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Community Event - Save Boulthurst Way Open Space

From the County Border News:

Residents of Hurst Green and Oxted will gather on Boulthurst Way Open Space, Hurst Green on Saturday, December 10 2-4pm to demonstrate their opposition to Tandridge District Council's plans to sell it off for development together with other Hurst Green amenity open spaces.

Separate to Tandridge District Council's 'Local Plan' where residents are able to send their comments and any objections to all of the sites put forward for development, the council has actually already started the appropriation process of Boulthurst Way Open Space, which they own, and will decide on 17 January 2017 in the 'resources committee' whether they will change the site from a protected 'Open Space' to one with no protection against development - meaning the site could be sold or developed at any time and completely separately from the council's Local Plan.

A spokesman for the protest organisers said: 'Residents are frustrated by two different processes happening at the same time and the fact that they could lose their valued open space without any recourse. One of the key frustrations for residents is that Tandridge District Council has hugely overdeveloped the area over the past 13 years ' allowing building at a rate double that of government targets - meaning there is now no land left to build new homes and the Council is now threatening to develop 'open spaces' (against national planning policy) that are key to the well-being of residents in order to 'balance their books'.

'Given national government cuts in local council funding, Tandridge District Council currently has a projected £1.4m shortfall in funding in 2017/18. One of the key drivers of TDC's income since 2003 has been its development of new homes - approx 17% of its income next year is due to come from the government's 'New Homes Bonus'. So now with overdevelopment in historic years, the shortfall in funding from government and the fact that Tandridge now has no readily-available land to be developed because the council has already developed it all, residents face a 'perfect-storm' of circumstances that the council has largely brought on itself and are now set to suffer with the loss of the open spaces where they can take their children to run, play games, walk their dogs, meet fellow residents - even against the council's own commissioned TSE Research in November 2015 which stated that 'no open space is surplus to requirements in Tandridge' given the amount of residents and 'should be protected against development'.

On Saturday the whole area will come together to enjoy some mulled wine and mince pies and at the same time show the strength and depth of the objection of local residents to the planned development.