planning report PDU/LDF11/LDD03/01
11 March 2011
Kingston Pre Submission Core Strategy, Development Plan Document
(Kingston upon Thames Council Local Development Framework)
Consultation on Pre-Submission Document
Town & Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended); Greater London Authority Acts 1999 and
2007; Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (as amended); Town and Country
Planning (Local Development) (England) Regulations 2004 (as amended).
Transport, tall buildings, waste, and housing.
That the Mayor agrees to submit the comments set out in this report and in the attached
appendix to Kingston upon Thames Council as the formal response to the Pre-Submission
consultation, and that Kingston upon Thames Council be advised that the proposed
Submission Documents are not in general conformity with the London Plan in relation to
transport, waste and housing and that further discussions are needed in respect of all the
issues listed above.
1. On 28 January 2011 Kingston upon Thames Council consulted the Mayor of London on
the above Document. This report sets out information for the Mayor’s use in deciding what
comments to make. The consultation period ends on 14 March 2011.
2. The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (“the Act”) introduced a new system
of preparing development plans. This requires boroughs to progressively replace existing
unitary development plans with a portfolio of local development documents that will
collectively form the local development framework for each of the boroughs. The local
development framework together with the London Plan provides the essential framework for
planning at the borough level. The “development plan” in London for the purposes of section
38(6) of the Act is:
The London Plan (consolidated with alterations since 2004), and
Development plan documents produced by the borough councils (and saved unitary
development plan policies in transitional period).
3. There are three types of local development documents: development plan documents
(DPDs); supplementary planning documents (SPDs); and statements of community
involvement. The document now being consulted on is a DPD with development plan status,
which will be subject to an examination to test the ‘soundness’ of the plan.
4. Planning Policy Statement 12 (‘Creating strong, safe and prosperous communities through
Local Spatial Planning’) sets out that to be ‘sound’ a core strategy should be justified, effective
and consistent with national policy. Paragraph 4.50 of PPS 12 sets out that an Inspector is
charged with checking that the plan has complied with legislation, which will include checking
that the plan conforms generally to the London Plan.
The Mayor’s role
5. All development plan documents must be in general conformity with the London Plan,
in accordance with Section 24(1)(b) of the Act. It is also a statutory requirement for local
planning authorities to request the Mayor’s opinion on general conformity at the same time as
it publishes the document prior to submitting it to the Secretary of State. Regulation 27
requires consultation at the pre-submission stage. The Mayor issues this opinion on DPD
general conformity in accordance with Section 24(5) of the Act.
6. Mayor of London’s comments will be made available on the GLA website
7. The Mayor made representations on the proposals consultation stage of the plan
preparation process on (20 January 2010), (planning report PDU/DF21/LDD03/CMD02),
and representations were made by officers under delegated authority to the (Issues and
Options) consultation stage on (12 June 2009).
8. The Kingston Local Development Framework will replace the adopted 2005 (Kingston
Council) Unitary Development Plan. It will set the Council’s approach to the planning of the
borough up to 2027 and will consist of the Core Strategy, Proposals Map, Development
Management Policies and Kingston Town Centre Area Action Plan and a number of
supplementary planning documents.
9. The following issues raise strategic concern and issues of conformity: transport, waste, and
housing: further discussions are required in respect of tall buildings.
10. While transport has generally been dealt with in a positive manner in the strategy, there
remain a few issues where the inclusion of additional information would be beneficial, as outlined
in Appendix One. In particular, further information should be provided within the Sustainable
Transport SPD whilst improvements to bus routes should be funded through S106 agreements by
the developer. Also, the proposed Airtrack scheme is not being funded by TfL and the strategy
needs to reflect this.
11. Policy 7.25 of the draft replacement London Plan in relation to the River Thames requires
LDFs to identify locations that are suitable for passenger, tourist, or cruise liner facilities. Whilst
cruise liner facilities are not relevant to this part of London, passenger and tourist locations will
need to be identified in order to facilitate greater use of the Thames for transport, thereby
reducing demand for other forms of surface transport.
Design and heritage
12. Whilst being quite specific, the design policies are generally acceptable with suggestions
being made in relation to wording to align with PPS5 and the draft replacement London Plan.
However, Policy 7.7 of the draft replacement London Plan requires boroughs to identify areas
where tall buildings may be appropriate; paragraph 7.68 of the core strategy identifies that
guidance for tall buildings and key views will be produced as an SPD based on a detailed urban
design analysis which is welcomed. However it would be beneficial if the design policies of the
core strategy could identify the key criteria against which tall buildings would be assessed in
terms of both their location and design quality as this would form a sound basis from which to
derive the SPD.
13. London Plan policies 4A.21 to 4A.29 set out strategic policy requirements regarding
waste. Policies 5.16 to 5.19 of the draft replacement London Plan set out the emerging waste
14. The Council has stated that it will prepare a Joint Waste DPD with the adjoining
boroughs of Merton, Sutton, and Croydon. In the absence of this, the Council will need to set out
its criteria for determining planning applications whilst waste development plan documents are
prepared. In addition, the strategy needs to refer to allocated apportionment and safeguarding of
sites. As such this DPD is not in general conformity with the London Plan.
