Home Truths #3

Sites at risk from Local Plan delay

We have already seen that the housing target of 611 dwellings per annum for this Borough, sent down from Whitehall, is not going to be reduced.

( see https://keepkemptongreen.com/2022/03/10/home-truths-1 )

We have also seen that there are sanctions for not meeting this target, and for not having a Local Plan in place, showing how the Borough is going to meet that target of 611 per annum.

( see https://keepkemptongreen.com/2022/03/19/hometruths-2 )

So far, two sites have fallen foul of this lack of a Local Plan.

One site, the Old Telephone Exchange in Staines, was already earmarked for development under the draft Local Plan. However, the planning application – brought forward early by Inland Homes – was rejected by the Spelthorne Planning Committee on the grounds of bad design and lack of on-site parking. Nevertheless, the Planning Inspector hearing the developer’s Appeal granted their application, because we do not have a Local Plan.

The other site, the Bugle site, had been assessed by the two Arup studies into our Green Belt as “Strongly performing Green Belt” which makes “an important contribution to the wider strategic Green Belt”. Nevertheless, the Planning Inspector hearing the Appeal granted the application, because we do not have a Local Plan.

The Bugle site is one of the sites listed in the table (click here) from the Preferred Options documentation, part of the existing Local Plan that is being delayed by party-political game-playing at the Council. We have outlined it in red on page 81 . *

This list comprises those sites which have been considered for development but excluded from the Local Plan, for various reasons (shown in the table).

All of these sites – Green Belt and Brownfield – are now at risk. So long as we have no Local Plan, it is now open season for developers, knowing full well that the Planning Inspectorate will tilt a decision in their favour.

Groveley Road, anyone. Tadmor Close, perhaps. Kempton Park? There are sites in Ashford, Laleham, Shepperton, Staines, Stanwell and Sunbury – 75 of them, in all. Take your pick.

Check the list for a site or sites in your area, and then ask your local councillor why they are at risk. (You know the answer, of course. It’s because we do not have a Local Plan.)

It is all very well to portray oneself as a defender of every bit of Green Belt, at the same time devoted to stopping all high-rise development. Those two can’t be achieved together, unless the housing target changes. It’s just simple arithmetic. And that housing target is not going to change, full stop. (A subject to which we will return next week.) And finally, if the targets don’t change, you can’t just ignore them – as we have seen, there are serious consequences.

So this is gesture politics, and is already having precisely the opposite result.

Talk about shooting oneself in the foot…

* All the Preferred Options documents can be read at

https://spelthorne.gov.uk/article/19901/Preferred-Options-Consultation-documents

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