South Warwickshire Local Plan Update – Impact on Green Belt Development

The South Warwickshire Local Plan (SWLP) is an excellent case study for the current political battleground of whether to develop the green belt or not. Covering both Stratford on Avon and Warwick District Councils, it is a Plan which has its fair share of green belt land and difficult decisions to be made about the scale and location of growth.

Following the recent local elections, Stratford is now controlled by the Liberal Democrats (won from the Conservatives) and Warwick continues to have no single party in overall control but is governed by a Labour and Green coalition. The changes have led to an immediate delay in the next stage of the SWLP.

It was originally hoped that the SWLP would undertake a Preferred Options consultation in the summer, but this will no longer be the case as the Joint Strategic Committee needs to be reformed to reflect the changes in the political administrations in both Councils. Politics aside, the SWLP Team has been working through the significant 700-plus consultation responses on the Plan.

It will be interesting to see how the new Joint Strategic Committee and political administrations deal with SWLP and the thorny issue of Green Belt development. Crucially, Green Belt is currently high on the political agenda and appears to be something of an acid test of the Labour Party’s thinking about new housing in the green belt and the Conservative Party seemingly taking the opposite.

We are going to be watching this with considerable interest on behalf of clients as Local Plan Reviews are the only real opportunity to develop green belt land. While the delay is frustrating, it still leaves the door open for sites to be promoted, so if you would like to understand the situation in more detail please contact Nathan McLoughlin at 0773 6821475 or