Examination in Public

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

There have been two legal challenges made regarding the adoption of the Local Plan.

Planning Inspector

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

The Local Plan will be considered ‘sound’ if the 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 will also consider whether the Local Plan has 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 will assess the Local Plan, the evidence base on which it was created, as well as all of the representations submitted during the consultation phases.

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.


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

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.

The examination is now closed.


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.

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 2019 to reflect the adopted Local Plan and following the conclusion on 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 requires the Council to undertake further consultation, 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).

Further details are provided in the Update on legal challenges (pdf, 12 KB) document (as at 9 January 2019), which will be updated as the legal proceedings progress. 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.

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 requires the Council to publish this change as a proposed Main Modification and carry out a 6 week consultation. 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 (pdf, 269 KB) document.

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 an independent examiner following the public consultation and the Council adopts accordingly.

Copies of the proposed Main Modification consultation document are available at the Civic Centre, 44 York Street, Twickenham, TW1 3BZ and in the Borough’s main libraries.

This consultation is only on this proposed change and not on other aspects of the plan. If you wish to make representations on the above Main Modification only, please send us your response by 5pm on 1 March 2019. You can respond either:

  • By email: localplan@richmond.gov.uk
  • By post to Policy and Design, LB Richmond upon Thames, Civic Centre, 44 York Street, Twickenham, Middlesex TW1 3BZ

Further information

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

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

Updated: 15 January 2019