5 December 2014
Cllr Vivienne Leighton, Cabinet member for Planning
Mr John Brooks, Head of Planning
Spelthorne Borough Council
By email to firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com
cc: Spelthorne Residents Associations, Spelthorne Borough Councillors
Dear Councillor Leighton, Mr Brooks
Local Plan Review
Thank you for your reply to our 25 November letter, and also the notice posted on the Spelthorne Council website on 1 December:
inviting the registration of interests for the Review of our Local Plan. Thank you for the publication with that notice of some of the documents we asked for in our previous letter.
You say in your reply that you envisage the timescale being “months, not weeks” before you will be able to confirm the arrangements the Council will put in place for consultation and involvement on the preparation of the new Local Plan.
It is clear from a number of documents which have come to light over past months that work has already been done towards the preparation of the evidence base for setting the housing target. Communities should therefore already have been involved, under the DCLG guidance that they “be involved from the earliest stages of plan preparation”.
Please could you explain why there should be further delay.
Further delay serves only to reinforce the idea, which is widespread amongst the residents of Spelthorne, that the Council is fully prepared to involve developers in the preparation of policy, and plans for construction projects, but will try their utmost to keep residents and local Councillors in the dark.
This certainly appears to have been Council practice in the recent past. Please see the attached email exchange between the then Head of Planning and various consultants to The Jockey Club, including the ubiquitous Mark Boyes of Aspire. In it, the then Head of Planning warns against saying anything “which might set hares running if someone picks up on this (Cllrs or a residents association)”. She then gives further tactical advice regarding his comments on the subject of Green Belt to David Keene (of David Lock Associates, Town and Urban Planning consultants to The Jockey Club), suggesting that his cause – and the Council’s – might be best served by him using “softer” language.
This is just one of many documents, dated into 2014, which prove this point.
for Keep Kempton Green