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Supporting Studies (Local Plan evidence base)

Last Modified August 21, 2018

Government guidance requires the policies in Local Plans be based upon sound evidence. Here you can find out about the studies we have undertaken to meet this requirement.

This page contains the following sections:

Evidence base for the New Local Plan

Current Local Plan (2012-2027) evidence base documents

Evidence Base for the New Local Plan

We are currently working on a new Local Plan for the borough, which includes gathering a substantial amount of new and updated evidence. New documents will be added to this section as they become available.

South West Hertfordshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA)

When the Core Strategy was adopted in 2013 we undertook to review housing and employment development needs within three years to help inform future plan-making. The council jointly with Dacorum, Three Rivers and Watford Council's commissioned consultants in 2015 to prepare two interlinked studies, the SHMA (produced by GL Hearn) and the Economic Study (Regeneris, assisted by GL Hearn).

The purpose of the SHMA is to assess future development needs for housing (both market and affordable) across the relevant housing market area (HMA). Based on the evidence, the South West Hertfordshire HMA is defined as covering the four commissioning authorities, plus St Albans District.

The SHMA considers housing need arising over the 2013 to 2036 period, to inform local plans. It considers the need for different types of housing and the housing needs of different groups within local communities.

SHMA documents

South West Herts SHMA Main Report (PDF)

South West Herts SHMA Executive Summary (PDF)

South West Herts SHMA Appendices (PDF)

Workshop Report (PDF) (relates to both the SHMA and Economic Study)

South West Hertfordshire Economic Study

The Economic Study provides comprehensive economic baseline and growth scenarios for South West Hertfordshire. The study identifies the scale and characteristics of employment growth that the functional economic market area (FEMA) might plan for over the 2013-2036 period, and the requirements for employment land and floorspace that this entails. In light of the evidence, the SW Hertfordshire FEMA covers the same area as the HMA defined in the SHMA i.e. the commissioning authorities and St Albans.

The Economic Study provides a high level review of some existing employment areas and potential future sites. It also considers whether there is likely to be sufficient land supply to meet the needs of the South West Hertfordshire economy.

Because it is so important to understand the future need for homes and jobs, the studies have been subject to extensive consultation with technical stakeholders. This has included a workshop, for which a separate report has been published.

The SHMA does not set housing targets, nor does the Economic Study set targets for job growth or floorspace increase. Both studies provide important inputs into the setting of these targets.  However, the actual targets will be set by each local authority in future local plans. When setting these targets, the authorities will take account of the SHMA and Economic Study and a range of other factors.  These factors will include the supply of land for new development, the Green Belt, local infrastructure capacity and environmental constraints. These factors may limit the amount of development which can be accommodated sustainably.

The targets included in local plans may also be affected by the outcome of discussions under the Duty to Co-operate between the commissioning authorities and neighbouring and nearby authorities.

Economic Study documents

South West Herts Economic Study (PDF)

Workshop Report (PDF) (relates to both the SHMA and Economic Study)

Sustainability Appraisal (SA) and Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA)

SA Scoping Report (Sept 2017)

HRA Scoping Report (Sept 2017)

Hertsmere Green Belt Assessment (2016)

Hertsmere Green Belt Assessment Report

Hertsmere Green Belt Assessment Annex Report

Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Study (2017)

Hertsmere Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Study, September 2017


Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (2018)

A level 1 SFRA has been produced. The SFRA comprises the following documents:

SFRA Level 1 Report

Figure 01 Study Area

Figure 02 Topography

Figure 03 Superficial Geology

Figure 04 Bedrock Geology

Figure 05.0 Flooding from Rivers

Figure 05.1 Flooding from Rivers

Figure 05.2 Flooding from Rivers

Figure 05.3 Flooding from Rivers

Figure 05.4 Flooding from Rivers

Figure 06.1 Modelled Fluvial Flood Risk

Figure 06.2 Modelled Fluvial Flood Risk

Figure 06.3 Modelled Fluvial Flood Risk

Figure 06.4 Modelled Fluvial Flood Risk

Figure 07.1 Modelled Climate Change Outlines

Figure 07.2 Modelled 1_1000 year Outlines

Figure 08 Flood Response Measure

Figure 09 Historic Records

Figure 10.0 Flooding from Surface Water

Figure 10.1 Flooding from Surface Water

Figure 10.2 Flooding from Surface Water

Figure 10.3 Flooding from Surface Water

Figure 10.4 Flooding from Surface Water

Figure 11 Susceptibility to Ground Water Flooding

Figure 12 Sewer Flooding

Figure 13 Artificial Sources

Figure 14 SuDS Suitability

Figure 15 Modelled Rivers




Current Local Plan (2012-2027) Evidence Base


Click on a topic to jump to the evidence:






Green Belt


Building standards and design


Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA)

We are responsible for preparing and keeping up to date a HELAA to inform future plan-making in Hertsmere. The HELAA is a technical study that provides an overview of Hertsmere’s housing and economic land supply to meet the borough’s future development needs. It is kept under regular review to keep up to date on where development potential may exist and may contribute towards the creation of sustainable, mixed communities.Prior to the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework in 2012, this document was referred to as the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA).

The HELAA is used to inform our planning policies and choices on specific allocations of land for development. However, it has no policy status in allocating land for development or on the decisions we make on individual planning applications. 

Further Information and copies of documents

SHLAA Main Report (PDF)
SHLAA update 2011 Report (PDF)
HELAA update 2015 Report (PDF)

Hard copies can be inspected at our main offices below.

For further information about the SHLAA and to obtain copies, please email our Planning Policy Team.

Stakeholder Engagement:

SHLAA 2009 Methodology (PDF)

Responses to Methodology (PDF)

Minutes of the Stakeholder Workshop (PDF)

Call for sites advert (PDF)

Schedule of allocated/unallocated sites (PDF)

Site Allocations and Development Management Policies Plan: Background Paper to Table 1

Table 1 lists the components of the housing supply in Hertsmere. The Background Paper provides details of each component and explains that the housing supply is sufficient both to meet and to exceed the housing target in the Core Strategy.

Background Paper to Table 1 (PDF)

Viability Study - Development Economics Study  

recently refurbished housing in Tempsford Avenue, BorehamwoodThe Development Economics Study examines the viability of delivering affordable housing by considering a range of possible different policy options for thresholds and percentages for requiring the provision of affordable housing.

Development Economics Study - Final Report (May 2010) (PDF)

Strategic Housing Market Assessment 2010

The 2010 Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) considered how the local housing markets operate and assesses housing need and demand in the area. The SHMA was produced in conjunction with us, Hertfordshire County Council, Dacorum Borough Council, St Albans City and District Council, Three Rivers District Council, Watford Borough Council and Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, to consider the wider housing market.

Please see the 2016 SHMA at the top of this page.

Housing Needs Survey

We, along with Welwyn Hatfield District Council, jointly commissioned David Couttie Associates to examine the levels of housing demand and supply in each district.

Housing Needs Survey - Executive Summary (November 2005) (PDF)

Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Survey

The Centre of Urban and Regional Studies at the University of Birmingham undertook an assessment of need for gypsy and traveller sites and pitches in 2005. This is a joint project between us, Hertfordshire County Council, Dacorum Borough Council, St Albans City and District Council, Three Rivers District Council and Watford Borough Council.

Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs Study


Hertfordshire / London arc - jobs growth and employment land

Centennial Park ElstreeThis study's purpose is to provide a sub-regional overview of future

requirements for employment land, comprising factories, warehouses and offices, up to 2026. It follows up earlier work on the central Hertfordshire Employment Land Review. Roger Tym & Partners were commissioned to undertake this study in February 2008 by the district and borough councils of the Hertfordshire / London arc, comprising of us and Broxbourne, Dacorum, St Albans, Three Rivers, Watford and Welwyn Hatfield. Together with Brentwood and Epping Forest in Essex, these local authority areas make up the London arc sub-region, as defined in the current Regional Spatial Strategy, the East of England Plan.

Hertfordshire London Arc Jobs Growth and Employment Land Report (March 2009) (PDF)

Appendices (PDF)

Central Hertfordshire - employment land review

We commissioned a joint report with Welwyn Hatfield District Council and St Albans City and District Council to analyse the quantity and quality of employment land in the borough. The work was undertaken by consultants Roger Tym & Partners and was completed in November 2006.

Interim Report (November 2006) (PDF)

Interim Report Executive Summary (November 2006) (PDF)

Update (February 2007) (PDF)

Local significant employment sites

The purpose of the Local Significant Employment Sites study was to recommend sites currently in B, or physically similar Sui Generis, use for allocation as local significant employment sites in our Local Plan.

Explanatory Report (October 2008) (PDF)

Update Report ( September 2010) (PDF)

Employment site allocations report

The aim of this study was principally to assess the boundaries of allocated employment areas and make recommendations in respect of whether they should be altered before the sites are considered for reallocation. It also sought to recommend whether existing safeguarded employment land adjoining Potters Bar should be retained, and whether any additional land should be safeguarded, in addition to discussing alternative options.

Employment Site Allocations Report (PDF)

Appendix 1 (PDF)

Appendix 2 (PDF)

Appendix 3 (PDF)

Appendix 4 (PDF)

Addendum (PDF)


Retail topic paper  

The topic paper set out the existing evidencelocal shops in Darkes Lane, Potters Barbase regarding the retail needs assessments that covers Hertsmere, but have been prepared by authorities that adjoin Hertsmere. This justifies our position regarding the informed decision not to allocate any major retail sites itself and the choice not to undertake an additional full retail needs / capacity assessment.

