CONSULTATION on the final version of Tandridge District Council’s Local Plan has just begun and, as expected, the Oxted and Limpsfield Residents Group (OLRG) has repeated its belief that the Plan is ‘flawed’ and is not appropriate for the District and its residents.
The OLRG -it has four Councillors on the District Council – says it is taking expert advice so it can take part in the consultation.
In a statement the OLRG claims:
● The Plan does not address the existing severe infrastructure deficit and is likely to exacerbate it.
● In its Settlement Hierarchy documents, the Council has ranked Oxted at number one in the whole District for additional housing development. The OLRG believes the document is based on a flawed scoring system which should be corrected. Health provision (chemists are equated with GPs and the lack of a hospital is ignored), public transport provision and retail provision are persistently overstated and the Council portrays Oxted as a large town equivalent to much larger out-of-district centres.
● The Council also persistently overstates the level of services, employment and retail provision for the District as a whole.
● The Plan proposes removing the Moorhouse Tileworks on the A25 near Limpsfield from the Green Belt. In 2015, a planning application for a super-sized parcel distribution depot at the site was rejected partly on Green Belt grounds.
● The proposal for the South Godstone Garden Community lists massive infrastructure costs, such as £200 million for improvements to M25 junction 6. It is unclear how they will be funded. There are issues over highways, trains, employment, Green Belt and certainty of deliverability. The proposal relies on South Godstone station which runs east-west and has no direct trains to London thereby putting extra pressure on stations such as Oxted and Hurst Green where the service is already very overcrowded.
● The Plan strategy locks future residents into unsustainable travel patterns.
● The lack of existing infrastructure and the cost of infrastructure to support the Plan’s proposals is likely to impact unfavourably on affordable housing provision.
● The Council says there will be “thousands of new jobs” in the District but this is wholly unrealistic for such a rural district which has no large business centres and must compete with large out- of- district centres that already have critical mass and that are expanding and improving.
● The Plan lacks coherence and credible supporting evidence.