DRAFT of the Neighbourhood Plan (for public consultation)
Areas of Special Local Character (ASLCs)
An Area of Special Local Character (ASLC) is an additional form of local designation designed to capture historically important areas that do not meet the more demanding criteria for the statutory designation of a conservation area. ASLC designation does not impose any additional statutory controls and does not affect Permitted Development Rights. The purpose of designation is to ensure that development is in keeping with the character of the surrounding area and not detrimental to it.
The Sutton Local Plan has borough-wide planning policies that exist to ensure the protection of the character of a designated area. However, the wording of these policies is, by necessity, general and non-specific. There is a danger that because the character is self defining (i.e. it is what exists), it could become diluted by undesirable out of character exceptions to the general character of the area, often as a result of unsympathetic incursions. Unfortunately there are a few examples of this dating from the 1960s and 1970s where the character of the areas had not been appreciated.
The Neighbourhood Forum is encouraging the creation of ASLC specific Character Appraisals to identify and emphasise the particular characteristics of the relevant ASLC that make it "special".
To date, two detailed character appraisals have been prepared and adopted as part of the Evidence Base for the Sutton Local Plan. These are for the Burton Estates ASLC in South Cheam and the Sutton Farm Estate ASLC in South Sutton.
The purpose of these Character Appraisals is to articulate what the specific characteristics of the area are and hence should be afforded protection. As such, it is seen that these could be a blueprint for a family of Character Appraisals for the other ASLCs in the Neighbourhood Plan are (and potentially in the borough), each tailored to capture those elements of the character of the area to which they relate and which they seek to maintain.
These ASLC documents complement the Planning Policies contained in the London Borough of Sutton's Local Plan.