Council takes tough stand against new government policy in defence of Green Belt

At last week’s Council meeting, Leader of the Council, Martin Fisher, set out the areas the Council will not compromise on as it prepares the Local Plan. 

In response to government proposals for new housing targets, which could see the number of homes the Tandridge district should deliver increase by 40%, Councillor Fisher said the Council will stand firm in its commitment to deliver a sustainable and realistic number of new homes, supported by infrastructure, while also protecting the Green Belt and open nature of the district.

Councillor Fisher will shortly be meeting the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, to argue the case against any imposed and unjustified increase in housing numbers. Last month, all 11 Leaders from district and borough councils across Surrey made a joint response in defiance of the government’s proposals. The Leaders are insisting constraints on development, like protection of the Green Belt, which accounts for 94% of the Tandridge district, are taken into account when determining the number of homes each authority is expected to plan for. 

This will ensure the Local Plan delivers a balanced number of new market and affordable homes, desperately needed for local people, in a sustainable way and also delivers infrastructure and prosperity for the district.

The Council is still analysing the feedback from the Local Plan: Garden Villages consultation and this will form part of the evidence used to draft the Local Plan. No decision has been taken regarding the location for the Garden Village. Three locations, Blindley Heath, Redhill Aerodrome and South Godstone, are still being assessed for their ability to deliver infrastructure gains for the benefit of existing communities, as well as future generations. 

Reigate and Banstead Borough Council’s decision to categorise part of the Redhill Aerodrome site and other surrounding land as Safeguarded Land for future development has been discussed by the two councils under their duty to co-operate, but any decisions about location of a wider garden community will be made by the Council based on evidence and in the best interests of residents.

There will be a further consultation on the plan before any final amendments are made and it is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for examination in 2018.  

Councillor Martin Fisher, Leader of the Council, said: “The Council has been working tirelessly to identify the land and infrastructure necessary to deliver the housing we need, so our children and grandchildren can continue to live in the Tandridge district. I have a strong message to deliver to the Secretary of State – we will not stand idly by while they drive through proposals and make us build more homes than we can realistically accommodate. Concreting over the Green Belt is something this Council will never do and we will also make sure our new Garden Village delivers the roads, schools, shops and health facilities our district desperately needs so we create a better place for existing and future residents.”

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