The Local Plan explained

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

About the Local Plan

What is the purpose of a Local Plan?

The Local Plan is the main planning document used by the Council to guide development in Wandsworth over the next 15 years, from 2023 to 2038. It informs the outcome of planning applications, setting out where development should take place and the type of development that will take place. The Local Plan provides an opportunity to address the current and futures needs of Wandsworth's residents to ensure that Wandsworth is a great place to live for everyone. These needs are realised through policies which address housing need, identify land for employment and help protect the environment.

What can and can't the Local Plan do?

The Local Plan can:

  • Protect land for employment and industry
  • Safeguard heritage, culture, and the environment
  • Shape how places look and feel

The Local Plan can’t:

  • Decrease rent or lower house prices
  • Resist chain shops
  • Control where people park and drive
  • Change the frequency of waste and recycling collection

Why do we need a new Local Plan?

The Local Plan needs to be reviewed and kept up to date to ensure that the plan is effective and supported by robust evidence. In recent years, there has been a number of changes to national and regional planning policy which need to be reflected in the local plan. This includes addressing the need to plan for increased housing targets. We undertook a full review of the Local Plan to ensure development occurs where it is most needed, to ensure that Wandsworth is a great place to live and work for the plan period. The review allowed local residents to be involved in creating a new Local Plan that meets the current needs of Wandsworth's residents.

How has the Local Plan been prepared?

The new Local Plan replaces the superseded Local Plan and informs planning decisions in the borough. The Local Plan has been developed over the last five years with various stages of public consultation starting in December 2018. The Plan was prepared and reviewed with consideration to consultations on draft documents, then it was subject to public examination by independent Planning Inspectors until it was finally adopted on 19 of July 2023. The Local Plan was informed by a large evidence base and National Planning Policy, which shaped the Plan Policies that address planning issues including the economy, housing and culture.

The Local Plan for residents

How does the Local Plan benefit residents?

The Local Plan influences new development in the borough, shaping existing neighbourhoods and encouraging necessary regeneration. It aims to address key issues in the borough from addressing housing needs and guiding economic development through to protecting biodiversity and heritage. The Local Plan will create a borough that meets the needs of current and future generations, ensuring that there is genuinely affordable housing available for those currently living in and moving into Wandsworth in the future.

The Local Plan benefits residents by shaping a borough that has special character, enhanced connectivity and distinct neighbourhoods – whilst simultaneously achieving high levels of sustainable growth. Employment space is protected to bring more opportunities for all residents working within the borough.

How can I expect my local area to change?

You can expect the Local Plan to influence new development in your area to provide more affordable housing, new employment opportunities and improved access to services. The Local Plan policies focus development within the nine area strategies that were identified to distribute growth, renewal and regeneration across the borough. The Area Strategies include the five town centres of Wandsworth, Clapham Junction, Putney, Tooting and Balham, which are the principle locations for the provision of jobs and community services, alongside the Nine Elms Opportunity Area and Roehampton and Alton Estate Regeneration Area. Wandsworth's Riverside and the Wandle Valley have also been included recognising their strategic importance for development of the borough. The Area Strategies aim to create a sense of place in each identified local area providing detail on how and where change will be guided.

All new development is underpinned by placed-based principles to create cohesive, connected, and healthy communities. For residents, this will improve your ability to make healthy lifestyle choices by providing high-quality pedestrian and cycling routes and by ensuring that day-to-day facilities are accessible.

How will the new Local Plan affect any household planning applications I want to submit?

The Local Plan contains policies that guide household applications. Chapter 17 Providing Housing contains policies that should be considered during the application process. This includes policies protecting the existing self-contained housing stock and limits the conversion of single dwellings into flats (LP25 and LP26). Household planning applications must also ensure that all residential development meets the housing standards set out in LP27, this includes requirements for private internal space and levels of daylight.

Who has been involved in creating the Local Plan?

The plan has undergone a series of consultations with local residents, stakeholders and seldom heard residents. The initial consultation involved engaging with residents and stakeholders in public consultation on the key planning issues for Wandsworth. This shaped the initial draft with further consultation on the final draft version of the local plan which was then subject to public examination. This included residents, development professionals, key statutory consultees such as the Environment Agency and Historic England, and neighbouring boroughs. The consultation events provided further opportunity for residents and stakeholders to provide feedback which was submitted to the Independent Planning Inspectors.

Key issues 

How does the Local Plan address Climate Change?

