Why are we Backing Option 4?
• It is the lowest development option (5,300 dwellings over 15 years) so has the least impact on the borough
• It is the lowest urbanisation option (the same dwellings per hectare as Options 2, 3 and 5 and half that of Option 1)
• It addresses the affordability issue (only small houses would be built with this option, all other Options would imply a relaxation of this rule)
• It is the most environmentally friendly option (least pollution, least loss of habitats and destruction of trees) as it takes no Green Belt land and so retains our Green Lungs.
We have had some concerns expressed that choosing Option 4 would not fully meet the housing target set by the government. This is our response:-
It’s true that the ‘government target’ is set by a defined process known as the standard methodology and that this process cannot be challenged. This target is however only a starting point from which the council will adopt an actual number for the Local Plan.
The government target Elmbridge Borough Council (EBC) are working with (9,300) is obtained by using the 2014 based population and housing statistics, not the more up to date 2016 ones that are considerably more favourable or the 2018 ones (population only so far) that are even more favourable. The policy requires EBC to use the latest ‘market signals’ and these are but some of them that point to a lower final number. These market signals alone provide the necessary justification for a 5,300 final number.
The policy also says that while the number is obtained from the standard methodology the council can demonstrate that building this number is not possible because of their Green Belt constraints. It also allows EBC to show that others as ‘neighbouring authorities’ are building more than their target (e.g. Guildford who have adopted a plan to build 4,000 more than their target, and there are others) means Elmbridge do not have to.
The council has provided Option 4 as a valid option knowing the above. The council could not ‘offer’ Options they knew to be impossible – wasted ‘votes’. Option 4 is supported by all of our local councillors who have had the benefit of this being explained to them by the council and their legal advisors.
We advocate a strong message to EBC to get us the lowest final number that they can by all these means – justify a lower number, show they cannot build more and have as many ‘built for us’ as they can. More than 5,300 would be ‘unsustainable’ in terms of congestion and the load on our creaking infrastructure. Suggesting more would be unconscionable.
As well as asking which option you prefer, the questionnaire also asks some other questions. We have some suggestions on how you may want to respond to these other questions.