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. Local case study: London Borough of Brent Core Development Plan Documents (DPD). Ric Eales Collingwood Environmental Planning. Summary. A brief overview of Brent The Local Development Framework The Strategic Environmental Assessment Some key aspects of the assessment

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Local case study: London Borough of Brent Core Development Plan Documents (DPD)

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Local case study: London Borough of Brent Core Development Plan Documents (DPD)

Ric Eales

Collingwood Environmental Planning


  • A brief overview of Brent

  • The Local Development Framework

  • The Strategic Environmental Assessment

    • Some key aspects of the assessment

    • Lessons learned – do’s and don’ts

Where is Brent?

London Borough of Brent – North West London

Introduction to London Borough of Brent

  • North West London

  • 4325 hectares

  • Population approximately 289,000 (2007)

  • Ethnically diverse – over 120 languages spoken. Officially recognised as the “most ethnically diverse local authority area in the country”

  • South of borough mostly developed between 1890 and 1910 mainly with terraced housing for workers in industry and services, some large estates developed in 1950s and 1960s. North of the borough substantially suburban housing developed in the 1920s and 1930s with the outward expansion of London with rail and underground services

  • Parts of the borough suffer from high levels of social and economic disadvantages

  • Problems include deficiency in open space, industrial areas operating next to areas of residential use and shifting patterns of retail

  • Some 360 hectares of industrial estates – westward expansion of London’s manufacturing in 1930s – early 1940s

View toward Brent and Wembley stadium from central London

Brent is a focus for regeneration, particularly around the new Wembley stadium

Documents which form the Brent Local Development Framework

The Brent Development Plan Document

  • Currently being prepared:

    • Core Strategy Development Plan Documents (DPD)

    • Site Specific Allocations Development Plan Documents (DPD)

  • To Follow:

    • Development Policies Development Plan Documents (DPD)

    • Area Actions Plans (e.g. Wembley)

    • etc

“In 2026, Brent is a dynamic and sustainable area fully integrated into the City. Its diverse communities are healthy and safe, living in a high quality environment and benefiting from a wide range of homes and community facilities. Its commercial centres, with the iconic Wembley at the heart, are easily accessed by residents and visitors alike, providing a good range of shops, leisure facilities and jobs”

Contents of the Core Strategy

Spatial Vision 2026

12 Objectives

  • Plan for 22000 additional homes 2007-2026

  • 5 main growth areas

  • Wembley will deliver most development and housing growth, including 10000 new jobs

  • Various infrastructure requirements (transport, schools, health care, community facilities, open space etc)

  • Policies covering design, protection of open space, biodiversity, address climate change, etc

22 Policies

Key Change Policies

Specific change Policies

Cross-cutting Policies

Monitoring section

The Brent Development Plan Document – Key Diagram

Contents of the Site Specific Allocations

  • The allocations have been drawn up with a number of objectives in mind:

  • To support the Core Strategy in the delivery of change and growth

  • To identify opportunities for particular uses or mixes of uses

  • To facilitate new and/or improved community based facilities and services

  • To demonstrate the advantages of assembly of land parcels to encourage a comprehensive approach

  • To identify and manage the potential impacts of development

  • To establish broad principles of development and appropriate conditions that may be applied

7 Objectives

73 sites

Wembley Growth Area

Alperton Growth Area

Church End Growth Area

South Kilburn Growth Area

Burnt Oak/Colindale Growth Area

Park Royal

Rest of the Borough


Site Specific Allocations

The SEAs of the DPDs

  • SEA of the draft Core Strategy and Site Specific Allocations DPDs undertaken by CEP between February 2005 and May 2009

  • Several iterations / revisions to the DPDs (initially submitted to the government in November 2007, but withdrawn)

Approach to the SEA of the Core Strategy

Use of high level commentaries on the emerging drafts of the vision from an environmental perspective

Spatial Vision 2026

Use of high level commentaries on the emerging drafts of the objectives from an environmental perspective and compatibility analysis between the SEA objectives and the plan objectives

