Green Belt at Risk - Knowle Park, Stoke D'Abernon
Green Belt at Risk - Chippings Farm, Cobham
Green Belt at Risk - Knowle Park
Green Belt at Risk - Chippings Farm, Cobham
You will have read in the press about the Government’s new 10 year housing strategy which is out for consultation. The new 10 year target for Elmbridge will be 7,733 dwellings – nearly 25% higher than the previous figure of 6,230 which we and others have already disputed as unrealistic, unjustifiable and unrequired. The previous figure could have meant destroying over 800 acres of Green Belt while the new proposals could destroy nearly 1,000 acres and much of this will be in the Cobham and Oxshott area. Our communities would simply not be able to sustain this level of development and the existing infrastructure can’t cope with what we have at the moment let alone what is now planned. The proposals would give builders and developers carte blanche. The algorithm used by the government takes the overall housing number the government wants for the country and skews it towards building in the more expensive areas like ours. Furthermore, all this can be enacted by simply publishing new regulations to local authorities with no voting nor debates.
House building is now being wholly divorced from housing need. The ONS households forecast for Elmbridge has been going down (for 2030 there are now forecast to be 2,523 compared with 3,643 only two years ago and 4,519 two years before that). So, the government’s new proposals will require more than three times the number of houses to be built in Elmbridge than the population trends indicate are needed.
The PR accompanying these proposed changes is deceptive. This says the Green Belt is being protected but the truth is that it will not be protected if there is pressure to reclassify it for housing. With that change to the Green Belt all its protection could be lost.
The Consultation document can be read here and Adrian Wise has done a brilliant job analysing everything and has extracted all the questions asked in the Consultation, preparing answers which can be downloaded here. This detailed response document can be used as the basis for your response to the consultation.
The planning teams from Cobham Green Belt Group and the Cobham Conservation and Heritage Trust are meeting our MP, Dominic Raab, to explain our concerns in the strongest terms and to make clear to him the strength of local feeling.
To help change this policy, the Cobham Green Belt Group and the Cobham Conservation and Heritage Trust urgently need your support in two ways:
Thank you for your support as we simply cannot allow these proposals to go unchallenged. They would destroy our communities as we know them forever.
The Latest Statement from Elmbridge Borough Council regarding the Local Plan is shown below:
Local Plan May 2020 update: Work is continuing on preparing the new Local Plan, however, due to the COVID-19 situation production of this work is taking longer than envisaged. We will share our revised timetable any further updates on the website in due course. We ask that you bear with us during this difficult time. Although moving forward our work on the emerging Local Plan is extremely important, the council's top priority is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its staff and its communities. For more information please see the latest statement from the Portfolio Member for Planning Services.
Thank you to those who responded on a ‘new’ Parking SPD and a ‘revised’ Development Contributions SPD which closed on 4th February 2020. A further consultation referred to in our last message to members referred to a wider exercise titled by the Council as “Creating our vision, objectives and the direction for development management policies”. This is to enable them to take the process to a final phase in the autumn with the Local Plan that it formulates for the next 15 years. That will in turn to go to the Government Inspector after a further consultation. It may not then be easy to amend to any great extent and the importance of this consultation is that it is almost the last chance for residents to make their wider views known. This consultation closes on Monday 9th March 2020.
The Cobham Green Belt and Cobham Heritage Trust’s Planning Team have attended workshops and have reviewed what the Council have suggested as the emerging key issues policies and challenges. To assist members in answering the questions posed by the Council in the consultation it has drawn up some suggested responses as below.
The Council say it is aiming for 'good' growth in our borough. After inspection and adoption, the Local Plan will guide decisions on whether or not planning applications should be granted permission.
The Council say that the consultation is not about housing numbers and the Green Belt. They point to there having already been 2 consultations on that. But it is arguable that the current exercise on “Vision” should have been undertaken before housing numbers were looked at. Our planning team considers that in any event the Council must again take note that in consultations, the public across the Borough overwhelmingly chose option 4 - safeguarding the Green Belt.
In the current consultation, the Council provide a huge amount of material that is relevant, including policies at national and Surrey level. It is difficult for our planning team to summarise all that for you. Remember however that the feedback from residents and stakeholders (such as developers) has to be considered. The Council, in posing a series of questions for residents to respond to, themselves identify what it considers important.
The process of responding can take some time but the team feels important to persevere if you feel able. To review the background you can go to
To go straight to the Council’s questions you should go to
It is worth identifying at this stage that there is an opportunity at the end of questions posed to upload a file but the team believes it would be best to answer the questions in the boxes provided if you feel able.
The Questions with Comments document below, shows the council’s list of issues which they present for their questions, annotated with comments from the planning team in red. It is hoped these lists and our comments in red will assist members in formulating their own responses. The Cobham Green Belt and Cobham Heritage Trust will be writing in to make the points identified in red on the document.
The Elmbridge Local Plan has been delayed until later this year. However, in support for the main local plan three further short consultations have been announced.
These consultations are now taking place on three separate topics:
In conjunction with the Cobham Conservation and Heritage Trust, we will be advising people on the vision consultation (item 3) in the course of the coming weeks.
For the two SPDs presently under consultation, given the complexity of the documents under consideration and their attachments, the intricacy of the process and the limited time given, the Cobham Heritage planning team agreed to send in a letter summarising our views on each consultation (see letter links below).
There are many such SPD’s that together with national policies and the Local Plan itself are important when judging planning applications. While some of these consultations are aimed in the first instance at ‘managing’ the existing Local Plan the results will play a role in the development and implementation of the new Local Plan. Accordingly we consider these consultations similarly to that of the Local Plan itself.
Development Contributions SPD - https://consult.elmbridge.gov.uk/consult.ti/SPDs/consultationHome
For your reference the documents EBC wish you to comment upon can be downloaded from the following links: