My Account

Understand more about the Local Plan and what it does, the process and how it addresses key issues.

About the Local Plan

What is the purpose of a Local Plan?

A Local Plan is a key document which will guide development in Richmond over the next 15 years. The Local Plan identifies the amount, type and location of development in the borough. The Local Plan provides the opportunity to set out and address the current and future needs of our borough. This includes housing needs of all types, planning for infrastructure and where this should go, identifying land for employment use and how best to protect our environment.  

Why is it being reviewed?

We need to have an up-to-date Local Plan, so we are able to refuse planning permission for sites that, if developed, could harm some of the borough’s most important spaces. We could also be subject to the government stepping in and writing a Local Plan for us with little say in the process ourselves. We therefore want to be able to make decisions locally and for local people to have full involvement in the process to provide a plan which delivers homes and employment areas that we need in the most suitable places. 

I wasn’t consulted before, how has this been prepared?

The plan has been through several rounds of consultation. Between March and April 2020, we held our Starting the Local Plan Review: Direction of Travel Engagement, with residents, stakeholders and businesses to comment on the scope and vision for the new Local Plan. 

In the summer and autumn of 2021, we held informal engagement, including a series of community conversations and workshops with schools.

From December 2021 to January 2022, we consulted on the Pre-Publication Draft Local Plan (Regulation 18), inviting feedback from a range of stakeholders – from residents, development professionals, and neighbouring boroughs.

We are now holding our consultation on the Publication Draft Local Plan (Regulation 19) – a third public consultation is held to seek further feedback from residents, businesses and other stakeholders.

Watch the Planning Inspectorate’s video to find out more about local plans and how they are prepared:

Commenting on the plan

We welcome your comments about the plan.

Make a comment

Who can comment?

Anyone can comment. We would like to hear from residents, businesses, those living, working or studying in the borough. 

What should I comment on?

You can support, object or comment on any part of the plan and the accompanying Sustainability Appraisal. Your comments should relate to issues of legal and procedural compliance, the 'soundness' of the plan and the 'Duty to Co-operate' as this is what the Planning Inspectorate will be looking at when they examine the plan, so if you are objecting to the plan you are asked to provide reasons and/or evidence to justify this.

What does Duty to Co-operate mean?

We are required to co-operate on strategic matters with neighbouring boroughs and certain bodies prescribed by government, such as to do with health and housing, when we prepare the Local Plan. These are issues that cross administrative boundaries, so effective and ongoing joint working is integral to the production of a positively prepared and justified strategy.

What evidence is the Local Plan based-on?

Along with feedback from the last round of public consultation, numerous studies and assessments have been undertaken and have fed into the Plan. You can find all the published evidence on the Local Plan evidence page.

I am struggling to submit a comment online, can you help me?

To use our consultation portal you will need to first login/register, and you then should see an ‘Add Comments’ button next to a part of the plan, and the form will appear in the webpage.

If you are struggling, you can email the form to us instead, or send us an email with your comments. We will collate all the representations together for submission to the Planning Inspectorate. 

Do the number of comments you receive make a difference?

No, the consultation is not a vote or a referendum, the consultation is to invite comments on the issues relating to legal and procedural compliance, soundness and Duty to Co-operate. If there are groups or individuals that share a common view, they can make a single presentation representing that view and indicate how many people it is representing and how the representation has been agreed.

Will there be any public consultation events?

There are not any events planned at this stage, as this is the final version of the plan. We did a series of virtual events at the Pre-Publication stage. If you have questions that aren’t addressed here, or feel an event would be useful, please get in contact with us at

What happens after this consultation?

The Draft Local Plan, along with all the feedback received during this round of public consultation is submitted to the secretary of State. An independent inspector will be appointed to assess the Local Plan and hold a public examination. Adjustments that are recommended by the Inspector are made to the Local Plan. The Local Plan then needs to be formally adopted by the Council, replacing the existing Local Plan.

