter is at Annex 1.
4. In summary the direction is to modify proposals so that:
a) the threshold at which affordable housing will be expected in compliance
with policy H9 is set so that the policy applies to proposals of 10 or more
units, and sites of 0.3 hectares or more;
b) the UDP employment parking standards are brought into line with the
London Plan policy.
5. The Council must decide on the changes that will be necessary to comply with the
direction and carry through the normal procedures leading to the modification of the plan.
If the Council does not propose to make any changes it must give reasons. This report
recommends that the plan be modified to comply with the direction, as set out at Annex
COMMENTS ON THE DIRECTION AND PROPOSED MODIFICATIONS
Affordable Housing – Policy H9
6. The threshold for affordable housing proposed under the direction (10 units and 0.3
hectares) is the same as was originally sought by the Council through the UDP
Alterations. The UDP Inspector considered that this was contrary to national policy, and
as a result a fifteen-unit / 0.5 hectare threshold was introduced.
7. Various changes to national guidance have since been published for consultation. In
October 2003 the Council made representations on draft changes to Planning Policy
Guidance Note 3:Housing (PPG3) to the effect that a ten-unit threshold should be
acceptable for boroughs with a demonstrable and acute affordable housing need. The
most recent consultation on PPG3 is currently underway, introducing scope for
thresholds below 15 units (Planning for Mixed Communities, published January 2005).
The Secretary of State has attached weight to this paper in justifying his direction.
8. The proposed modifications to Policy H9 set out at Annex 2 refer to a ten-unit threshold,
and a site area of 0.3 hectare. This fully complies with the Secretary of State’s Direction.
Employment Parking Standards
9. The Secretary of State is directing the Council to bring its car parking standards for
employment-generating uses into line with the London Plan. The London Plan sets a
range of between 1:100m2 and 1:600m2 for outer London. Some of the Council’s
standards for employment-generating uses fall outside this range, allowing a greater
provision of parking than the London Plan allows for. Annex 2 shows the proposed
10. At the time of the UDP Inquiry, the London Plan was yet to be published. UDP parking
standards for employment uses were formulated in the context of PPG13 (Transport) and
Chapter 9 of Regional Planning Guidance for the South East (2001) (RPG9). RPG9
(Chapter 9 on Transport) set the maximum standard in the range 1:100 –1:600 sq.m in
outer London for employment generating uses.
11. The Council set some of its standards in the UDP for employment-generating uses at a
level outside this range, to allow a greater amount of parking than RPG9 allowed for.
The Council was concerned that if parking was too restrictive compared to neighbouring
Surrey districts then there was a danger that Kingston would be less attractive as a place
for businesses. The UDP Inspector supported this stance, acknowledging the reference
in RPG9 to the need to take account of standards in adjoining areas. However, the
Secretary of State considers he misinterpreted the guidance, and that it was for areas
outside London to tighten their standards to reflect those in London.
12. The Regional Transport Strategy (published July 2004) supersedes Chapter 9 of RPG9.
This makes it clear that rather than outer London Boroughs relaxing their standards to
take account of areas outside London, districts that adjoin London should tighten their
standards to reflect those in the London Boroughs.
13. The Secretary of State accepts that PPG13 and the London Plan provide for a relaxation
of the maximum standards under particular circumstances applying in individual cases.
Annex 4, para.11 of the London Plan refers to an ‘interim period’ before districts outside
London bring their standards into line with guidance. During this time the Council can
take account of more relaxed standards in adjoining areas, where this can be
demonstrated to have an impact on the viability of the development. It is proposed to
amend and update the supporting text of Policy T20 (Compliance with Car and Cycle
Parking Standards) to reflect this situation.
14. Officers will seek an informal opinion from the Government Office as to whether the
proposed modifications at Annex 2 comply fully with the Secretary of State’s Direction.
15. Following the Council meeting of April 12th 2005 it will be possible to publish the
modifications for the statutory six week consultation period during which time
representations may be made on the proposed modifications. Any representations must
be considered before deciding whether to amend the modifications or proceed with
adoption (subject to the Secretary of State’s approval of the modifications).
IMPLICATIONS FOR THE LOCAL DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK
16. Under the new planning system, introduced by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase
Act 2004, the UDP will eventually be replaced by the ‘Local Development Framework’
(LDF). UDP policies are automatically ‘saved’ for three years from the date it is adopted.
