A Local Plan is a requirement under the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and is about the needs of the community and how sustainable development can be encouraged. Paragraph 153 of the NPPF states, ‘Each local planning authority should produce a Local Plan for its area.’ The NPPF goes on to explain, (in some detail), the requirements of a Local Plan, that it must be realistic, that the local planning authority must engage in ‘early and meaningful engagement and collaboration with neighbourhoods, local organisations and businesses’, that the ‘strategic priorities’ should be set out.
Tandridge District Council have been working on their Local Plan for some time now. Early in 2016 they entered a period of consultation (called a Regulation 18 consultation) on the first set of documents. The principal document was called the ‘Local Plan: Issues and Approaches Document’ and was supported by a suite of other documents. In total there were over 3,000 pages of documents to be read. The GVA recognised that most residents would not have the time, nor the inclination, to read over 3,000 pages and so produced a summary and a response which was circulated to residents of the village so that they might submit their own response. (The first response can be seen here).
During the summer of 2016 Tandridge District Council issued further documents in relation to the draft Local Plan. In particular, on the 30th July, Tandridge District Council issued the ‘Detailed Policies 2014-2029‘. This is part 2 of the Tandridge Local Plan and is the detailed policies that sit behind the Core Strategy that has already been adopted. The detailed policies cover all aspects of planning, not just housing, including infrastructure, traffic, telecoms and many other aspects of our environment. They can be found here.
The Local Plan continues to be developed. Tandridge District Council have recently issued their ‘Sites Consultation‘ document which has some surprising information in it. The document is a 440 page document and includes a number of the sites, both Green Belt and non Green Belt, that have been considered and can be found here, (it takes some time to load because of its size). Some have been ruled out, (although the Council has allowed itself the possibility to revisit these under ‘exceptional circumstances’), however many remain under serious consideration. It is not clear why some sites that were submitted for consideration are not in the document and some are included but subsequently ruled out.
Of particular interest might be Section 6 ‘Category 2: Green Belt Sites within an Area for Further Investigation‘, which begins on page 59 of the document. This is sites in the Green Belt that Tandridge District Council are considering for development. The reference to an ‘area for further investigation’ is a reference to the fact that it is under serious consideration for development.
A far more worrying change between the draft Local Plan that was open for consideration in February of this year is Section 8 ‘Part 2: New and extended settlement options‘ (starting on page 396), which has identified two areas of Godstone Parish as being suitable for the development of a new town of at least 2,000 houses! The only two sites in the district are in Blindley Heath and South Godstone.
Tandridge District Council appear to have abandoned the 7 strategic approaches that were listed in the Local Plan: Issues and Approaches Document and have made a decision that a ‘new extended settlement’ is the way forward. It assumes that 2,000 houses are to be built in at least one of the two locations!
Consultation on the ‘Sites Consultation’ document commenced on the 4th November 2016 and finishes on 30th December 2016, again under what is known as ‘Regulation 18’. Although this is an 8 week period, at least one week is lost to Christmas. If you have a view on whether you think the sites that have been identified by Tandridge District Council as appropriate for development, including those in the Green Belt, you should make your views known to the Council. If you think that the construction of a new town of at least 2,000 houses in either Blindley Heath or South Godstone is in appropriate or if you support this concept, you should let Tandridge District Council know your views.
You can see the GVA response to the Sites Consultation Document here.
You can see the Godstone Parish Council response to the Sites Consultation Document here.
If you are registered, you can view the documents via the consultation portal at http://consult.tandridge.gov.uk/portal/, (you can register if you have not already done so), or you can let your views be known by post to:
Planning Policy, Tandridge District Council,
8 Station Road East,
Surrey, RH8 0BT
Or, if you prefer to email your views, the email address is: