News and Updates

15 September 2023

Spelthorne Borough Council held an Extraordinary Council Meeting on 14 September to consider a report which outlined three options on the future of the Local Plan.  At the start of the meeting, a letter was read out from Rachel Maclean MP, Minister of State for Housing and Planning. The letter, addressed to Cllr Joanne Sexton, Leader of the Council, from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, outlined its concerns that the Council “may withdraw the emerging local plan (‘the plan’) from examination.”  This has resulted in national government intervening in the Local Plan process under section 27 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.  Following this, Councillors voted to

Extend the pause in the Examination timetable until the proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework have been published (expected in the autumn) before determining the next steps and take immediate legal advice to confirm the validity of the minister’s directive” 

Today the Council has written to the Inspector examining the Local Plan to request this further pause. 

Read the letter from Rachel Maclean MP, Minister of State for Housing and Planning. Letter from Rachel Maclean MP 

The agenda for the meeting can be read at Agenda for Council on Thursday, 14 September 2023, 7.00 pm – Spelthorne Borough Council

8 June 2023

Following the Extraordinary Council Meeting on 6 June 2023 where a motion was agreed to pause the remainder of the Local Plan examination hearings, the Chief Executive wrote to the Planning Inspector to put forward this request on behalf of the Council. The Chief Executive’s letter and the response from the Inspector can be found below:

Chief Executive’s letter to the Inspector – 7 June 2023
Inspector’s letter to Chief Executive – 8 June 2023

22 May 2023

On Friday 19 May 2023 a group of Councillors wrote to the Inspector with regard to the possibility of pausing the Local Plan examination which begins tomorrow, 23 May 2023. The correspondence between the Inspector, the relevant Councillors and the Chief Executive on this matter can be found below:

Councillors’ letter to the Inspector
Inspector’s letter to Councillors
Chief Executive’s letter to the Inspector
Chief Executive’s letter to Councillors

11 May 2023 – Publication of Hearing Statements in response to the Inspector’s Matters, Issues and Questions

The Inspector’s Matters, Issues and Questions (MIQs) were published on 6 April 2023. Please see the news item posted below for the link to the MIQs. The Council has been asked by the Inspector to respond to the  questions, and participants in the examination (those who responded to the Regulation 19 consultation) have also been given the opportunity to respond. The response submissions, known as Hearing Statements, were sent to the Inspector via the Programme Officer by the deadline of 5 May 2023. The Hearing Statements are now published to view on the Hearing Sessions page of this website. These are set out in order of Main Matter, with the Council’s response posted first against each matter. The Council has responded to every question but participants could choose which matter they produced a Hearing Statement for.

6 April 2023 – Publication of the Inspector’s Guidance Note, Hearing Programme and Matters Issues and Questions

The Inspector’s Examination Guidance Note, Hearing Programme and Matters Issues and Questions have now been published.

The Examination Guidance Note provides further information on the procedural and administrative arrangements for participants in the Examination, including relevant deadlines and how to contact the Programme Officer.  Please read the Guidance Note carefully.  If you have any questions, please contact the Programme Officer.

Spelthorne Local Plan Examination Guidance Note
Spelthorne Local Plan – Main Matters, Issues and Questions

21 March 2023 – Public hearing dates announced for Spelthorne Borough Council’s Local Plan Examination

Spelthorne Council announces the dates for the public hearings as part of its Local Plan examination, which will commence on 23 May 2023.

The independent Inspector appointed to examine the Spelthorne Local Plan, Jameson Bridgwater PGDipTP MRTPI, has been reading through the Plan, all the evidence that supports it and the representations received from members of the public and other stakeholders. With the examination well underway, Mr Bridgwater is now able to prepare for the public hearing sessions that also form an integral part of examining the Local Plan.

The sessions will be held in person in the Council Chamber, with arrangements in place for virtual participation where required. Those who made representations will have the opportunity to appear at the hearings and speak directly to the Inspector. The Programme Officer will be in touch with those parties in due course. The Inspector will produce a schedule for which topics will be discussed at each hearing sessions, which will be published on the examination website.

The dates for the hearings are as follows, starting at 10am each day:

• Tuesday 23 May 2023 and run until Thursday 25 May 2023

• Tuesday 13 June 2023 and run until Thursday 15 June 2023

• Tuesday 20 June 2023 and run until Thursday 22 June 2023


Spelthorne Borough Council examination website:

Read the representations following the summer consultation at Regulation 20 Representations – Spelthorne Takes Shape (

Regulation 24 Notice:

20 December 2022 – Planning inspector appointed to examine Spelthorne’s new Local Plan

An independent inspector has now been appointed to examine the Spelthorne Local Plan, following submission to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on 25 November 2022. The Plan will guide future development in the Borough over the next 15 years.

This is another positive step forward to progress the Local Plan through to adoption. It has taken over six years to reach this stage and having an out-of-date Local Plan and without a five-year supply of housing has counted against Spelthorne at appeal on developments the Council has refused. There are also other significant benefits the Local Plan will deliver, including family homes with gardens, affordable housing, local infrastructure, sports and recreation enhancements, a new sixth form college and greater protection for our urban open spaces.

The appointed inspector, Jameson Bridgwater PGDipTP, will now contact Spelthorne through the Programme Officer to make arrangements for the examination. The Programme Officer provides the channel of communication between the inspector, the Council and those involved in the examination as the inspector can’t be spoken to directly in order to maintain impartiality.

Tuesday 29 November 2022Spelthorne Borough Council submits Local Plan to Secretary of State

On Friday 25 November, Spelthorne Council submitted its draft Local Plan to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Homes and Communities for independent inspection. The Plan will guide future development in the Borough over the next 15 years, including affordable homes for residents, local infrastructure, a new sixth form college and offer greater protection for our urban open spaces. The Plan positively tackles the impact of climate change in our borough and ensures important biodiversity is protected.

It has taken more than five years to reach this key milestone. During that time, three public consultations totalling 32 weeks were undertaken on the Local Plan, together with further public consultations on the Staines Development Framework.

Submitting the Plan for examination is a crucial step forward and an independent planning inspector will now be appointed by the Planning Inspectorate to consider whether it is ‘sound’ and can be adopted. This means the strategy and policies will be scrutinised in detail to make sure they are justified and effective and comply with statutory requirements. The land allocated as development sites will also be considered by the inspector.

There will be a series of public hearings held in 2023 where the inspector will listen to all the arguments for and against various aspects of the Plan. The inspector will then advise Spelthorne if the Plan is sound, likely with some changes that will require further public consultation, before the Plan is brought back for a decision by councillors on whether the Council should adopt it. If so, the Local Plan can then be used when deciding planning applications.

There is a new website dedicated to the examination process where residents can view the Local Plan and the supporting evidence and documents required for submission . It will be updated in due course to contain further documents needed to stay informed, including officer responses to representations made during consultation, any letters received from the planning inspector, information about what stage is reached and the dates and documents for each hearing session, including links to the Planning Inspectorate videos explaining the examination process.

The hearings will be open to the public and live-streamed online. The inspector will be appointed within the next three weeks and the Council will then provide further details on the hearings, which are likely to take place in spring 2023. The inspector will be notified of those who have requested to appear at the hearings when representations were made during the consultation process.

Last updated on: 18 September 2023