The delay in UDP adoption means a delay to the start of the three-year period. Work on
the LDF continues, but some timetables can be extended slightly to allow for the ongoing
17. Adoption of the plan can be undertaken within the existing budget.
18. The Proposed Modifications will have environmental implications but the thrust of the
alterations to the plan are in the interests of improving the environment and securing
Background papers – held by Daniel Hawes (author of report) – 020 8547 5349,
RBK UDP First Alteration Composite Version, December 2002
Inspector’s Report of the Public Inquiry into the RBK UDP First Alteration
RBK UDP First Review Statement of Decisions and Reasons and Proposed
Modifications, 13th July 2004
The London Plan – Spatial Development Strategy for Greater London (February 2004)
Regional Planning Guidance for the South East (RPG9), March 2001
PPG13 Transport, March 2001
Regional Transport Strategy, July 2004
Town & Country Planning (Development Plan) (England) Regulations 1999
Planning For Mixed Communities Consultation Paper, January 2005.
Annex 1: Direction Letter from Secretary of State dated 8 th February 2005
Annex 2: Proposed Modifications following Direction
5 Annex 1
Mr Paul Gibson Andrew Melville
Planning Policy Manager Director of Planning
Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames 9th Floor, Riverwalk
House Directorate of Environmental Services 157-161 Millbank
Guildhall II London SW1P 4RR
Surrey KT1 1EU Tel: 020 7217 3139
Fax: 020 7217 3474
Our ref: LRP 19/Z5630/0/4
Your ref: 8 February 2005
Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended)
Town and Country Planning (Development Plan) Regulations 1999
Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames Unitary Development Plan
1. I am directed by the First Secretary of State (‘the Secretary of State’) to inform you that
your Council’s proposals for the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames Unitary Development
Plan (UDP) appear to him to be unsatisfactory. Accordingly, in exercise of the powers conferred on
him by section 17(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended (‘the 1990 Act’),
the Secretary of State hereby directs your Council to modify the proposals so that:
c) the threshold at which affordable housing will be expected in compliance with policy H9 is
set so that the policy applies to proposals of 10 or more units and sites of 0.3 hectares or more;
d) the UDP employment parking standards are brought into line with the London Plan policy;
e) It will also be necessary to make consequential changes to the reasoned justification for these
policies and any related policies and accompanying reasoned justification in the UDP.
2. The UDP and inquiry
The background to this is as follows:
3. Affordable housing – threshold
a) The Council at the inquiry into the proposed alterations to the UDP for the Royal Borough
of Kingston upon Thames sought to demonstrate that in order to maximise provision of affordable
housing in the Borough, it was necessary to reduce the threshold in policy H9 (as the basis for
determining when affordable housing should be sought) to 10 dwellings and sites of 0.3 hectare
(ha). The inquiry Inspector considered the Council’s Housing Needs Survey (2001) that identified
an annual need of 1,812 units. The Inspector was satisfied that there was a demonstrable need for
b) The Inspector, having regard to evidence put to him by the Council, supported the reduction
in the affordable housing policy threshold from the adopted UDP (1998) threshold of 20 units
(irrespective of site area) to 15 units and 0.5ha site area in order to maximise affordable housing.
He acknowledged the exceptional circumstances that existed in the Borough; the poor performance
of the affordable housing policy in the adopted plan; and the resulting serious backlog of need,
together with the expected decrease in larger sites being brought forward for housing development.
However, he had serious reservations about lowering the threshold below 15 units because he did
not believe this would result in the identified overall level of housing need being met. (Inspector’s
Report (IR) Paras 3.13.9-19)
c) In assessing the Council’s case, the Inspector placed significant weight on the advice in
Circular 6/98 about the level at which thresholds should be set, and took the view that there would
have to be an overwhelming weight of evidence and exceptional local circumstances in order to
justify a reduction of the threshold to 10 units. (IR Paras 3.13.8-9)
4. Government policy
a) Circular 6/98, paragraph 8, indicates that in preparing plans, authorities should ensure
that planning policies for affordable housing are “compatible with their objectives for land-use
planning and economic development”. One implication of this advice is that thresholds set to
determine the size of scheme to which policies seeking affordable housing will apply, should not
frustrate delivery of housing more generally, by inhibiting smaller schemes.
b) The issue has subsequently been raised in ODPM consultation document ‘Proposed
change to planning policy for influencing the size, type and affordability of housing’ (July 2003)
and addressed in the ODPM consultation document, Planning for Mixed Communities (January
2005). Paragraph 11 of the latter says:
“11. The minimum site-size threshold above which affordable housing is to be sought should not
normally be above 15 dwellings or sites of more than 0.5 hectares. A local planning authority may
adopt a different site-size threshold for the plan area or different thresholds (for example different
site-size thresholds for different parts of the plan area or a range of site-size thresholds in
conjunction with differential affordable housing contributions). A local planning authority may
wish to set its minimum site-size threshold lower than 15 dwellings or 0.5 hectares where it has
high levels of need which cannot be met on larger sites alone and / or where the majority of housing
supply comes from smaller sites. When justifying different site-size thresholds, a local planning
authority should take into account the economics of provision, the impact on the delivery of agreed
housing numbers and the objective of creating sustainable communities across the plan area and in
the individual parts of the plan area.”
