New Garden Village Consultation

Tandridge District Council (TDC) is conducting another ‘Regulation 18’ consultation between 14th August 2017 and the 9th October 2017. This is a consolation to support their now published ‘preferred strategy’ of a ‘new garden village’.

The term ‘new garden village’ is defined by the government as a development of between 1,500 and 10,000 homes that stands independently of any other settlement (i.e. is not an extension of another village or town). They are supposed to be ‘self contained’ communities and there is significant funding available from government for authorities that develop them.

Fourteen ‘New Garden Villages’ were announced in the first round of applications from local authorities that were made in 2016. They are:

  • Long Marston in Stratford-on-Avon
  • Oxfordshire Cotswold in West Oxfordshire
  • Deenethorpe in East Northants
  • Culm in Mid Devon
  • Welborne near Fareham in Hampshire
  • West Carclaze in Cornwall
  • Dunton Hills near Brentwood, Essex
  • Spitalgate Heath in South Kesteven, Lincolnshire
  • Halsnead in Knowsley, Merseyside
  • Longcross in Runnymede and Surrey Heath
  • Bailrigg in Lancaster
  • Infinity Garden Village in South Derbyshire and Derby City area
  • St Cuthberts near Carlisle City, Cumbria
  • North Cheshire in Cheshire East

The Godstone Village Association (GVA) takes the view that there is no need, and definitely no desire, for a new garden village in Tandridge district. We further take the view that the consultation is fundamentally flawed and designed to obtain a result to suit TDC rather than one to support the community. For reasons that can only be assumed to be financial, TDC want a new garden village, but there is no need for one.

The flawed consultation asks residents of Tandridge to ‘choose’ between four locations for a new garden village. This will then be used by TDC to say that a particular location was ‘selected’ by residents. The reality is that there is no option within the consultation to say that a new garden village is not needed. This is the only option that should be considered.

TDC have repeatedly claimed that the government has told them to build 9,400 houses. They haven’t. The National Planning Policy Framework only requires them to “identify and update annually a supply of specific deliverable sites sufficient to provide five years worth of housing against their housing requirements with an additional buffer of 5%”. Nowhere does it say that the housing requirements should include any allowance for mass inward migration.

TDCs own ‘Objectively Assessed Housing Needs’ document includes allowance for mass inward migration from Croydon and other parts of London – something TDC has consistently denied. Paragraph 21 of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s ‘prospectus’ document ‘Locally-led Garden Villages, Towns and Cities states, “It is important that new garden villages are built as a response to meeting housing needs locally.” TDC are failing to comply with this criteria.

Even assuming that TDCs population forecast were accurate, (which it isn’t) they have based their housing occupation calculations on 1.6 people per household and not 2.43 people per household which is the national average. There is no demonstrable need for the number of homes that TDC claim they must build.

TDCs ‘Objectively Assessed Housing Needs’ acknowledges that 65% of movement within Tandridge district over the last 10 years has been inward migration. Taking the TDC inflated population figure of 15,000 and applying this same formula, there would be a need for housing to support a local population increase of 5,250. Apply the national average occupancy level to housing of 2.43 and there is a need for just 2,160 homes over the next 15 years. TDC claim that they have already granted planning permission to 2,400 homes that have not yet been built, so they have already exceeded the actual housing need by 240 homes!

TDC claim that a new garden village will deliver affordable homes. It won’t. Paragraph 21 of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s ‘prospectus’ document ‘Locally-led Garden Villages, Towns and Cities reads, “High quality starter homes, to be offered at least a 20% discount for young first-time buyers, have a place within well-designed new communities. Like other major developments, it is our intention for new garden villages to be subject to our new statutory requirement in the Housing and Planning Bill, and provide a proportion of starter homes as part of their section 106 agreements (details of which we will be consulting on).” TDC will only provide a proportion of starter homes at a 20% discount on market price. Martin Fisher has relied heavily on his assertion that homes in Tandridge district cost 14 times an average salary – a 20% discount will mean a ‘stater home’ in his new garden village will cost 11.2 times an average salary – that doesn’t mean they will be affordable!

There are many, many other reasons why Tandridge District Council are following a flawed strategy and why they are misleading the public with flagrantly untrue statements. The GVA urges every resident in Tandridge district to write to TDC either by email to *protected email* or by mail to Tandridge District Council’s offices in Oxted and tell them that NO NEW GARDEN VILLAGE IS NEEDED IN TANDRIDGE DISTRICT AND TO CONTINUE WITH THIS FLAWED STRATEGY WILL RESULT IN THE DESTRUCTION OF THE GREEN BELT FOR NO GOOD REASON.