For more information see this short video from the Planning Inspectorate on the Local Plan Examination: 

Who can participate in the Examination?  

You have a legal right to appear before and be heard by the inspector at a hearing if you made a comment on the Publication Local Plan and your comment asked for a change to be made to the plan. The Inspector identifies the matters and issues for Examination, and will determine the most appropriate way to hear those who have indicated that wish to participate in hearing session(s).  

Why do I have to give my personal details?

We cannot accept anonymous comments or anything marked as private or confidential. Comments will be attributed to individuals and organisations. If you submit comments, the consultation responses and your personal data will be passed to the Planning Inspectorate and a Programme Officer. The Programme Officer manages the procedural and administrative aspects of the examination. The Programme Officer will contact you using the personal information you have provided if you have indicated in the response form your wish to engage in the Examination.

What it means for residents

As a resident, what does the Local Plan mean?

It will shape your local area and influence new development. It is important we have new housing for future generations and more genuinely affordable housing for those that need it, as well as opportunities to work locally and be able to shop and access services. We want to ensure new development protects and enhances local facilities, open spaces, and transport links. 

How will it affect me if I want to build an extension to my house?

Some householder extensions do not require planning permission as they may be what is called ‘permitted development’. Where permission is needed, the Plan contains policies such as on amenity and living conditions (Policy 46) with details around the distances between habitable rooms in residential development, and on biodiversity (Policy 39) which prioritises measures to provide for new habitats or biodiversity features even on small-scale development proposals.  

What will happen in my local area?

Within the plan, the borough has been divided into nine ‘places’, based on categorisation to reflect a ‘sense of place’ as well as identifying areas recognised as ‘places’ by local people as part of the Urban Design Study. The place-based strategies indicate where specific areas for change are identified. While every place in the borough is expected to see some change over the plan period, there are some specific sub-areas identified as the places where growth may be accommodated, as identified in the Local evidence base and through specific Site Allocations.

What about the impacts on infrastructure, like schools and GP surgeries?

We recognise new development is likely to put an additional burden on existing facilities particularly on education and health infrastructure. Policy 49 requires the potential impacts on infrastructure from development proposals for 10 or more residential units to be assessed, to demonstrate that there is sufficient capacity within the existing infrastructure to accommodate the needs arising from the new development. It may be that mitigation measures can be put in place, either through financial contributions or where appropriate securing on-site provision of community facilities.

The 20-minute neighbourhood

Will this restrict my freedom to travel? 

No, the policy encourages land uses that fulfil daily needs at least within a 20-minute journey from home. The policy focuses these uses on the ‘centres’ and ‘important local parades’ identified in the Plan. Most people live within the catchment area of multiple centres, and for them ‘20-minute neighbourhoods’ is already a reality. The policy seeks to protect and enhance the services available while encouraging more walking and cycling.

What about people who can’t walk or cycle?

The policy recognises that not everyone can comfortably walk or cycle and every intervention necessary will be encouraged such as providing more public seating, encouraging the use of electric bikes, as well as retaining, and where appropriate, enhancing, provision of Blue Badge parking. 

What is a 'centre'?

The 'centres' identified in the plan are the nuclei of commercial and community activity within the borough. These are organised in a hierarchy from town centres such as Richmond, local centres such as Barnes, neighbourhood centres such as Castelnau, to important local parades such as Ashburnham Road. The higher up in the hierarchy, the more services a centre will offer. 

Will the policy remove parking spaces?

No, this is beyond the remit of the Local Plan. By encouraging more people to walk or cycle, it is hoped that the need for parking spaces will reduce naturally. The Policy seeks to protect disabled parking spaces from loss, however.

Does the plan introduce quietways/low traffic neighbourhoods?

No, this is beyond the remit of the Local Plan. The adopted Active Travel Strategy supports the introduction of LTNs where there is demand or where traffic is deemed to be dangerous.

Surely it’s unrealistic to expect everything to only be 20-minutes away?

