Letters between the Government Office for the South East & Tandridge Council

You may know that Tandridge District Council have been doing their best to prepare a 10-year development plan, known as the 'Core Strategy', which suits the needs of Tandridge and its people, and fits government guidance (even employing a consultant to help get it right). The problem is, it seems to us, they are being undermined because the government is constantly changing the rules.

Follow the links below to find the correspondence between the council and the Government Housing and Planning Directorate. We found it astonishing.

click here When you've opened the page click on the abstract to read
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Document One (Government to Tandridge Council 27th Feb 2008): Just a few weeks before the 'Core Strategy' is due to be examined by the Planning Inspector, the Housing and Planning Directorate write to the council saying their approach is 'unsound.'

Document Two (The Council's reply 7th March 2008); the council reply that that they have been liaising with the Housing and Planning Directorate since 2006 , have complied with every piece of advice they were given and can't understand why they are now being told it's all wrong

Document Three (The Meeting 19th March 2008): Tandridge meets the Housing and Planning Directorate to discuss what's gone wrong and are as good as told that even though what Tandridge has done is sensible and suitable it's going to be found unsound because the government has moved the goalposts and are imposing new policies.

On the back of all this mess, Village Developments have submitted their detailed plans to build 650 houses on the 2 Green Belt fields.This is despite the fact that the legislation says that this part of the consultation is not supposed to be 'site-specific' and that there has been no public consultation whatsoever about these sites. The developers are using this process to get a direct route to the Inspectorate. They seem to have got in through the back door and put their plans straight under the nose of a planning Inspector, thus bypassing the whole democratic process. We have written a letter of complaint to the Inspector, Mr David Vickery.(see letter button)

Mr Vickery is the man who comes to Tandridge to consider the council's plan next Thursday, April 3rd at 2pm. He has already flagged up major concerns about the 'soundness' of the plan. He has the power to reject it or to ask the council to go away and come back with a list of specific sites to develop. That would be very likely to include the 2 Green Belt fields.That's why we want people to turn out for the meeting and make it clear that local people support the council's plan.

To make matters worse Mr Vickery has invited a large number of developers to address him and, in particular, the ones targeting the Green Belt. He has chosen from the list of people who submitted comments, the people he wants to hear from at the meeting . Village Developments have been asked to speak 6 times and Asprey Homes 5 times - many more than anyone else. Out of the 56 allocated speeches 27 are by named developers. Of the rest, many appear to be agents of developers and are intent on attacking the Green Belt. Indeed, three of them, are saying exactly the same thing. Large chunks in their comments are identical or almost identical which makes it appear that they have worked in concert. (see repeated comments) Nevertheless, they have all been asked to speak.