Lewisham Council has approved putting its draft local plan out for public consultation.

The document, renewed every five years, sets out the long-term development strategy for the borough.

The final version is expected to be adopted by the council between summer and autumn of 2022.

Its strategic objectives include being “open and inclusive”, creating a “greener borough”, responding to the climate emergency, providing “genuinely affordable homes”, improving the local economy, and tackling social, economic, and health inequalities.

The plans aim to celebrate the borough’s identity by “ensuring that all new development responds positively to the special attributes of its local context”.

It also aims to “ensure that all Lewisham residents benefit from access to high quality education, health and social care”.

In the early stages of the plan’s development, the council consulted with public, and found with housing the main issues were affordability, needs for different groups, overcrowding, design quality, a growing population, and HMOs.

The plan includes a target of 50 per cent “genuinely affordable” – social rent or London affordable rent.

The council is planning to require developers building fewer than 10 homes to make a financial contribution to the borough’s affordable housing budget, which they are currently not obliged to do.

It is also planning to “resist developments” made solely of studios and one bedroom homes to address the demand for family housing.

It plans to support proposals “targeted to meeting the needs of specific groups, including families with children, older people, people with disabilities, students and vulnerable people”.

Members of the public have urged the council to make the borough greener by planting more trees, providing more and better quality parks in built-up areas, and creating new green spaces in large developments.

The public felt current green spaces should be protected from new developments.

According to the draft local plan, one of the main issues in the borough is access to open space – it says creating new large open spaces “will be challenging as land is needed for homes and jobs”.

The plan proposes to “protect spaces”, enhance the quality of waterways “such as the River Thames, Ravensbourne and Quaggy” and review open spaces and nature sites to “update their boundaries and level of protection for nature conservation”.

It proposes to prioritise the creation of new open spaces “in areas that are lacking”, enhance routes and entrances to parks, and improve walking and cycling routes.

The council plans to require large developments to provide open space “and/or fund improvements to spaces nearby”.

The public consultation on the draft local plan is scheduled to start in early 2021.

Presenting the report, which sought approval to send the draft plan out for public consultation, the cabinet member for housing and planning, Cllr Paul Bell, said the plan was one of the council’s “most significant documents”.

“It is focussed on tackling the causes of deprivation and impacts of inequalities, as well as responding to the climate emergency.

“It seeks to address the opportunities and challenges facing the borough, its communities and people, including those presented by Covid-19.

“Despite the current uncertain circumstances brought on by the public health pandemic it will be vital to plan proactively towards a recovery, particularly for the local economy, and the local plan will play an instrumental role in this respect,” he said.