Retail Topic Paper August 2009 (PDF)

Retail Topic Paper Appendices (PDF)

Town centres and shopping study

This study evaluates the health of the six existing town and district centres and provides guidance to help us in the evaluation and assessment of planning applications and proposals for retail development within our borough in the future.

Town Centres and Shopping Study (July 2008) (PDF) 


The Hertfordshire Infrastructure and Investment Strategy Study (HIIS)

Radlett-station-(2)This study assesses Hertfordshire's future infrastructure requirements and identifies the funding mechanisms necessary to secure its provision.

HIIS Summary Report (PDF)

HIIS Final Technical Report (PDF)
HIIS Transport Technical Report (PDF)

Infrastructure topic paper

This paper sets out details of what physical, social and green infrastructure is needed to facilitate the development proposed in the Core Strategy DPD, future infrastructure providers and timescales for provision.

Infrastructure Topic Paper (January 2012) (PDF) 


Strategic Flood Risk Assessment

Planning---Hillside-(5)We have a Level 1 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment, undertaken in accordance with Planning Policy Statement 25. The work was completed in May 2008.

Strategic Flood Risk Assessment - Final Report (PDF)

Strategic Flood Risk Assessment - Appendix A (PDF)

Strategic Flood Risk Assessment - Appendix B (PDF)

Strategic Flood Risk Assessment - Appendix C (PDF)

Strategic Flood Risk Assessment - Appendix D (PDF)

Strategic Flood Risk Assessment - Appendix F (PDF)

Strategic Flood Risk Assessment - Executive Summary (PDF)

Strategic Flood Risk Assessment - Summary Map (PDF)

SFRA 2008 Volume 2 Maps

A Location Plan (PDF)

B Historical Flooding (PDF)

C Topography (PDF)

D Structures and Defences (PDF)

E Flood Map (2007) (PDF)

F Flood Map (2025-2115) (PDF)

G Existing and Future Flood Alleviation Schemes (PDF)

H Hydrometry and Flood Warning (PDF)

I Residual Risk (PDF)

J Infrastructure and Emergency Planning (PDF)

K Thames Water Sewer Flooding (PDF)

Green infrastructure plans

Green Infrastructure plans exist for Hertfordshire as a whole and for Hertsmere specifically. These provide an overview of existing assets; an assessment of the environmental, social and economic functions of green infrastructure; a consideration of opportunities for the enhancement and creation of green infrastructure, and potential projects; and, advice on taking any proposals forward.

GreenArc Strategic Green Infrastructure Plan (with Hertfordshire County Council) (PDF)

Hertsmere Borough Green Infrastructure Plan (PDF)

Hertfordshire renewable and low carbon energy technical study

This study identifies options for delivering renewable and low carbon opportunities to Hertfordshire. It provides an understanding of the local feasibility and potential for renewable and low-carbon technologies.

Hertfordshire Renewable and Low Carbon Energy Technical Study (PDF)

Green Belt

Review of selected Green Belt Sites and Boundaries

This study has been prepared as part of the Site Allocations and Development Management Policies Plan and reviews selected Green Belt Sites and Boundaries

Review of Selected Green Belt Sites and Boundaries (PDF)


Faith Communities Needs Assessment

This study looks to assess and identify the current and future needs for places of worship and associated facilities in order to plan more effectively in the future.

Green Spaces Assessment

High quality green space has a positive impact on the urban environment. Green spaces of different sizes and types provide ‘green lungs’ to an urban area, assisting with nature conservation, biodiversity and improvements to air quality. The assessment looks at these aspects for future planning policy.

Green Spaces Assessment (December 2012) (PDF)

Open space study

We undertook an open space study in accordance with PPG 17.

Open Space Study (PDF( October 2011) 

Building standards and design

Building Futures

Building Futures (opens in new window) is a web-based guide, designed to provide practical, user-friendly and up-to-date guidance on how to make development in Hertfordshire more sustainable and of a higher quality in design terms.

Bushey Heath MOD Housing Special Character Area

This report assesses the Bushey Heath MOD housing area and concludes that it comprises an area of special interest by virtue of the environmental quality. This is because of the following features: • A cohesive feel due to the lack of individual alterations ad extensions to the dwellings. • Generous plot sizes, which are set back from the main road, and general spacing between buildings which enhances the feeling of spaciousness. • A lack of unsympathetic hardstanding at the front of the buildings and numerous trees.  Designation as a Special Character Area would not restrict development as tightly as if it were located within a Conservation Area, however it would guide new development to in order to respect or enhance the character, appearance and environmental quality of the area.

Special Character Area Appraisal for the Bushey Heath MOD area 2013

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