Planning policy evidence based documents

Green Belt (policy documents and guidance)

Green Belt Boundary Technical Review

Following the completion of the Arup Green Belt Review, a Technical Review of the current Green Belt boundaries was undertaken by the Council. This review was undertaken to consider and, where appropriate, make any minor amendments required to make the Green Belt boundary more logical and/or defensible.

The documents below make up the Technical Review of the Runnymede Green Belt. The methodology outlines the process followed to carry out the review. This methodology was first published on the website in February 2015, and it has now been updated by means of an addendum following completion of the review, the completion of other evidence base studies and the publication of the draft Runnymede Local Plan in January 2018.

An overview of the proposed changes to the Green Belt boundary can be found using the map link. This map shows the existing Runnymede Green Belt as originally defined in the 1986 Local Plan and the revised Green Belt as suggested following the review and taking into account the proposed Strategic Allocations identified in the draft Local Plan. These have a bearing on the Technical Review of the Green Belt as they create a further amendment. Areas of proposed change are listed on the accompanying table, where a brief description of the proposed change and the reason for it can be found.

The Mapbook contains proformas showing the proposed changes to the current Green Belt which are not covered by the 'Rules'. The urban area of the Borough where it abuts the Green Belt has been divided into a series of tiles, and each proforma corresponds to a map tile (a map showing the Borough arranged into tiles can be found in the Methodology document). These proformas are map based and cover one tile each.

The proformas are ordered in the Mapbook in tile (not site) order. The tile number can be found on the excel spreadsheet against each site. There are instances where more than one change is covered by a tile, but for simplicity only one change is highlighted and described per tile. If the tile is required to show a second change, the tile has been copied and labelled with an 'a' and used again to show the second change A proposed change may fall across two or more tiles and is therefore shown on the corresponding number of proformas. If this is the case, all tiles are indicated in the table and on the proformas. If an aerial photograph has been used to identify a proposed change and is consequently referred to in the recommendation, this has also been produced in the form of a map tile and accompanies the map based one. If there is not a proforma for a site it can be looked at on the web map, again using the tile number.

The proposed changes to the current Green Belt can be viewed on the Council's interactive map Maps Please click on Environment & Planning/Other Layer and turn on the layers Green Belt Boundary Technical Review 2016 - Proposed Green Belt and Green Belt Boundary Technical Review 2016 - Map Tiles.

Any questions about the Green Belt Review work should be directed to officers in the Council's Policy and Strategy team at planningpolicy@runnymede.gov.uk. Alternatively contact details of officers leading on this work can be found to the right of this page.


Green Belt Villages Review

To complement the Arup review of the Green Belt a further review was undertaken by the Council to consider whether villages lying in the Green Belt should continue to be 'washed over' (included) by the Green Belt or excluded and returned to the settlement.

Paragraph 86 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out how villages within the Green Belt should be treated. It sets out that if it is necessary to prevent development in a village primarily because of the contribution that the open character of a village makes to the openness of the Green Belt then the village should be included in the Green Belt. If however, the character of a village needs to be protected for other reasons, then the village should be excluded.

A Stage 1 review of Green Belt Villages considered which developed areas of Runnymede lying within the Green Belt could be considered as a 'village' and if so, whether they should remain in the Green Belt or be excluded and returned to settlement, based on the tests of open character and openness, as set out in paragraph 86 of the NPPF. The Stage 1 work found  Thorpe was the only developed area within the Runnymede Green Belt that can be defined as a 'village' and after further assessment has been recommended for exclusion from the Green Belt. The Stage 1 report has been updated since its first publication in May 2016 to take account of recent case law, although this has not affected the recommendations/conclusions of the review. The updated version is available to view below.

PDF icon to indicate a PDF file Green Belt Villages Review Stage 1 Update (January 2018)

Stage 2 of the process considered where a new detailed village/Green Belt boundary should be placed around the village of Thorpe in accordance with Green Belt policy as set out in the NPPF. The Stage 2 review has recommended the boundary largely follows the existing extent of saved Policy GB2 of the Local Plan 2001 (which can be viewed on the Maps but has recommended options for where this boundary could be altered). The recommended options were included within the Local Plan Issues, Options and Preferred Approaches document that was the subject of public consultation for 7 weeks from July-August 2016. The Stage 2 report has also been updated to take account of recent case law and again this has not affected the recommendations/conclusions of the review. The updated report and its appendix can be viewed below as well as a map of the proposed settlement boundary.

PDF icon to indicate a PDF file Green Belt Villages Review Stage 2 Update (January 2018)

PDF icon to indicate a PDF file Green Belt Villages Review Stage 2 Update Appendix 1 (January 2018)

PDF icon to indicate a PDF file Green Belt Villages Review Stage 2 Update - Thorpe Settlement Boundary Review Map (January 2018)

Any questions about the Green Belt Villages Review Work should be directed to officers in the Council's Policy and Strategy team at planningpolicy@runnymede.gov.uk


Green Belt review

As part of the evidence base for the Local Plan, the council appointed Arup to review Green Belt boundaries in Runnymede. Two phases of review work have been undertaken; the first was a strategic level review in 2014, followed by a more finely grained assessment of land within defined buffers of the borough's urban settlements in 2017.