c) The document associated with PPS1, entitled The Planning System: General Principles
says (Para 14) that emerging Government policies in the form of draft circulars and policy guidance
can be a material consideration depending on the context. “Their existence may indicate that a
relevant policy is under review; and the circumstances which have led to that review may need to
be taken into account.”
5. The London Plan
a) The London Plan (Spatial Development Strategy for Greater London) was published in
February 2004, after the inquiry into alterations to the Kingston UDP was completed. It includes
policy 3A.7 – Affordable housing targets – which inter alia sets the Mayor’s strategic target for
affordable housing London-wide at 50%. The Secretary of State considers that because it is the
published (i.e. final) plan, the London Plan now has significant weight by virtue of s38 of the
‘Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004’.
6. Housing delivery in Kingston
a) Greater London Authority (GLA) data on housing completions indicates that in the period
1997-2003 an average of 418 net additional dwelling completions a year was achieved. This
compares with a requirement in RPG3 (Strategic Guidance for London Planning Authorities)
(Table 4.1) for housing provision in Kingston to exceed 4,250 dwellings in the period from 1992-
2006: that represents a rate of 283 dwellings per year. The annual requirement for homes in
Kingston in the London Plan (Table 3A.1) is 340 (including non-conventional capacity – i.e.
household spaces in non-self contained accommodation and net reduction in long-term vacant
properties). The capacity estimates underpinning this target are 240 net additional dwellings per
year and 100 non-conventional. The Secretary of State is satisfied that evidence on completions
indicates the achievement of an appropriate rate of housing provision in the Borough.
b) The evidence considered by the Inspector included the Council’s Core Proof – Affordable
Housing, which provided inter alia an analysis (Table 2) of housing completions in the Borough
over the four years from 1998-2001 and of the numbers of affordable dwellings included in that
provision, and indicates that overall 13% (196 from a total of 1,493) of completions in that period
c) The Inspector also considered evidence including the Council’s Core Proof – Housing
General, which provided inter alia an analysis (Table 4) of estimated housing supply for the period
1997-2016, and shows that by the end of 2006 most of the large identified sites, and many large
‘windfall’ sites, with housing capacity in the Borough will be developed. This means that small
sites will become increasingly important for the delivery of housing.
d) Further monitoring data provided by the Council demonstrates that 5% (140) of total housing
completions (2,983) between 1997 and 2003 came from schemes of between 10 and 14 units.
7. The Secretary of State’s consideration of Policy H9
a) The Secretary of State considers that the inquiry Inspector was right to give weight to the
advice about thresholds in Circular 6/98. However, he considers that his subsequent publication in
July 2003 of the consultation document ‘Proposed change to planning policy for influencing the
size, type and affordability of housing’ and in January 2005 of the consultation document ‘Planning
for Mixed Communities’ indicate that the policy on thresholds is under review. He further considers
that acute housing need in local planning authority areas, such as Kingston’s, where house prices
are particularly high, represents one of the reasons for undertaking such a review. He therefore
considers that some weight should also be attributed to the consultation document of January 2005,
cited above, that was produced after the UDP Inquiry ended and therefore was not available for the
Inquiry Inspector to take into account.
b) The Secretary of State has taken into account the Council’s evidence on need, together with
information (as set out above) illustrating the deliverability of housing (including affordable
housing) in the Borough. The Secretary of State notes that the affordable housing policy in the
London Plan changed between the draft and final version of the Plan. He has taken into account the
final version that includes in policy 3A.7 a 50% strategic target figure that Boroughs should take
into account. The Secretary of State places greater weight on the strategic affordable housing
requirement in policy 3A.7 of the London Plan than was placed on it by the UDP inquiry Inspector,
since the London Plan has now been published. He also places weight on the January 2005
consultation document on the review of PPG3 for the reasons given above.
c) The Secretary of State has considered the appropriate threshold for affordable housing within
the Borough in the light of the evolving national policy, the published London Plan and the other
matters referred to above.
d) Having taken all these considerations into account, the Secretary of State has concluded that
there is, in these particular circumstances, a case for the adoption of a threshold of 10 dwellings (or
0.3ha) in policy H9 of the Kingston UDP. He considers that such a change is essential to secure the
maximum affordable housing provision in the Borough that can be achieved through the grant of
planning permission. It will also assist in increasing the Borough's contribution to the fulfilment of
the strategic affordable housing target in the London Plan. He has also had regard to the evidence
on thresholds in London (Thresholds for Application of Affordable Housing Requirements, Three
Dragons et al, March 2003), which suggests that in terms of development economics, thresholds
lower than 15 are capable of delivering affordable housing without reducing overall supply.
