Examination in Public

Before it was adopted, Richmond’s Local Plan was subject to an independent Examination in Public by a Planning Inspector to assess whether it was 'sound'.

There have been two legal challenges made regarding the adoption of the Local Plan. The second Planning Inspector's Report (pdf, 168 KB) was published on Wednesday 12 February 2020.

The Council adopted the two matters related to the legal challenges within the Local Plan on 3 March 2020.

Planning Inspector

In 2017 the Secretary of State appointed Inspector Andrew Seaman BA (Hons) MA MRTPI from the Planning Inspectorate to carry out an independent Examination of the Richmond Local Plan. He considered whether or not the Local Plan was ‘sound’, based on the criteria set out in paragraph 182 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

A Local Plan is considered ‘sound’ if an Inspector concludes that it is:

  • Positively prepared, meaning that the plan is prepared based on a strategy which seeks to meet objectively assessed development and infrastructure requirements. This includes unmet requirements from neighbouring authorities where it is reasonable to do so and consistent with achieving sustainable development
  • Justified, meaning that the plan should be the most appropriate strategy, when considered against the reasonable alternatives, based on proportionate evidence
  • Effective, meaning that the plan should be deliverable over its period (in this case 15 years) and based on effective joint working on cross-boundary strategic priorities
  • Consistent with national policy, meaning that the plan should enable the delivery of sustainable development in accordance with the policies in the Framework.
    livery of sustainable development in accordance with the policies in the Framework.

The Inspector also considered whether the Local Plan had been prepared in accordance with the Duty to Cooperate, and whether it meets the requisite legal and procedural requirements.

In order to do so, the Inspector assessed the Local Plan, the evidence base on which it was created, as well as all of the representations submitted during the consultation phases.

2017 examination hearings

The hearing sessions for the Examination of the Local Plan began on Tuesday 26 September and concluded on Thursday 12 October 2017. The purpose of the hearings is for the Planning Inspector to examine matters relating to the ‘soundness’ of the plan in more detail. These matters are identified in the main issues and questions (pdf, 176 KB) paper prepared by the Planning Inspector.

The hearings were held at York House, Richmond Road, Twickenham, TW1 3AA.

Timetable

Week 1
Date Session (start time) Main issues
Tuesday 26 September Morning (10am) Spatial Vision and Strategic Objectives (to incorporate legal compliance) (pdf, 93 KB)
Tuesday 26 September Afternoon (2pm) Community Facilities (pdf, 90 KB)
Wednesday 27 September Full day (9.30am) Housing (pdf, 105 KB)
Thursday 28 September Morning (9.30am) Site Allocations (SA 1-17) (pdf, 86 KB)
Week 2
Date Session (start time) Main issues
Monday 9 October Full day (9.30am) Character and Design, Green Infrastructure, Climate Change (pdf, 97 KB)
Tuesday 10 October No hearing scheduled  
Wednesday 11 October Morning (9.30am) Borough Centres and Employment/Economy (pdf, 90 KB)
Wednesday 11 October Afternoon (2pm) Transport, Implementation and Monitoring (pdf, 93 KB)
Thursday 12 October Full day (9.30am) Site Allocations (SA 18-28) (pdf, 88 KB)


The Planning Inspector has prepared a guidance note (pdf, 113 KB)
to explain the procedural and administrative matters relating to the examination process, which includes more information about the format of the hearings. Please also see guidance produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government for frequently asked questions and more general information about the examination process (GOV.UK).

Proposed Main Modifications to the Plan

Following the hearings, the Inspector proposed a number of changes to the Local Plan (Publication version), known as ‘Main Modifications’, which he considers are necessary to make the Plan ‘sound’ and/or legally compliant. The proposed Main Modifications have been subject to a Sustainability Appraisal by the Council and an Addendum report to the Sustainability Appraisal has been produced.

The proposed Main Modifications were subject to a public consultation, which ran from 22 December 2017 until 2 February 2018. This consultation was on the proposed Main Modifications only and not on matters relating to other aspects of the Plan, which have already been considered by the Inspector during the Examination process and/or hearing sessions. Before issuing his final report, the Inspector will consider all relevant responses, and may make amendments to the detailed wording of the Main Modifications and/or add consequential modifications where he considers this necessary.

Other comments received not relating to Proposed Main Modifications (pdf, 35 KB) were also provided to the Inspector in a separate schedule for information only.

Available for information only:

  • Additional Modifications (pdf, 416 KB) - these are minor changes put forward by the Council during the Examination. They have been published for completeness and are not before the Inspector. 

