- The Local Plan and the Spatial Strategy
- Planning policies to guide development
- Sites for development
- Chapter 1: A Spatial Strategy for Watford
- Chapter 2: Core Development Area
- Chapter 3: Homes for a Growing Community
- Chapter 4: A Strong Economy
- Chapter 5: A Vibrant Town
- Chapter 6: An Attractive Town
- Chapter 7: The Historic Environment
- Chapter 8: A Climate Emergency
- Chapter 9: Conserving and Enhancing the Environment
- Chapter 10: Infrastructure
- Chapter 11: A Sustainable Travel Town
- Chapter 12: A Healthy Community
- Chapter 13: Site Allocations and New Development
Watford Final Draft Local Plan 2018-2036
Chapter 10: Infrastructure
10.1 The provision of sufficient and appropriate infrastructure is required to support the growth and change set out in the Local Plan, in line with the sustainable development objectives in the National Planning Policy Framework.
10.2 Infrastructure is provided by public and private bodies and includes:
- Social infrastructure: schools, healthcare, community facilities, leisure and cultural centres, places of worship and emergency services.
- Physical infrastructure: roads, footpaths, cycle-ways, water provision and treatment, sewerage, flood prevention and drainage, waste disposal, electricity, gas and electronic communications networks.
- Green Infrastructure: open spaces, recreation facilities, trees, green corridors, wildlife corridors and landscape features.
10.3 Details of these requirements are set out in Watford's Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP). The IDP considers the infrastructure improvements that are needed to support the planned increase in new homes, businesses and other facilities arising from the population and job growth in the borough. It identifies essential infrastructure and prioritises projects according to their importance in delivering the growth strategy.
10.4 The Watford Infrastructure Delivery Plan considers the infrastructure improvements that are needed to support the planned increase in new homes, businesses and other facilities arising from the population and job growth in the borough. The Council will seek to protect existing community facilities in line with Policy HC12.3 'Built and Community Facilities'.
10.5 Developers will be expected to engage early with the Council and appropriate infrastructure service providers to discuss relevant requirements. Some will be specific to a particular site, whilst some will relate to the wider area. It is important that each development provides a fair contribution towards both site-specific and area-wide infrastructure. Alongside this, the cumulative impacts arising from the development across the area will need to be coordinated and adequately mitigated. Where necessary, the use of compulsory purchase powers to assist in the timely delivery of infrastructure will be considered.
10.6 Significant infrastructure items such as, but not limited to, schools, community centres, public realm, or, public transport provision, and will often require different landowners or stakeholders to work together to secure timely and efficient delivery. Infrastructure should be delivered in a way and at a time that does not compromise development coming forward on connected sites.
Strategy Policy IN10.1: Integrated Infrastructure Delivery
Proposals should demonstrate a comprehensive integrated and future-proofed approach to the delivery of development and infrastructure that mitigates the cumulative impact of development, and:
- Contributes appropriately and proportionately towards required infrastructure identified in Watford's Infrastructure Delivery Plan, at a rate and scale sufficient to support the growth identified in this Local Plan;
- Where applicable, connects to area-wide infrastructure and enables future connections;
- Safeguards land to deliver area-wide or site-specific infrastructure, as identified in the Watford's Infrastructure Delivery Plan, Site Allocations and / or other policies in the Local Plan;
- Where development is dependent upon, or creates a specific need for, new or improved infrastructure; this will be delivered on site;
- Is appropriately designed so that it complements and does not unduly restrict development on adjacent or connected sites.
Developers will be expected to engage early with the Council and infrastructure service providers to discuss their requirements.
Developer contributions will be sought where needs arise, in line with the policy requirements of this plan; where provision is made on site, this will be considered in the context of other developer contributions.
Providing infrastructure to support new development
Figure 10.1: Types of infrastructure
10.7 Infrastructure should be well integrated alongside new development with the phasing agreed, alongside providers, as part of a planning application. Wherever possible, especially on larger developments, infrastructure should be provided on-site creating sustainable neighbourhoods.
10.8 The Infrastructure Delivery Plan highlights the need for new schools, healthcare and sustainable transport to support Watford's population growth over the plan period. As infrastructure is provided by various agencies, the onus is on developers to ensure there is capacity to meet requirements arising from a proposed development.
10.9 Applicants will need to demonstrate collaborative working with other landowners and the Clinical Commissioning Group to identify how additional health facilities can be delivered. The scale and range of service provision will need to be appropriate to the level of demand generated by developments. Contributions towards new or enhanced healthcare facilities will be sought to ensure the health care requirements arising from new development are met.
10.10 As the Borough's population grows, demand for school places will continue to increase, placing pressure on existing facilities. It is therefore vital that where housing growth results in increased demand, investment is made across each education tier, as necessary, to ensure there are enough places to serve the Borough's pupils within their community.
10.11 For sites larger than 1,000 dwellings, education provision will be required on site. For sites that are located in close proximity to each other and will have a cumulative impact that will generate demand for a new school, applicants are encouraged to work collaboratively with other landowners and Hertfordshire County Council to best meet this need, identifying where a new primary school can be provided that provides good amenity for young children. Education opportunities should be maximised on any site given the high demand and limited suitable sites for school provision.
