The recent local elections may significantly change the development of the Local Plan. All parties are aware of the importance of having a new Local Plan in place as quickly as possible, but this time it has to be right first time, and the political drafting of the old Plan will go, and in its place a new evidence based plan, that needs to be properly financed. Until that Plan is in place the whole Borough is vulnerable to Speculative Development that cannot be opposed, with huge costs at Planning Appeals.
The consultation on the First Call For Sites resulted in a massive 4000 responses. The overwhelming single issue was that the Greenbelt must be preserved free from development, but with some agreeing that limited development in Greenbelt to give some needed housing to villages was essential.
This has resulted in a major change of direction for the new Local Plan, supported by Members and Officers, that will share development pressure across the Borough.
It is now agreed that the housing shortage is everywhere, not just confined to the Urban Areas. Every village and hamlet has a need for some housing for its own people, those trying to get on the property ladder, or get into decent homes. The Greenbelt must be defended at all costs, once it has gone it is gone forever. But perhaps we should look at small "nibbles" at Greenbelt boundaries where there is a clear need for local housing, and where a robust Letting Plan mean those houses satisfy local need, and not just dumped onto the national housing market.
There are 57 new Sites that will be added to the current 322 (below - Site Listings), and these will go out to Public Consultation with a Draft Local Plan in Spring 2024. In the meantime, Officers will be collecting evidence to support this change of direction, incorporating new Greenbelt and Open Space studies.
The Maps can be searched using either the site number, the postcode for the site, or the page nu
PUBLIC MEETING 14th October Borough Green Village Hall BGGC DRONE VIDEO
TMBC's scheme last time was to launch as a consultation "The Way Forward", effectively a draft Local Plan, which they theoretically amended to include all our concerns. The actual truth was it went forward unchanged and fell flat on its face.
So this time they are asking questions about every possible element that is needed to build the Local Plan, and they then theoretically draft a plan that reflects what we have said. But it is so hugely complex, with even the basic documents running to some 1300 pages - even I didn't read it all.
GREEN BELT STUDY This is where TMBC attempt to justify using Greenbelt Land in preference to other unconstrained sites in the Borough to push a large lump of their development needs into our little Green Corner
To be honest, I can't make head nor tail of their sustainability scoring, and as we are not yet commenting on specific sites, it makes sense to defer any comment on that until the Regulation 19 Consultation next year
INTERIM SUSTAINABILITY APPRAISAL Site List inc maps and locations
INTERIM SUSTAINABILITY REPORT Contains site list numbers and sustainability markers
KCC MINERALS AND WASTE SAFEGUARDING - TMBC AREA PLAN
TMBC AREA PLAN WROTHAM HEATH AREA EXTRACT - the redhatched area is safeguarded from development by essential Soft Sand Reserves