12 Objectives

22 Policies

Assessment of broad alternatives for the spatial strategy and the individual policies / groups of policies using the evidence base and expert judgement presented in assessment matrices

Key Change Policies

Specific change Policies

Cross-cutting Policies

Monitoring section

Inclusion of monitoring of significant environmental effects as part of the annual monitoring of the performance of the plan using key indicators

The SEA approach – key features of the approach

  • Focussing on the key environmental issues / significant effects

  • Use of Geographical Information System (GIS) for the evidence base and to inform the assessment

  • Stakeholder consultation and engagement

  • High level commentaries on environmental strengths and weaknesses

  • Proformas completed by policy authors

  • Assessment matrices and summaries

The SEA approach – key environmental problems / issues (1)


Mixed quality of the built environment and the need for improved architectural design quality

Pressure on biodiversity and habitats and lack of green space, particularly in southern parts of the borough

Critical need to minimise waste arisings and deal with waste locally and in a sustainable manner

Contaminated land and soils present a potentially significant restriction / cost in developing brownfield / derelict sites

Water quality and pollution are key issues for the watercourses running through Brent

Availability of water resources to meet current and future demand

The SEA approach – key environmental problems / issues (2)


Flooding and flood risks particularly in relation to the Welsh Harp Reservoir and River Brent

Quality of and access to open spaces and parks, including open air sport grounds

The need to preserve and enhance built heritage and the historic and archaeological environment against the pressures of redevelopment

Energy use, energy efficiency and renewable energy, and carbon dioxide emissions

Poor air quality along major roads and in the south of Brent

Noise nuisance, both from domestic and industrial sources as well as from noise and vibration from major road routes in the Borough

The SEA approach - use of GIS

The SEA approach - use of GIS

  • GIS and the evidence base was used to understand the current situation and the potential evolution of the environment in the future

  • Informed the assessment of the potential environmental effects with the draft plan

The SEA approach – assessment matrices

  • Example of layout of assessment matrices

Commentary on the effects and mitigation / enhancement

Overall summary of effects and mitigation / enhancement against all the objectives

Headline SEA objectives

Sub-objectives or criteria

Scoring of effects using a 5 point scale

The SEA approach – stakeholder engagement

  • Stakeholder engagement was used throughout the SEA:

    • Helped identify data / evidence and key issues / problems

    • Helped identify alternatives

    • Assisted with the assessment process, including identifying mitigation and enhancement opportunities

The SEA approach – assessment of sites

  • The site assessment compared the sites against various constraint maps and criteria

  • The larger / more sensitive sites were identified and assessed in more detail

  • Requirements / conditions were placed on the sites as a result e.g. the need for further assessment of flood risk, remediation of contaminated land, provision of improved public transport etc

The SEA approach – involving policy authors

  • Standard forms were completed by the planners for both the Core Strategy policies and the Sites Allocations. These were used to:

    • Prompt those responsible for drafting the plans to think about alternatives and the potential environmental strengths and weaknesses as they drafted policy/identified sites

    • Provide a written record of this process to inform the SEA

    • Provide transparency and bring in local knowledge to the assessment

Lessons learnt

  • Things that worked well:

    • SEA had an influence over the evolving Core Strategy policies by producing short reports of recommendations / suggested changes at key stages during the development of the draft plan

    • Involving the policy authors in the SEA by asking them to complete assessment forms as they drafted their policies

    • Use of workshops with key stakeholders provided useful information and an input of local knowledge

Lessons learnt

  • Things that worked less well:

    • The SEA was inefficient due to the considerable delays in the plan-making process

    • Some of the baseline data / evidence collected was not used in the assessment

    • Reporting too long and not very user-friendly as it was considered important top provide a good audit trail

  • Possible solutions:

    • Difficult to anticipate, partly due to the council having to follow a new planning system

    • Better scoping of key effects and focussing evidence on these topics

    • Ensure robust but shorter and accessible summaries of the assessment are produced

Source of further details

  • http://www.brent.gov.uk/tps.nsf/Pages/LBB-22

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