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Latest - TDC targets the Green Belt - it's official

Tandridge District Councillors last night agreed a preferred strategy for the Local Plan which confirms the Council wants large scale building on the Tandridge Green Belt including around Oxted, Limpsfield and Hurst Green.

The strategy proposes building on the Green Belt around ALL the Tier 1 and Tier 2 settlements which are: Oxted, Limpsfield, Hurst Green, Caterham on the Hill, Caterham Valley, Warlingham, Whyteleafe, Godstone, Lingfield and Smallfield.

This Green Belt development would be IN ADDITION to a new settlement of around 4,000 homes to be built in the Tandridge Green Belt in one of 5 possible locations which are: Blindley Heath, South Godstone, Redhill Aerodrome, the borders between Lingfield and Edenbridge, and the Chaldon/Coulsdon area.

8 Conservative Councillors and 2 Liberal Democrats on the Planning Policy Committee voted it through. They are:

Cllr Peter Bond (chairman, Burstow, Horne & Outwood); Cllr Keith Jecks (vice-chairman, Woldingham); Cllr Gill Black (Bletchingley & Nutfield); Cllr Chris Botten (Portley, Caterham); Cllr Lindsey Dunbar (Limpsfield); Cllr Ken Harwood (Felbridge); Cllr Alun Jones (Valley, Caterham); Cllr Keith Prew (Warlingham West); Cllr Lesley Steeds (Dormansland & Felcourt); Cllr Debbie Vickers (Bletchingley & Nutfield).

OLRG's Councillor Jackie Wren was the only member of the Committee to vote against.

She said "The Council says that its preferred strategy aims to protect the Green Belt. Please do not be fooled. The details make clear this Council wants to build as much as possible and has no intention whatsoever of protecting the Green Belt.

Please do not make the mistake of believing that the new houses in the Green Belt will be 'affordable' and will be for local residents. These new houses will be sold at the highest possible price that developers can achieve irrespective of whether those purchasers are from Tandridge or anywhere else."

Conservative Councillor for Lingfield and Crowhurst, Liz Lockwood, urged the committee members to vote against the strategy.

She said "By agreeing to this, you are agreeing to the wholesale release of Green Belt sites all around the district.

This document skirts the key issue the whole of the district is shouting about - the current inadequate infrastructure and the consequences of infilling ad infinitum without any consideration of the consequences whatsoever. Flooding, congestion, surgery waiting lists and much much more.

This strategy is completely unsustainable and I would not be able to look any residents in the eye if I voted for it."

The strategy is designed to meet a housing need figure of at least 9,400 homes. As much as 90 per cent of this figure is comprised of people moving to Tandridge from other areas. It doubles the current rate of housing development.

For many years now, there have been very high levels of house-building in Tandridge which has already led to large amounts of inward migration. This huge amount of building has not brought affordable housing for local residents.

The Council has no track record of delivering new infrastructure and the strategy does not address the existing infrastructure deficit.

The strategy is based on documents which experts have made clear are not fit for purpose. It has ignored the fundamental principle of the Government's National Planning Policy Framework which is the achievement of "sustainable development."

The Council has to get its Plan approved by a Planning Inspector at Examination and, to do that, the Plan has to be based on sound planning reasons.

We believe the strategy has nothing to do with planning and everything to do with raising money to try to ensure this cash-strapped Council survives.

Please be assured that OLRG will not stand by and see the Tandridge Green Belt destroyed unjustifiably and unnecessarily.

The preferred strategy is on this link click here

The key paragraph is 5.36 on page 32 which says that Approaches 3 and 6 will be pursued.

Approach 3 specifies development on "sites that are currently in the Green Belt around the urban settlements and semi-rural service settlements."

Approach 6 is "a large urban extension or new settlement."

Paragraph 5.14 sets out Approach 3 in more detail.