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P1010814 smAt Thursday’s heated Full Council meeting the Local Liberal Democrat group proposed that the Caterham Masterplan should be referred back to Planning Policy Committee due to the issues with the document that a substantial number of local residents had raised.

Cllr Alun Jones said, “All was asked for was this important plan to be looked at again to address the key issues before coming into force. The Conservative group refused to listen.”

These issues included insufficient flood prevention on the Hill and Valley, parking issues in Valley and the loss of office space. It has also since emerged that land owners who are now subjected to a threat of a Compulsory Purchase Order had not been fully informed during the drafting of the ill-thought plan despite assurances being given to the contrary that all landowners had been.

In the heated debate, local residents in the public gallery were shocked when a Caterham Conservative Councillor, who resides elsewhere, claimed Caterham had enough parking.

Councillor Alun Jones says “whilst the numbers do show that Caterham has enough parking, those of us who live in Caterham will know that the quality of the parking is appalling. There is also little flexibility in how long people can stay in the town with only short stay or all day possible with nothing in-between. Even then, all day parking is only available if you are prepared to do battle with the Station car park where almost everyone I know has had issues navigating up the ramps. Businesses and residents raise these issues with me all of the time. This could only be made worse with the proposal to build 200 flats on top of Church Walk and giving them 97 spaces, as outlined in the Design and Access Statement document submitted by the Church Walk developer.”

ChrisCouncillor Chris Botten says “the Atkins report regarding the flooding our residents have suffered hasn’t yet been completed. Any development without being clear on the impact it could have, could make our situation worse. The adoption of this plan is premature and these fundamental factors should be taken into account”

In a recorded vote, the Liberal Democrats were supported by the Independent Groups on the Council, but were out voted by the Conservative group by 30 votes against reviewing the plan - to 12 votes to re-address the residents’ concerns that have been raised repeatedly.

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