Absolutely, the shops and services available will depend on where the centre sits in the hierarchy. For example, Twickenham will naturally provide more choice than Strawberry Hill, but ideally all centres should fulfil essential needs.

Where can I read more about this in the plan?

Please see Policy 1 – Living Locally and the 20-minute Neighbourhood (Pages 20-24 of the PDF version).

How do I vote on this?

The plan is not subject to a vote. The Environment, Sustainability, Culture and Sports Committee on 24 April 2023 and Full Council on 27 April 2023 approved the plan to move to this consultation stage.

Comments can be submitted now, and these will go on to be considered by the Planning Inspectorate, who will undertake a Public Examination of the Plan, before it can be adopted.

Key issues

How will the Local Plan help to mitigate/adapt to climate change? 

One of the strategic objectives of the Local Plan is responding to the climate emergency and taking action. Policy 3 – tackling the climate emergency provides details the policy requirements for applications.

The Climate Emergency Strategy sets out five priority areas (air, waste, water, nature and energy efficiency). The strategy outlines how we will reduce emissions and the organisation's carbon footprint, including a commitment to become carbon neutral by the year 2030 and zero carbon by the year 2050. This has since been updated by a commitment, with partners across London, to reach net zero carbon by 2043.

The strategy also highlights that we will need to provide community leadership so that residents and businesses are able to get involved in preventing and preparing for climate change. Developers, local businesses and residents bringing forward all types and all sizes of development schemes within the borough as part of planning applications, all have a fundamental role to play in helping to meet this target. Therefore, all new development proposals coming forward within the borough should be zero carbon.

Is there a tension between the climate crisis, and protecting our heritage? 

These are both priorities for the Council and we recognise there can be tension. The plan places emphasis on reuse and conversion of existing buildings to minimise embodied carbon with a presumption in favour of refurbishment set out in Policy 2.

We have prepared a Net Zero Carbon Study to support several policies in the plan which set out ambitious targets for Richmond. There is no one-size-fits all approach or solution to accommodating sustainable energy measures in the historic environment, and this is set out in the supporting text of Policy 4 to recognise this conflict and how it is expected to be addressed on a case by case basis. The need to avoid maladaptation is set out in Policy 29.

How much of a priority is increasing housing supply?

We are set targets to deliver new homes. Housing provision, particularly affordable housing is a big priority. We want to increase delivery of affordable homes. Policy 11 is the key policy on affordable housing, seeking contributions from all new housing development. We are trying to make our expectations clear, and enable us to be robust and challenge viability. 

What does the Local Plan mean for my business?

Two of the strategic objectives of the plan relate to ensuring the business community is supported to grow and continue to contribute to the vibrancy of the Borough. Policies include protecting employment land to ensure we have enough space for local businesses, that is modern, affordable and adaptable to future employment needs, as well as policies that ensure our centres can diversify, providing not just for shopping but also essential shops and services where they can be protected through the planning system. These policies are informed by studies such as the Employment Land and Premises Needs Assessment 2021 (update in 2023) and the Retail and Leisure Needs Study 2021/2023.

By protecting employment land and promoting training opportunities, we are aiming to support local businesses and jobs. If as a business you are looking for new space or to make changes or alterations to existing premises, then policies in the plan may be relevant where permission is needed. For example, the plan seeks high standards of workspace in new development such as flexible floorplates and adequate servicing and loading (Policy 22), and directing new commercial space to our areas designated for business and industrial uses or to the town centres (Policy 21).

Why are you continuing to protect employment land, when there is vacant stock?

We want to provide spaces for local business, including that which is modern, affordable and adaptable. This can be especially important to support small and medium sized enterprises, the voluntary and community sector, and locally significant and diverse sectors, such as scientific research and river-related industries. This is set out in the key employment Policies 21 to 25 in the plan.

We need to protect the stock of employment space so there continue to be opportunities for local work and production of goods and services, in whatever form that may take in the future, thinking over the long-term.

Updated: 12 July 2023

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