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The LPWP and the Arup Green Belt Assessment

As part of the Review of our Local Plan, the council is required to undertake a Green Belt review. Part of this Green Belt review is an Assessment compiled by Arup, the engineering consultancy.

Spelthorne’s Local Plan Working Party (LPWP) met last Monday to discuss, amongst other things, the Arup Green Belt Assessment. The Assessment considers each parcel of Green Belt in the Borough as to how each fulfils the five purposes of Green Belt laid down in the National Planning Policy Framework, which are:

  • to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas
  • to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another
  • to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment
  • to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns
  • to assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land

The LPWP  has forwarded this Arup Assessment to the Council cabinet meeting on 22 November, for them to decide whether and when to put this Assessment in the public domain. On the assumption that it would be extremely difficult for the Council not to make it available – other nearby Boroughs have made their Green Belt Assessments public – we will publicise it as soon as we are able to.

The LPWP also considered a request from LOSRA – the Lower Sunbury Residents Association – that members of Borough residents groups be allowed to attend meetings of the LPWP as observers. This request comes against the background that:

* KKG won an appeal to the Information Tribunal, against the Information Commissioner and Spelthorne Borough Council, who both said that the Council was entitled to keep the proceedings of the LPWP confidential indefinitely. The Tribunal judge disagreed.

“ Spelthorne Council’s own rules as to access to meetings contains nothing that entitles them to exclude members of the public from meetings of the LPWP.

As we have come to expect, however, the LPWP would not accede to what we think is an entirely reasonable request. Secrecy, as the denizens of Westminster are finding out, breeds suspicion and contempt.

This is not the end of the matter, We’ll keep you posted.

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Any advance on 3000?

auctioneer

So there we have it – the shocking news that The Jockey Club wants to bulldoze a “highly profitable racecourse” (their own words) in order to make “in excess of £100 million” (their own words, again) by covering their Green Belt estate at Kempton Park in concrete.

And if The Jockey Club stands to make that sort of sum, then Redrow – The Jockey Club’s preferred developer – stands to make an absolute killing.

A few points:

a) First we found out that they wanted to build 1500 dwellings at Kempton Park. That soon became 2000  (although both The Jockey Club and their various consultants denied there was a figure, despite us having the documentary proof). And now, we’re told, they want to build 3000 units by using not just the open Green Belt on eastern half of their estate, but also by flattening the grandstands and digging up the racecourse itself.

Do we believe 3000 will be the final figure?

Frankly, no.

You can build far more than 3000 dwellings on a site that size.

b)  They say (see Redrow’s PR people’s email here) that their plans “could allow for the retention of a significant area of Green Belt, alongside the provision of other publically accessible on-site open space.”

What they really mean is they will apply for a smaller number of houses on a portion of the estate – probably where the grandstands are now –  and a few years hence will apply to build on what remains.

Tell us another one.

c)    “In addition to housing, the site could deliver significant improvements to the local road network, particularly at Sunbury Cross and has the potential to deliver a new school, health facilities, shops and other community facilities.”

Improvements to the local traffic network? 3000 dwellings = 6000 extra cars on the local roads at rush hour.

New schools? New health facilities? Even if we believed them (no such promises have been kept by any other developer in Sunbury) such promises are simply not in the gift of Redrow or The Jockey Club. Teachers, doctors and nurses are paid for by the local education authority or the NHS. Who believes that either of those bodies has the money to build and maintain new health centres and schools in Sunbury.

The Jockey Club and Redrow must have written their press releases with tongues firmly in cheeks, and their fingers in a collective cross behind their backs.

To be blunt, from an organisation of which the Queen is Patron, one expects better.

 

 

 

 

 

Surely not?!!

surrey-fire-brigade-sale-of-green-belt-land-colour

 

http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/spelthorne-fire-station-plans-delayed-11936389

No access to the site? No recruits for the part-time fire crew?

Surely not!

This was pointed out to our esteemed county councillors at the time, backed up with a complete data-based analysis. Two of our Sunbury county representatives scoffed at residents’ objections at the Surrey CC meeting where they pretended to deliberate on this issue – it had, of course, been decided upon some time before. One of them even shouted at us as we left the meeting: “Scaremongering! Where did you get all that inaccurate data?” The data came, of course, from the Council’s own report on this issue, which, needless to say, neither of them had bothered to read.

A piece of Green Belt lost to implement a plan which they simply had not thought through.

It beggars belief.

 

Kempton Park still on the hit list

safe-under-us-map

Dear Neighbour

A report – Safe Under Us? – released today by the London Green Belt Council and the Council for the Protection of Rural England, shows just how threatened the London Green Belt is.

The report lists a number of reasons why this is so, including the following:

Guidance on the government’s NPPF is causing Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) to inflate housing targets to questionably high levels, basing them upon speculative and in many cases invalid assumptions. It is these targets which underpin the Green Belt threats.

The report can be read by clicking here.

Also, have a look at the interactive map on the London Green Belt Council website, which shows the threatened sites around London:

http://londongreenbeltcouncil.org.uk/threats_map/

Kempton Park is there.

Kind regards

Keep Kempton Green