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  THE MERTON UNITARY DEVELOPMENT PLAN
 

Borough  Councils are required to prepare Unitary Development Plans (UDPs) which set out the polices affecting Council decisions including land use and development.  

The UDPs are revised on a regular basis and policies redrafted in line with most recent Government legislation. The draft is examined at a Public Inquiry, which is presided over by an Inspector appointed by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (formerly the Dept for Transport, Local Government and the Regions).  

The open lands of the Atkinson Morley Hospital site were designated as Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) in 1994. MOL is the urban equivalent of Green Belt. Once the general extent of MOL has been fixed through the approval of development plans, the boundaries should be altered only in exceptional circumstances. 

At the UDP Inquiry (2001),  the Atkinson Morley Hospital land was identified as a Site Proposal by Merton and a Planning Brief was prepared as an Annex to the UDP proposals, describing areas available for built development and open space uses.

St. George's NHS Trust has consistently challenged the Planning Brief's designations of MOL and Conservation Area status, attempting  to increase areas of land within the site available for building.   

However, the Inspector's report, delivered in August 2002, confirmed the MOL boundaries and recommended that the Planning Brief should in future serve as Supplementary Planning Guidance rather than an Annex.  

Merton Council  prepared a revised Planning Brief, incorporating all the recommendations included in the Inspector's Report, and the UDP was revised and adopted in October 2003.