10.12 Applicants will need to demonstrate collaborative working with other landowners, Watford Borough Council and Hertfordshire County Council, as well as other providers to deliver transport infrastructure improvements to support development, in line with Chapter 11 'A Sustainable Transport Town'. This will include delivery of onsite infrastructure as well as contributing towards projects identified in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan, Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan and Watford's Sustainable Transport Strategy.
Metropolitan Line Extension
10.13 The Metropolitan Line extension, commonly known as MLX, was a proposal to extend the existing line to Watford Junction, creating two new stations including one in Vicarage Road. It was a project costing more than £300 million, with funding secured from the government, Hertfordshire County Council, Watford Borough Council, and Transport for London (TfL). However, the financial contributions from Transport for London were withdrawn in 2018.
10.14 Watford Borough Council continues to support the Metropolitan Line Extension, or a comparable alternative, and considers that the route along the disused former Croxley Rail Line provides a potential future route for Mass Rapid Transit, as well as an opportunity for a walking and cycling link. As such, the route and access to it should be safeguarded to maintain the possibility of its use by these modes; details of the land to be preserved are set out within the Watford Mass Rapid Transport Safeguarding Technical Report and reflected on the Policies Map.
10.15 Communication technology is an integral part of modern society. It is important to work with developers and providers to ensure that schemes are well designed and have sufficient capacity to meet the anticipated demand and embrace technological change to continue to be socially connected and economically competitive.
10.16 For a scheme to be successful and be able to adapt to future technological changes, developers are expected to engage with utility providers early in design process. This enables all stakeholders to understand as early as possible if, and where, there may be a need for additional capacity in the network. It provides opportunities for development to be designed in such a way as to support the provision of utilities.
10.17 Future-proofed, high quality digital infrastructure is considered vital to support well-functioning employment areas. The National Planning Policy Framework requires planning policies to set out how high quality digital infrastructure is expected to be delivered.
Policy IN10.2: Providing Infrastructure to Support New Development
Planning permission, except for householders, will be granted where it is demonstrated that there is, or will be, sufficient infrastructure capacity to support and meet all the requirements arising from proposed development. Infrastructure provision will reflect the Infrastructure Delivery Plan and its successor documents to; meet the needs arising from development, and mitigate adverse social, economic or environmental impacts arising from development.
Developers must demonstrate they have explored existing infrastructure capacity, and how this could be future-proofed, with appropriate providers and demonstrate that they have made sufficient provision. Where appropriate, and where there is an identified shortfall across the borough, opportunities should be taken to maximise infrastructure provision on suitable sites.
Proposals for employment uses should demonstrate that provision is made for high quality digital facilities as part of the application.
10.18 The Local Plan will deliver new homes and jobs to meet Watford's identified need. To support this, significant supporting infrastructure will be required to be delivered at the right time to meet the Council's aspirations for sustainability, affordable housing delivery, health and well-being and placemaking. To ensure that the burden of providing the additional infrastructure needed does not fall on existing communities, planning authorities are able to seek appropriate funding for this infrastructure from developers.
10.19 Housing and employment density, site constraints, affordable housing, ambitious sustainability standards, infrastructure delivery and other planning obligations all have associated costs. There will be a need to consider the ability of each site to contribute its fair share towards infrastructure, affordable housing and sustainability standards, whilst ensuring new development is viable and that the market is appropriately incentivised to deliver. Site constraints may include exceptional or abnormal costs relating to contamination or poor ground conditions for example. The presence of such issues will be expected to impact on land values, rather than through a reduction in planning obligations or sustainability standards. In taking a balanced approach, development will need to deliver on the principles of sustainable development as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.
10.20 Watford's Infrastructure Delivery Plan identifies and prioritises the key infrastructure required to support the growth outlined in this plan. It is an important supporting document that is regularly updated to react to the infrastructure delivery requirements and challenges associated with delivering the Local Plan.
10.21 A substantial amount of the infrastructure required to deliver sustainable development, including (but not limited to) enabling works, public realm and open space improvements, and street greening, will be sought on site and it is expected that developers will directly fund these.
10.22 The Council will primarily use Section 106 Agreements and Community Infrastructure Levy payments to secure appropriate contributions from developments for affordable housing and items of infrastructure, or financial contributions towards their delivery, such as new schools and transport network improvements. Non-financial contributions may include employment and training opportunities.
10.23 The Council's Infrastructure Funding Statement provides a summary of all financial and non-financial Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy planning obligation receipts and projects.
Policy IN10.3: Development Contributions
There will be a need to balance the priorities for infrastructure delivery with those for affordable housing, other non-infrastructure related planning obligations and sustainability standards.
The council will secure the infrastructure necessary to support the growth outlined in this plan, ensure sustainable development, meet the needs of development and, where necessary, mitigate the impacts of development by:
- Securing appropriate on-site enabling and development works;
- Charging the Community Infrastructure Levy on developments as required by any charging schedules in operation for the area within which the development is located;
- Securing Section 106 Agreements to provide affordable housing and make provision to mitigate the impacts of the development where necessary, or appropriate, having regard to any relevant supplementary planning documents or guidance;
- Securing off-site highway works where necessary;
- Working with relevant service providers to identify and secure infrastructure funding or financing mechanisms.