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Caterham Councillor resigns over Local Plan

Caterham Councillor, Clive Manley, last night resigned as a Conservative District Councillor over the Council's Local Plan. In future, he will represent a newly formed group called the Caterham and Chaldon Residents Group (CCRG). The CCRG have issued the press release copied below.

We are very pleased that this will strengthen the residents' voice on the Council, give support for correcting the Local Plan proposals and for increasing scrutiny of the Council's actions.


Clive Manley, the councillor for Portley ward in North Caterham, has left the ruling Conservative group on Tandridge Council in protest at their plan to build over 9,000 new homes in the district which would mean the loss of large swathes of the Green Belt and open spaces.

Councillor Manley said, "At the last group meeting, we were told it would be 470 houses per year which is 4 times the current housing requirement and approximately one new house for every four existing. Anyone who tried to argue was told by the Leadership to shut up. This could mean more than 2,000 new homes built in and around Caterham and Chaldon, including 1,600 on Green Belt sites such as the Surrey National Golf Course.'

Councillor Manley went on, "I was elected last year on a platform of opposing significant new development. There has already been vast amounts of building in the Caterham area which has put intolerable and unsustainable pressure on schools, health services, roads and parking. Now the Conservatives want to build at an even greater rate than before. I cannot remain part of a group whose plans are in direct opposition to the wishes of the people who elected me, so I have no choice but to leave."

"I have tried to change the minds of the Conservative group, and reduce the number of houses they want to build, but to no avail. I am determined to stand up for residents, I am determined to stand up and challenge the flawed approach to the Local Plan that the Tandridge Conservatives have adopted. Not only is it an affront to the people of Caterham and of Chaldon and of all Tandridge but it is totally out of line with Government planning policy."

Councillor Manley will remain as an Independent for the time being, but will shortly be representing the newly formed Caterham and Chaldon Residents Group (CCRG), which has arisen from the merger of a number of residents' groups across the north of Tandridge.

CCRG will also be working closely with the successful Oxted and Limpsfield Residents Group (OLRG), which already has an elected councillor, and will have access to OLRG's legal and other experts. A spokesperson for OLRG said "we very much welcome the decision of Councillor Manley to follow his conscience and leave the Conservative group, and we look forward to working closely with him to halt the Council's appalling proposals.'

Andy Tindall