AS Tandridge residents are alerted to the consultation on the Tandridge District Council Draft Local Plan – it ends on September 10 – they have been sent another ‘open letter’ by Councillor Keith Jecks, chairman of the Council’s Planning Policy Committee.
This consultation is an opportunity for residents to have their say about the legal compliance and soundness of the draft Local Plan which according to the Council will deliver:
· A new Garden Community of around 4,000 homes in South Godstone.
· Thousands of new jobs for the district.
· New health care facilities, plus upgrades to existing health centres.
· Two new primary schools and a new secondary school, plus improvements to many existing schools.
· Road and rail improvements.
· New play areas and improvements to existing play areas.
· Measures to alleviate flood risk.
A fact sheet containing information about the plan’s contents in relation to each ward is being delivered to every household in the district. The content includes sites for new homes, employment and infrastructure improvements.
Councillor Jecks has told residents: “This will be the last opportunity for you to have your say about the plan before comments are analysed and it is presented to a government planning inspector.
“We are solely concerned with legal compliance and soundness (in planning language) of the draft plan and these are the only comments we are able to consider at this stage. Having said that, all comments received will be made available to the inspector, so if you have something to say, and do not know whether it is relevant in terms of legal compliance or soundness, I encourage you to say it.
“This Plan is not just about building houses. It is an infrastructure led plan, underpinned by a sound economic strategy. This Plan will deliver new roads, improved healthcare facilities and schools to support existing and future generations. It is about creating homes for local people, creating more highly skilled local employment opportunities and significant infrastructure improvements to benefit everyone in the district.
“It will provide two new primary schools, a new secondary school, improvements to the A22 (from and including its junction with the M25 to help keep traffic moving from Caterham to Felbridge), a new doctors’ surgery, flood relief measures in Caterham, Whyteleafe and Smallfield, better rail connections and improvements to parking facilities.
“We need a Plan which keeps this district vibrant, thriving and sustainable for the next generation. Standing still and keeping things as they are is not an option. We have an ageing population and homes which cost so much our young people have no option, but to move out of the area. We need to provide for future generations.
“We have looked at all brownfield sites in the district, as well as whether we can build more in our urban areas. I believe we’ve gone as far as is possible in these areas to try and meet our needs, but it is not enough to deliver the housing required and as a consequence would not produce the infrastructure we need.
“Releasing some Green Belt, as other councils have had to do, is a regrettable route we are being forced down, but this will put the Council in a better position to protect the rest.
“During the preparation of the draft Local Plan over 300 sites, the majority located in the Green Belt, were sent to us by land owners and developers for consideration. Having carefully analysed all the evidence, we are only proposing 10 of the Green Belt sites for housing development. These have only been allocated where they can deliver a clear community benefit and where it is demonstrated that exceptional circumstances exist.”
Councillor Jecks added that once the plan is adopted, the Council will prepare an Area Action Plan (AAP), which will set out the detail and guide the development of the Garden Community. This AAP will be drawn up in very close consultation with the existing residents, to ensure any benefits for them are maximised and any disadvantages minimised.”
Mr Jecks concluded: “We have not made any of these decisions lightly. Every councillor who represents you is doing their utmost to ensure this plan delivers a better future for the district.”
Anyone can make comments by:
Visiting the consultation portal at http://consult.tandridge.gov.uk/portal.
Writing to Tandridge District Council, 8 Station Road East, Oxted RH8 0BT.
Photo: Keith Jecks… “It is an infrastructure led plan, underpinned by a sound economic strategy”