Examination documents

We have created an index of examination documents. It contains links to the:

  • Correspondence with the Inspector
  • Examination statements from the Council and other parties
  • Evidence supporting the Local Plan

2018 Inspector's Report

The Planning Inspector, Andrew Seaman BA (Hons) MA MRTPI, has reported on the Examination into the Local Plan. He has recommended a number of final Main Modifications to be made in order to make the Local Plan sound. These are attached to his report as an appendix.

Hard copies of the Inspector's Report are also available at local libraries.

With respect to 'SA 17 - St. Michael's Convent, Ham Common', the Inspector recommended a revision to the OSNI boundary (see paragraphs 137 to 145 of the report, and MM23 in the appendix). The Council sought clarification from the Inspector who confirmed the revised OSNI boundary should include land north of the footpath that horizontally traverses the site. The Council has produced the revised map extract to accompany the Inspector's Report and MM23.

With respect to paragraph 72 on Green Infrastructure, the Council have checked with the Inspector who confirms that the reference relates to Green Belt land at Hampton including that area of land proximate to Sunnyside reservoir that was subject to submissions and discussion at the Examination hearings.

This examination is now closed.

Adoption

The Local Plan was adopted by the Council on 3 July 2018. The adopted Local Plan incorporates all of the Main Modifications recommended by the Inspector alongside the Additional Modifications made by the Council.

Please note that on 3 March 2020 the Council adopted the two issues related to the legal challenges only within the Local Plan (see below for more information).

Hard copies of these documents are also available to view at the Civic Centre, 44 York Street, Twickenham, TW1 3BZ and in the Borough’s main libraries.

The Council’s Policies Map (formerly called the Proposals Map) will be updated in 2020 to reflect the adopted Local Plan including in relation to the legal challenges (see below for more information). This will include key changes to the following:

  • Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) at Harrodian School, Barnes
  • Other Open Land of Townscape Importance (OOLTI) at St Michael’s Convent, Ham Common
  • Other Sites of Nature Importance (OSNI) at various locations across the borough.

In addition, the Key Office Areas and Site Allocations will be added to the Policies Map as set out in Policy LP 41 and Chapter 12, respectively.

Legal challenges to the adoption of the Plan

There have been two applications to the High Court for a statutory review (under s.113 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004) in respect of the adoption of the Local Plan.

One is in relation to the proposed Other Open Land of Townscape Importance (OOLTI) boundary at St Michael's Convent (part of site allocation SA17), which was brought by the owner of the site, Beechcroft Developments Limited. A Court Order (pdf, 891 KB) was issued on 20 December 2018, which required the Council to undertake further consultation: please see the section below for more details.

The other is in relation to the proposed Local Green Space (LGS) designation at Udney Park Playing Fields, brought by Mark Jopling (a member of the Friends of Udney Park Playing Fields). A Court Judgement (pdf, 457 KB) was issued on 8 February 2019, which determined that Mr Jopling’s challenge was successful. The related Court Order (pdf, 99 KB) required the Council to undertake further consultation; please see the section below for more details.

All the information was passed to the Planning Inspectorate. The Secretary of State appointed in 2019 Inspector Paul Griffiths BSc (Hons) BArch IHBC from the Planning Inspectorate to examine both matters.

Further background information is also provided in the general Update on legal challenges (pdf, 12 KB) document (as at 3 July 2019).

Update on 16 September 2019

The Council received an update by the Inspector on 12 September 2019 to state that he has now completed his review of the many representations received by the Council, and is content that he can deal with the matters at issue without the need for hearings. On that basis he will shortly be proceeding with his report, with a view to issuing it to the Council for fact checking in early to mid-November 2019. Acknowledgement emails and letters have been sent to all respondents in late September, including an update from the Programme Officer (pdf, 46 KB).

Update on 21 January 2020

The process of quality assurance, fact check and delivery of final report is underway. This web page will be updated once the Council can advise on the expected publication of the Inspector’s Report.

Work to publish the final version of the Plan and the corresponding updates to the Policies Map will be undertaken once legal proceedings have concluded, however it is only the above designations/sites which are affected.

Update on 7 February 2020

The Redetermination Report of the second Planning Inspector, Inspector Paul Griffiths BSc (Hons) BArch IHBC, was published here on Wednesday 12 February at 3pm.

Update on 12 February 2020

Mr Paul Griffiths BSc (Hons) BArch IHBC, a Planning Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State to reconsider the above matters in accordance with Orders of the High Court has issued his report.

Hard copies of the Inspector's Report will also be available at local libraries (from Friday 14 February 2020).

This second examination is now closed.  The report on the outcomes of the redetermination and the adoption of the Plan in respect of these two matters only was considered at a meeting of Full Council on Tuesday 3 March 2020. 

Consultation on Proposed Main Modification in respect of the OOLTI boundary at St Michael’s Convent, Ham Common

17 January until 1 March 2019

Following the application to the High Court, a Court Order (pdf, 891 KB) has removed the designation of the southern part of the garden as OOLTI at the St Michael’s Convent site, Ham Common. The Order required the Council to publish this change as a proposed Main Modification and carry out a 6 week consultation, which has now concluded. Full details of the modification, including the schedule of the proposed change and a map of the land subject to the Court Order, are set out in the Local Plan – Consultation on Proposed Main Modification in respect of the OOLTI boundary at St Michael's Convent (pdf, 269 KB)  

We received 34 responses to the consultation. All of these responses (pdf, 213 KB), together with a statement (pdf, 112 KB) prepared by the Council, were sent to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) on 3 May 2019. 

The Planning Inspectorate has appointed Inspector Paul Griffiths BSc (Hons) BArch IHBC to consider whether or not to recommend a Main Modification to the OOLTI designation on the site, having regard to any consultation responses as well as the previous Inspector’s conclusion on this issue. A map of the revised OOLTI boundary following the Court Order (pdf, 378 KB) is available for reference, which shows the OOLTI boundary on the site if the proposed Main Modification is recommended by the Inspector following the public consultation and the Council adopts accordingly.

Consultation on Proposed Main Modification in respect of the Local Green Space (LGS) designation at Udney Park Playing Fields, Teddington

22 February until 5 April 2019

Following the application to the High Court, a Court Order (pdf, 99 KB) has quashed paragraph 5.2.8 in the Local Plan, which relates to the designation of land as Local Green Space (LGS).

The Court Order requires the Council to publish the Inspector’s recommended change to paragraph 5.2.8, as well as the associated addendum to the sustainability appraisal (pdf, 131 KB), as a proposed Main Modification to the submitted Local Plan and carry out a 6 week consultation, which has now been completed. Full details of the modification, including the schedule of the proposed change and an explanation of its effect, are set out in the Local Plan Consultation on Proposed Main Modification in respect of the LGS designation at Udney Park Playing Fields (pdf, 165 KB).

map of the Udney Park Playing Fields site (pdf, 6.3 MB) is available for reference.

We have received 1,857 responses to the consultation, which are recorded in the Council's Schedule of Responses (pdf, 3.4 MB). A number of longer responses, or those which included additional information, have been collated in the Appendices to the Responses (pdf, 32.0 MB) document. The Council has also produced a statement (pdf, 112 KB). All of these documents were sent to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) on 21 June 2019.

Note that two additional responses were added after this date, copies of which have been provided to the Inspector in July 2019, and are reflected in an updated Schedule of Responses (pdf, 5.1 MB), along with an update to the Council’s statement (pdf, 107 KB) to reflect the total of 1,859 responses.

The Planning Inspectorate appointed Inspector Paul Griffiths BSc (Hons) BArch IHBC to consider whether or not to recommend a Main Modification to the LGS designation of Udney Park Playing Fields, having regard to any representations made.

Adoption of Local Plan in respect of the two legal challenges

On 3 March 2020 the Council adopted the two matters that were subject to legal challenges within the Local Plan. Therefore, the adopted Local Plan comprises the Interim version of the Plan (pdf, 5.7MB) adopted July 2018 and, as of 3 March 2020, was updated in respect of the OOLTI boundary at St Michael’s Convent, Ham and the Local Greenspace Designation at Udney Park Playing Fields, Teddington. 

Therefore, the OOLTI boundary will be amended on the accompanying Policies Map and added to the final version of the Local Plan (Site Allocation SA17). Paragraph 5.2.8, relating to Local Green Space, remains as per the Publication Local Plan. The LGS boundary will be added to the Policies Map. A note which explains what comprises the adopted Local Plan (pdf, 563KB), including maps relating to the outcomes of the two legal challenges has been produced.

Any person aggrieved by the adoption of the Local Plan in respect of these two matters only reflecting the second Inspector’s Redetermination Report may make an application to the High Court under Section 113 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (as amended). Any challenge must be made on the grounds that:

  • the document is not within the appropriate power
  • a procedural requirement has not been complied with

Any such application must be made promptly, and in any event, no later than the end of the period of six weeks after the date of this notice. The six-week period commences on 3 March 2020 and concludes on 14 April 2020.

Copies of the Local Plan, together with the Sustainability Appraisal Report Addendum (pdf, 132 KB), the second Inspector’s Redetermination Report and the Adoption Statement (pdf, 77 KB) are available to view at the Civic Centre, 44 York Street, Twickenham, TW1 3BZ, and in the Borough's main libraries.  

Further information

If you would like more information, please contact the Local Plan Team.

Email: localplan@richmond.gov.uk
Telephone: 020 8891 1411

Updated: 17 July 2020