Last evening a couple of Spelthorne residents attended the Planning Committee of Runnymede Borough Council. (My goodness, we know how to live).
On the agenda was an item involving the SHMA Joint Member Liaison Group. SHMA means “Strategic Housing Market Assessment”. It is “Joint” because Runnymede and Spelthorne have included themselves in the same Strategic Housing Area. Basically, housing needs in one Borough cannot be determined in isolation, and must have regard to housing need in other Boroughs in the same Strategic Housing Area.
For example, Runnymede may not have the land to accommodate their housing needs, and Spelthorne will have to see whether they can help out. And vice versa. This is all necessary because central government has imposed on Local Planning Authorities a Duty to Consult.
The Runnymede agenda item asked the Planning Committee to approve the Terms of Reference for this newly created Group, which first met on 16 December 2014. (See Document 93 attached). All very anodyne stuff. There was a desultory discussion, and the Terms of Reference were duly approved. All done in public.
Being a Joint Group, Spelthorne would also have to agree to the same Terms of Reference – exactly the same Terms of Reference, as otherwise the Joint Group could not work in practice, as each LPA would then have a different idea of what the Joint Group was supposed to do.
We were, however, very interested to learn that these Terms of Reference (see Document 93a attached) were discussed by Spelthorne at exactly the same time last evening. But at Spelthorne the discussion was held behind closed doors at a meeting of the Local Plan Working Party, and the pieces of paper (on which were printed precisely the same words as at Runnymede) were all marked, in very large type from corner to corner, CONFIDENTIAL.
We certainly can’t understand it. Have a look for yourself. What on earth on Document 93 could be CONFIDENTIAL? Perhaps one or other of you might like to ask this of the Council at the Public Meeting next Tuesday 3 February, at the London Irish Centre off Croysdale Avenue in Sunbury. Doors open 6:15 pm, presentation and Q&A session from 7:00pm.
And if you haven’t already done so, please sign the petition at http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/keepkemptongreen or follow the links at http://www.keepkemptongreen.com
Keep Kempton Green