15. The adopted London Plan sets a target of 3,850 additional homes for the period 2007/8 to
2016/17. This works out as an annual monitoring target of 385 homes.
16. The draft replacement London Plan 2009 sets a target for Kingston Upon Thames of 3,750
dwellings for the period 2011 - 2021 with an annual monitoring target of 375 homes.
17. The Core Strategy seeks to meet and exceed the targets set out in the London Plan which
18. The Council has set a policy target delivering 2,000 affordable housing units over the plan
period. This is to be achieved by expecting developments of 5 or more units to provide the
maximum reasonable amount of affordable housing. On sites of 10 or more units, 50% are to be
provided as affordable housing whilst sites of 5-10 units are subject to a sliding scale of affordable
unit delivery. The need for borough’s to have flexibility in setting an affordable housing
threshold trigger is recognised and the 5 and 10 unit thresholds are supported given Kingston’s
19. Whilst design policy DM 10 makes reference to the prevailing density of the area when
considering new developments, there is no reference to density in relation to housing delivery or,
specifically, the density matrix from the draft replacement London Plan. In order to ensure
appropriate development is delivered, reference should be made to density guidelines having
regard to local context, public transport levels, and the density matrix. The strategy is not in
general conformity with the London Plan in this regard.
20. The Council is also asked to provide a degree in flexibility regarding houses of multiple
occupation and garden land development. In addition, in light of recent changes announced by
the government, greater flexibility is needed in the wording of affordable housing definitions.
Whilst having regard to this, the tenure ratio for affordable housing should be 60:40 to ensure
general conformity with the draft replacement London Plan.
Economy and employment
21. There is general support for the policies in relation to employment and town centre uses
and developments although further information and justification is sought on the loss of local
22. All local development documents must be in general conformity with the London
Plan in accordance with Section 24(1)(b) of the Act. This is a key test of the soundness of
plans. The Mayor’s representations made at this stage will go forward to the examination
in public and must include an opinion regarding general conformity with the London Plan.
The test of general conformity is set out in Circular 1/2008 and states that LDDs should not
be adopted unless they properly reflect the policies in the Spatial Development Strategy.
The Circular states: “The test is of general conformity and not conformity. In practice, this means
that it is only where an inconsistency or omission in a development plan document would cause
significant harm to the implementation of the spatial development strategy, that it should be considered
to not be in general conformity.
23. The Mayor’s General Conformity Guidance Note (July 2006) confirms that the principle
of general conformity applies to all policy areas of the London Plan and can apply to a single
policy issue. The Guidance Note also confirms that the Mayor will make other comments on
development plan documents to clarify and enhance policy implementation.
24. The fact that a development plan document is inconsistent with one or more policies in the
spatial development strategy, either directly or through the omission of a policy or proposal, does
not, by itself, mean that the document is not in general conformity. Rather, the test is how
significant the inconsistency is from the point of view of delivery of the spatial development
25. Any expression of opinion from the Mayor that the development plan document is not in
general conformity will be treated as a representation to be dealt with by the Inspector at the
examination. The Planning Inspectorate has stated that the view of the Mayor’s opinion “will be
given considerable weight”1 and that a lack of general conformity with the London Plan will need to
be fully justified on the basis of local circumstances, based on relevant evidence.
26. GOL Circular 1/2008 (Strategic Planning in London) confirms that the Mayor’s opinion
on general conformity will be the starting point for consideration of a DPD by an Inspector to
ensure the Mayor’s policies are fully considered when draft DPDs are examined. Paragraph 4.5
states that “The Inspector will be expected to recommend changes to the DPD in accordance with
the Mayor’s opinion unless there are sound planning reasons for not doing so.”
27. Under the new development plan system the Inspector’s recommendations are binding on
the local planning authority, and there is no subsequent modifications stage. Accordingly, the
1 Development Plans Examination – A Guide to the Process of Assessing the Soundness of Development Plan
Documents (The Planning Inspectorate, 2005), paragraph 1.2.6
Mayor should set out which policies are not in general conformity with the spatial development
28. The Mayor must also state why the policy is not in general conformity and his reasoning
behind that opinion. The Inspector will determine whether he or she supports the opinion and
recommend accordingly. The Mayor should provide the Inspector conducting the examination
with any necessary additional information as appropriate, either through a representative or in
writing according to the requirements of the Inspector. The examination in the present case is
due to be held in September 2011.
The Kingston Core Strategy is considered to be not in general conformity with the London
Plan for the reasons highlighted above. However, measures taken by the Council could result
in the strategy being in general conformity and the GLA would welcome further discussion on
the outstanding matters.
For further information, contact the Planning Decisions Unit
Colin Wilson, Senior Manager – Planning Decisions
020 7983 4783 email email@example.com
Christine McGoldrick, Strategic Planning Manager (Development Plans)
020 7983 4309 email firstname.lastname@example.org
Gordon Adams, case officer
020 7983 4520 email email@example.com