Green Belt Review part two (March 2017)

A number of the detailed representations received during the 2016 issues, options and preferred approaches consultation related to the matter of the Green Belt Review (GBR) completed in 2014 by consultants on behalf of the council.

Following this the council carried out further work in respect of the Green Belt.

Accordingly, an additional more finely grained assessment has been completed, the results of which will, alongside the conclusions of the council's amended Site Selection Methodology and Assessment (SSMA), inform the council's additional round of public consultation on the Local Plan, which is due to start on 12 May 2017 (Regulation 18).

The GBR part two complements and seeks to elaborate on the original 2014 version. The review considered only a relatively small part of the Green Belt in Runnymede, focusing on land within a specific buffer around the borough's settlements.

In the majority of settlements, the zone extends 400 metres from the existing settlement boundary into the Green Belt; for the smaller settlements of Englefield Green, Ottershaw and Thorpe, the zone extends 250 metres.

The assessment of these smaller parcels of land within the defined buffers should ensure that no sites which perform poorly against Green Belt purposes - with consequent potential for consideration for removal from the Green Belt - have been omitted on account of the large scale of the parcels that were considered under the original 2014 GBR work.

It should be noted that where a site is shown in the GBR part two as a 'recommended area', which the council could consider for removal from the Green Belt, it should not be interpreted as meaning the site will necessarily be allocated for development in the emerging Runnymede 2035 Local Plan. The GBR part two is only one element of the council's extensive evidence base for the Local Plan. The council is currently considering the conclusions of the GBR part two alongside the sustainability credentials of all the promoted sites, before determining if any sites, additional to those already consulted on through the IOPA consultation, should be allocated through the Local Plan.

 PDF icon to indicate a PDF file Green Belt Review Part Two Report (March 2017)

The GBR part two annex report's can be viewed below

PDF icon to indicate a PDF file Green Belt Review Part Two Report Annex 1A (March 2017)

PDF icon to indicate a PDF file Green Belt Review Part Two Report Annex 1B (March 2017)

PDF icon to indicate a PDF file Green Belt Review Part Two Report Annex 1C (March 2017)

Following the additional sites and options consultation, the council commissioned Arup to consider any detailed comments made on the Green Belt review part two in the representations received. Furthermore, based on the comments made in the representations received, Arup produced an addendum to the Green Belt review part two and a separate advice note to the council relating to the Pyrcroft Road site in Chertsey. Both of these documents can be viewed below.

PDF icon to indicate a PDF file Green Belt Review Part Two Addendum and Additional Assessment (December 2017)

PDF icon to indicate a PDF file Green Belt Review Pyrcroft Road Note (December 2017)

Any questions about the GBR should be directed to officers in the council's policy and strategy team at planningpolicy@runnymede.gov.uk. Alternatively, please contact one of the officers using the details on the right of this page.

Green Belt review part one (December 2014)

In December 2014 Arup completed its independent review of the Green Belt in Runnymede. The review considered whether it still meets its purposes and whether alterations to boundaries could be made. The main report and annexes can be found below.

PDF icon to indicate a PDF file Green Belt Review (December 2014)

PDF icon to indicate a PDF file Green Belt Review Annex 1 (December 2014)

PDF icon to indicate a PDF file Green Belt Review Annex 2 (December 2014)

PDF icon to indicate a PDF file Green Belt Review Annex 3 (December 2014)

PDF icon to indicate a PDF file Green Belt Review Annex 4 (December 2014)

Arup's report contains recommendations Green Belt land the council could look to return to the urban area through the Local Plan.

This would help meet identified development needs that cannot be met in existing urban areas due to insufficient capacity. Arup has split the borough's Green Belt into land parcels and then assessed on the following criteria before arriving at their recommendations:

  • How well each performs against the purposes of the Green Belt as defined in the National Planning Policy Framework
  • Whether it is subject to planning/development constraints

The land parcel (general area) boundaries and resultant land parcels as contained in the review can be seen on Maps (our online interactive mapping service).

Please note that given the early stage the council is at with the preparation of the Runnymede 2035 Local Plan, no decisions have yet been made as to which, if any,  land parcels identified will be removed from the Green Belt.

Officers in the policy and strategy team need to carry out further work to scrutinise the suitability and deliverability of the sites recommended by Arup. Furthermore, other options that could meet development needs in the borough will be considered over the coming months as work on the Local Plan progresses, and will be subject to public consultation before the council's preferred strategy is decided.

Any question about the GBR should be directed to officers in the council's policy and strategy team at planningpolicy@runnymede.gov.uk. Alternatively, please contact one of the officers using the details to the right of this page.