The Local Plan has highlighted the need to strategically address climate change to ensure that the growth of the borough is sustainably delivered, whilst supporting sustainable development that minimises or mitigates the effects of climate change. Policies LP10-LP14 Tackling Climate Change, aim to address this challenge to maximise the quality of life for residents and future generations. This policy chapter sets out policies that address key climate issues such as: energy efficiency, zero and low carbon development, renewable energy use, water management, resilience to flooding and mitigating the impact of development on air quality. By 2038, we will have made significant progress towards achieving carbon neutrality and respond to the climate crisis through mitigation and adaptation measures.

How will the Local Plan protect trees and biodiversity in my area?

Policy chapter 21 'Green and Blue Infrastructure and the Natural Environment' aims to continue to protect all green and blue infrastructure in the borough acknowledging the health and wellbeing benefits for the borough’s residents. The Council will protect and enhance priority species and habitats, whilst improving connectivity between protected sites. Development proposals are required under policy LP55 to protect and enhance biodiversity through incorporating habitat creation.

One of the distinctive qualities of Wandsworth is the well-treed landscape, which Policy LP56 aims to protect and enhance. The policy encourages high quality landscape design and ensures that new trees are in included in future development, alongside protecting all existing and veteran trees. Further to this LP56 Part D provides further protection from felling by promoting Tree Preservation Orders to protect trees of townscape or amenity value. This extends to trees within Conservation Areas which are protected under the policy (LP56 part C.2).

How does the Local Plan promote and protect town centres post the COVID-19 pandemic?

Policy chapter 19 'Ensuring the vitality, vibrancy and uniqueness of the borough's centres' aims to manage growth and adapt the borough’s town centres to create a resilient network of centres that meet the needs of both residents and visitors. The plan encourages local development opportunities to maintain and enhance the health of the centres through redevelopment, refurbishment or expansion. The Council is monitoring the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health of town centres, adapting the approach as necessary. We acknowledge that flexibility is needed in the planning of centres to assist the road to recovery. Investment in business is essential to create a healthy and resilient network of centres.

How many new houses will be built in the borough?

The Local Plan will provide a minimum of 20,311 new homes over the course of the plan period from 2023 to 2038. A minimum of 1,950 new homes will be built per year up until 2028/29. The housing provision will include large residential developments and development on small sites, which will account for a minimum of 414 new homes per year. Local Plan Policy SDS1 contains details on which locations have capacity for new homes. This includes capacity for new homes in all the nine Area Strategies; on allocated sites outside of the Area Strategy boundaries; and through the intensification of small sites across the borough.

The Plan considers the housing capacity figures for large sites in the borough which are set out in the Greater London Authority's Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment 2017. The housing target ensures that sufficient land is available for other uses, such as employment, education, health, retail and other community facilities. The growth from new homes will contribute to the vitality and viability of the town centres in the borough, whilst maintaining the character and heritage of Wandsworth.

How will the Local Plan shape public places in the borough?

Placemaking is one of the three core planning principles set out in the Spatial Development Strategy (SDS1), which underpins the Local Plan. The Area Strategies will shape places in Wandsworth with the central aim to create cohesive, connected and healthy communities. The placemaking approach will create and enhance attractive, safe and well-connected cycling and walking networks to allow residents to adopt healthy and active lifestyles. The Area Strategies will build on each community’s unique heritage and create local community identities, with distinctive places that meet the aspirations of its residents.

The Local Plan was developed using the following placemaking principles that will help shape places in the borough:

  • Manage traffic and provides good public transport connectivity
  • Provide and values inclusive, accessible and connected open spaces for recreation
  • Promote identity in the townscape and values heritage
  • Ensure good and lasting urban design and architectural practice to create beautiful places and a coherent built form
  • Deliver efficient infrastructure and built resilience (including digital connectivity)
  • Engage with nature to support biodiversity and climate change management through blue/ green infrastructure and sustainable drainage

Are parks and open spaces protected from development?

Wandsworth benefits from a wide variety of parks and open spaces, which provide a multitude of benefits for residents and the environment. Policy LP53 ensures the protection and enhancement of the natural environment and open spaces in the borough. All existing public and private green and blue infrastructure are protected under this policy including Metropolitan Open Land, major commons, wetlands, rivers, ponds, parks, allotments, trees, playing fields and smaller spaces, including play spaces. These spaces will be enhanced and made more accessible to create a comprehensive network of green and blue corridors and places. Public and private green and blue infrastructure or open space is protected from development which is on or affecting the space.

The Local Plan addresses the importance of play areas and sports and recreation facilities as natural resources and for encouraging and contributing to healthy lifestyles of Wandsworth’s residents. Policy LP54 ensures that these spaces are protected from development and proposals for new facilities will be supported.