Council considers its role in the delivery of the South Godstone Garden Community
The role of the Council in the delivery of the new Garden Community of 4,000 homes at South Godstone was considered by councillors at Tuesday’s Strategy & Resources Committee. This reflects the Council’s firm commitment to achieve the best outcomes for the district including 1,000 genuinely affordable homes and infrastructure gains such as road and rail improvements, new schools and healthcare facilities.
Councillors agreed to engage specialist planning consultants, GVA, to look in more detail at the different approaches the Council could take. These include the Council becoming partners and land owners in the new community which would give it greater control and say in its planning.
If the Council decides to proactively take land ownership in the South Godstone area, this could be secured through private purchase or the use of compulsory purchase powers where appropriate and necessary. This would put the Council in a much stronger position to ensure the Garden Community meets its aspirations in terms of design, the quality of the environment, the affordability of homes and the delivery of much needed infrastructure.
Last week councillors were invited to meet Andrew Jones, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, to discuss the infrastructure requirements for the Garden Community. In advance of the meeting the Council prepared a map of the infrastructure plans at South Godstone which can be viewed at www.tandridge.gov.uk/localplan.
The Council is working with Homes England, the Highways Agency and Surrey and West Sussex County Councils to draw up a detailed business case for submission to the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund. The funding relates to upgrade works for junction 6 of the M25 and the Felbridge junction on the A22.
In addition, Engie, a multinational energy infrastructure provider and Clarion Homes, the country’s largest registered provider of affordable properties, have expressed their interest in working jointly and proactively on the delivery of the Garden Community. The Council is also having regular meetings with other key infrastructure providers including Network Rail.
The Committee also noted the findings of the planning inspector who recently reviewed Reigate & Banstead Borough Council’s (RBBC) plan. The inspector agreed with Tandridge District Council in finding the Redhill Aerodrome site to be undeliverable, because there is no commitment from Highways England to provide a new junction from the M23. Consequently, the inspector went on to advise against RBBC’s plans to release the part of the site which lies within its boundary from the Green Belt and against safeguarding the land for future development.
Following the submission of Our Local Plan: 2033 on 18 January, the Council received a letter confirming planning inspector Philip Lewis has been appointed and will oversee the examination process. The letter is available to view on the Council’s website, visit www.tandridge.gov.uk/localplan.
Councillor Martin Fisher, Chair of the Strategy & Resources Committee, said: “The detailed work of how we are going to take every opportunity to get the very best results for our residents from the delivery of our Garden Community is our key priority. We have established good relationships with ministers and infrastructure providers and remain firm in our commitment to deliver the homes, schools, road and rail improvements and health care facilities this district needs.”
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All Committee meetings are broadcast live and remain available to view on the Council’s website for six months. Visit www.tandridge.gov.uk/webcast.