|Planning Policy Committee to debate Local Plan Strategy which aims to protect Green Belt|
- Published: Thursday, 16 March 2017 16:27
Following the recent announcement by Leader of the Council, Councillor Martin Fisher, outlining his vision for a strategic approach to development, the Planning Policy Committee on 16th March will debate the strategy that underpins that vision and sets out the Council’s strategic approach to development for the district up to 2033.
In his speech to full Council on 24th February, Councillor Fisher put forward the proposal for a garden village, as part of the creation of the Local Plan. This would require the release of around 1% of Green Belt land. At the moment five sites will need to be further considered as the plan moves forward. These sites have been submitted to the Council by landowners and developers. These are on land in Blindley Heath, Chaldon - Alderstead and Tolsworth Farm, land west of Edenbridge. Redhill Aerodrome and South Godstone.
The strategy, which has been developed as part of the creation of the Local Plan, aims to keep the district’s character, while at the same time being a place where people from all walks of life have access to homes, jobs, education, leisure and health facilities and where the transport infrastructure meets the needs of the modern world.
The Local Plan is the opportunity to set out how this can realistically be achieved and set down the standards developers will need to follow. The strategy proposes a combination of a new garden village and some limited development of urban and semi-rural settlements as the right way forward, even though this could mean releasing a small amount of Green Belt land.
Without looking at the Green Belt, the Council will only be able to deliver just over a third of the housing needed. This approach would not boost the supply of housing as required by the government and would not pass the independent examination of the Local Plan, which could mean the Council losing the ability to control and plan for development in the district, putting more Green Belt at risk.
At this stage, the strategy does not set out in detail exactly where new development will take place, but sets out the principles on which decisions will be based. Once locations which can be developed have been identified, further consultation will take place to ensure the final Local Plan caters for present and future needs.
Councillor Peter Bond, Chairman of the Planning Policy Committee, said: “The strategy to create a garden village will help us provide affordable homes for local people and the infrastructure to go with them, while protecting the distinctive nature of the area. Releasing a small amount of the Green Belt will enable us to protect the rest. Otherwise we are in danger of an increasingly elderly population living alone in large houses, which means there are no houses for young families and future generations, or for those who want to downsize. This also has an adverse impact on the local economy. Balancing these competing needs is not easy. We have worked hard to set out a strategy which will ensure the district is a viable and vibrant place to live, work and visit.”