Tackling climate change, economic recovery from the pandemic, new housing and healthy streets are the top priorities in the council’s new local plan.
The local plan is a set of guidelines, which are used to determine planning applications, from house extensions to major infrastructure projects. It contains new planning policies, including to support the borough’s commitment to net-zero carbon by 2050, building more affordable homes and to provide opportunities for people to make more journeys by walking or cycling.
The borough’s policies map is also being updated. This designates sites for development of land for specific uses, including industrial areas, open spaces, cycling and walking routes, and conservation areas.
The local plan is refreshed every ten years. Work on this plan began in 2017 and has included extensive public consultation. At a meeting held on Tuesday 22 June, the Council’s Cabinet recommended that, at their July meeting, Full Council agree to submit the local plan and the policies map to the Secretary of state for Housing, Communities and Local Government for independent examination in the autumn.
Prior to the submission, a six week public consultation will be held between July and September and the feedback from this will be submitted to the secretary of state along with the plan. This will then all be examined, during a public hearing, by an independent planning inspector.
Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and the Climate Emergency, Councillor Martin Whelton, said: “We have had extensive consultation with residents, landowners, developers, businesses and a range of organisations from across the community at every stage of the process. I would encourage as many people as possible to have their say in the public consultation that will be held this summer.
“Having declared a climate emergency in 2019, tackling the causes and effects of climate change is a key part of the local plan, so that we meet the borough’s commitment to net-zero carbon by 2050. As well as setting out the standards that developers will be required to meet, the local plan promotes healthy streets – encouraging residents to make more journeys by walking and cycling.
“As we recover economically from the pandemic, it is also important that local neighbourhoods also have access to the services they need within 20 minutes of their home and this plan takes account of the changing pattern of work.”