To know and not to know. Simultaneously.
Not Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but Orwell’s Ministry of Truth.
See Document 50.
“Whilst you are correct that the Council ‘is looking to meet its target for affordable housing’, Kempton Park does not feature as a place where we could currently discharge that responsibility, as, amongst other considerations, as you point out, Kempton Park is in the Green Belt.”
That was the Chief Executive on 4 November last year, replying to a resident protesting about the plans for Kempton Park.
Here he is a week later. (See Document 60.) In response to the following message from the then Head of Planning:
“I have been asked by the master planning consultants (David Lock Assoc) for some dates for them to come in and discuss with me/others the principles of what we would like to see on the site”
“Ok Heather thanks
I am happy to fit this in, in due course.”
There are, of course, redacted lines which we are not allowed to see, on the grounds they are “internal communications”. But the sense is clear.
Did that meeting ever take place? David Lock Associates asked for it on 25 October, but it isn’t on the list of meetings which took place in 2013, which was revealed at the last meeting of the Council. Whether it took place or not, the Council officers weren’t reluctant to attend.
The weasel word, of course, is “currently” in the first quote above. We know that a review of the Local Plan is underway. The housing target is being revisited. And if it is revised significantly upwards, then land is going to have to be found to build those houses on.
Kempton Park is “currently” Green Belt. But if that were to change …
It isn’t just The Jockey Club who are pressing hard for the housing target to be increased. Other developers are also pushing and prodding for it to happen, and for Green Belt to be “released” for development.
But why should our Local Plan be hijacked by developers. The risk is that the review of the Local Plan will be the battleground where the future – not just of Kempton Park – but of the whole Borough, will be won or lost.
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Regards, as always
for Keep Kempton Green