The regular quarterly meeting of the Planning Department with the various Spelthorne Residents’ Associations was held last Monday evening. At the request of the Associations, the main item for discussion was the review of our Local Plan, which we first became aware of when we were given numerous copies of the documents discussed by the Local Plan Working Party on 3 September.
John Brooks, Head of Planning, sought to quieten the deep unease which a number of Associations have about this review. There was a full and frank exchange of views on the subject. He did not succeed.
Ultimately it comes down to whether the Council is prepared to comply with the obligation it has to work with residents – right from the beginning of the process. There are a number of pieces of legislation which set out this obligation of transparency. But it is best summed up by the Practical Planning Guidance published by central government – guidance intended to explain the practical implementation of the National Planning Policy Framework, in particular paragraph 007, shown in full in Document 73 attached. The relevant section is shown below (our highlighting):
Housing and economic development needs assessments
The approach to assessing need
Paragraph: 007 Reference ID: 2a-007-20140306
With whom do local planning authorities need to work?
Local communities, partner organisations, Local Enterprise Partnerships, businesses and business representative organisations, house builders, parish and town councils, designated neighbourhood forums preparing neighbourhood plans and housing associations should be involved from the earliest stages of plan preparation, which includes the preparation of the evidence base in relation to development needs.
Two points need to be made:
Firstly, the phrase “work with” means, specifically , a more collaborative process than the standard consultation exercise where the public is presented with a finished document, and some tinkering around the edges may be allowed. It means, specifically, that the public has a right to have a more direct input into actually compiling that document.
Secondly, the papers discussed by the Local Plan Working Party on 3 September indicate that substantive work has already been done on the “preparation of the evidence base”. i.e. the public should have been involved already.
We await the response of the Council as to how they are going to incorporate this obligation in the work programme for the remainder of the review.
With regards to Kempton Park, the 69 CCTV cameras which suddenly appeared last week disappeared 24 hours later. The pairs of traffic counting cables which have been spread throughout Sunbury and Hampton since 21 September have also been taken away. The little blue air quality diffusion tubes, however, are still there.
Both Surrey CC Highways and The Jockey Club have confirmed that all this equipment was used for the traffic survey conducted by Mouchel in connection with the proposed development of 1500+ homes at Kempton Park. Similar work at the Hampton Triangle was carried out at the behest of Redrow Homes, who were granted the right of first refusal by The Jockey Club over 70 acres of land on the Kempton Park estate.
Donations to the Keep Kempton Green Fighting Fund can now be made through PayPal. Just go to http://www.losra.org, scroll down a little, and click on the button marked “Donate to the Keep Kempton Green Fund”. You can also donate by cheque. Please make your cheque payable to LOSRA and send it to:
20 Green Street, Sunbury, TW16 6RN
As you would expect, the identity of all donors will be kept confidential.
Remember: Keep Kempton Green began as a campaign to protect Green Belt at Kempton Park. That campaign has now been forced to expand to protect Green Belt throughout Spelthorne, which is at risk in this review of our Local Plan. This threat is against the whole Borough.
Visit us at http://www.keepkemptongreen.com, Like our Facebook page, and Follow us on Twitter (links to both on the website). Leave your comments at all three.
Kind regards, and thank you very much in advance for your generosity.
Keep Kempton Green