8. Car parking standards – employment uses
a) The Council at the inquiry into the proposed alterations to the UDP sought to keep Car
Parking Standards for employment generating uses, within use classes B1, B2 and B8, at the level
of 1:40m² (B1/B2) and 1:50m² (B8) for areas the Plan designates as the ‘remainder of the Borough’.
The Council argued that restrictive standards for such uses could create a perverse situation
whereby locations outside the Borough, in Surrey, could be preferred for development, and also
that they were prepared prior to current London Plan policy.
b) The Inspector, supported the Council’s position, and noted that the standards proposed were
generous in the context of the range set out RPG9 (Regional Planning Guidance for the South
East), which had amended the standards in RPG3 (Regional Planning Guidance for London).
However, he also interpreted RPG9 as indicating that account should be taken of policy in
neighbouring districts in Surrey whose standards were even more generous, so that the Borough’s
competitive position would not be adversely affected as compared with those areas in Surrey and
with areas in London less reliant on the private car. (IR Paras 16.1.13-14)
c) The Secretary of State considers that the Inspector misinterpreted the intention of RPG9
(points b(i) and c, policy T3) in that rather than promoting a relaxation of maximum standards in
outer London below the bottom of the prescribed range of 1:100-1:600 square metres, the guidance
advises authorities outside but close to London to adopt stricter standards, closer to those applicable
in London, than they otherwise would. Moreover, the relaxation of the standard in RPG3 that was
effected by RPG9 for authorities in outer London enabled them to adopt standards closer to those of
the adjacent authorities outside London.
d) The Regional Transport Strategy, which was published in July 2004, replacing chapter 9 of
RPG9, makes it clear that in areas outside but adjoining London parking standards should be
brought down to levels closer to those applicable in London. Thus para 9.62, bullet point 1 says that
“Areas close to the London boundary or with a strong spatial or economic relationship with London
should set maximum parking standards at the lower end of the prescribed range” (i.e. closer to or at
e) The London Plan was published after the Public Local Inquiry into the Kingston UDP
alterations had taken place, and it now forms part of the development plan for London boroughs.
Policies for car parking provision are set out in policies 3C.22/23 of the London Plan (as interpreted
for employment related development in Annex 4, Tables 4A.1 and 4A.4). Together with PPG13, it
now therefore provides the main criteria for determining appropriate car parking standards for the
Kingston Plan. Although Annex D to PPG13 sets out a parking standard for B1 uses, PPG13, para
53, indicates that Regional Planning Bodies and local authorities may adopt more rigorous
standards where appropriate, subject to the advice in PPG13. The Secretary of State considers that
the London Plan standards (which cover employment uses in general in Table 4A.1, and B8 uses in
Table 4A.4) are prepared on this basis, and that they reflect the approach taken by PPG13, and in
particular the advice in paragraph 51 that “parking policies should ensure that, as part of a package
of planning and transport measures, levels of parking provided in association with development will
promote sustainable transport choices.”
f) In the Secretary of State’s view, greater weight should now be placed on the policies on
parking in the London Plan than was placed on them by the inquiry Inspector. This is because the
London Plan has now been published. He accepts that provision is made in PPG13 (Para 54) and
Annex 4 (Para 11) of the London Plan for development not to adhere to those maximum standards
because of particular circumstances applying in individual cases. He notes also that the second
bullet point in Policy 3C.22 of the London Plan provides for the standard in Annex 4 to be applied
“where appropriate”, but he also notes that the overall objective of the policy, set out at the start of
the policy, is to seek to ensure that car parking at new development is minimised. Further, the
Secretary of State considers that the proposed standards risk creating incentives against the location
of employment uses in areas with better public transport accessibility.
g) Having taken all these considerations into account, the Secretary of State has concluded that,
in the particular circumstances of this Plan, there is insufficient justification for the standards to
vary from those in the London Plan. The UDP employment parking standards should therefore be
brought in line with the London Plan. He considers that such a change is important to promote
sustainable transport choices and reduce reliance on the car for work and other journeys.
9. By virtue of section 17(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 your Council shall
not adopt the proposals for the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames Unitary Development
Plan unless the Secretary of State is satisfied that the modifications necessary to conform with the
direction have been made or the direction is withdrawn. Your Council’s attention is drawn to
regulation 33 of the above mentioned Regulations.
Director of Planning, Government Office for London
10 Annex 2
Draft Proposed Modifications to the Royal Borough of Kingston Unitary
Development Plan First Alteration in response to a direction from the
Secretary of State on 8th February 2005
UDP Policy/ Proposed Modification Reason for Modification
Chapter 3 Housing and the Residential Environment
Policy H9 Alter paragraph 3(ii) of Policy H9 as follows: To comply with the Secretary of
15-10 - 24 DWELLINGS ON A SUITABLE State’s Direction
SITE AND ANY PROPOSAL FOR LESS
THAN 15 10 DWELLINGS ON A SUITABLE
SITE OF 0.5 0.3 HECTARES OR MORE,
30%-50% OF THESE SHOULD BE FOR
Para 3.52 Alter the final sentence of para 3.52 as To comply with the Secretary of
shown: State’s Direction
“On sites of 15 10 to 24 units between 30%
and 50% will be negotiated.”
Para. 3.53 Alter first sentence of para. 3.53 as shown: To comply with the Secretary of
“Within this framework the Council will regard
the provision of affordable housing as a
material consideration in determining
applications for the residential development
of identified proposal sites and other
appropriate windfall sites coming forward for
development on which 15 10 or more
residential units are proposed.”
Chapter 11 Transport
Para. 11.4 Alter the last sentence of para. 11.4 as To update the text of the plan as a
shown: consequence of the Secretary of
Planning guidance has highlighted
sustainable modes and managing demand
since the publication of PPG13 Transport in
1994, revised in 2001, with these themes
featuring in PPG6, RPG3 and draft changes
to RPG9 and the London Plan.
Para. 11.125 Alter the 3rd sentence of para. 11.125 as To update the text of the plan as a
shown: consequence of the Secretary of
“The provision of parking spaces for new
development is seen as the responsibility of
the developer. The Council requires new
development to make appropriate provision
and has defined car and cycle parking
standards for that purpose which are set out
in Appendix 1. The car parking standards are
maxima and reflect the London Plan and
Government guidance aimed at restraining
the car set out in PPG3, and PPG13, RPG3
UDP Policy/ Proposed Modification Reason for Modification
Insert new “When applying the car parking standards for To reflect the approach taken in the
paragraph to B1 Business, B2 General Industrial and B8 London Plan (Annex 4, para. 11)
follow para. Storage and Distribution the Council will take that allows outer London Boroughs
11.126a account of standards in adjoining areas to take account of parking standards
outside London where they are demonstrated in adjoining areas where these have
to have an impact upon the viability of the yet to be brought closer to those of
proposed development.” Boroughs in outer London.
Para. 11.127 The Council has introduced restraint-based To update the text of the plan as a
maximum car parking standards in line with consequence of the Secretary of
national and regional guidance (PPG13, State’s direction.
RPG3, PPG3 and RPG9 the London Plan)
Appendix 1 Parking Standards for New Development
Car Parking Amend the figures in the car parking To bring the standards into line with
Standards standards’ in the table in Appendix 1 as the London Plan and to comply with
shown: [see below] the Secretary of State’s Direction.
Car Parking In the table of parking standards amend the This is an unnecessary statement to
Standards text under ‘Remainder of the Borough, Other include within the parking standards.
Areas’ for B1 Business as shown: [see below]
Car Parking In the table of parking standards delete the Reference to relaxing the standards
Standards text in the first column under Use Class ‘B2 in individual circumstances has
General Industrial as shown: [see below] been updated in accordance with
the London Plan and elevated to the
supporting text of Policy T20 where
it more logically belongs.
Appendix 1 Parking Standards for New Development
CAR PARKING STANDARDS
Use Class Kingston District Centres Remainder of the Borough
Town of Surbiton,
Centre New Malden
B1 BUSINESS Industrial, Other Areas
1 space per 1 space per 100 Warehouse,
300 m2 m2 Business Areas
1 space per
1 space per
40 m2 100 m2
40m2 100 m2
B2 GENERAL INDUSTRY 1 space per 40 m2 100 m2 1 space per 40 m2 100 m2
Relaxation for this use class will A lorry parking space may be A lorry parking space may be
be considered on its merits and provided as part of the parking required as part of the parking
may be subject to planning requirement. requirement.
conditions or legal agreements
B8 STORAGE AND 1 space per 50 m2 100 m2 PLUS a minimum of 1 lorry space per