Local Plan U-Turn. Conservatives force high rises into towns and villages
The Tandridge Conservative administration have u-turned on the local plan removing important protection from over-development and increased density in towns and villages.
Cllr Alun Jones says, “The previous consultations have shown that we need more homes to be built. This was to be done using a combination of a garden village, a few sensible sites released from the green belt and some brown field sites meaning we would not increase density in our existing towns and villages. In the final report this protection has been removed.”
Explicit rules restricting back garden grabbing and protecting wooded hillsides have disappeared. In fact density targets have been set to “optimise” land usage, which simply means more flats built even higher. This will impact Whyteleafe, Caterham Valley and Hill, Lingfield and parts of Oxted and Hurst Green.
Annette Evans local resident of Harestone in Caterham Valley says, “The plan also lists 150 homes to be built on public land in Caterham, but doesn’t say where. Is it the library? Is it the police station? Is it the hospital? We need to know.”
The Lib Dems demanded a pause so councillors could review the 4000 plus pages of the report to ensure protections were met, but the Conservatives overruled. The Conservative chair of the committee says he will listen to councillors’ concerns before going to full consultation but he voted down a proposal to do this in public.
Cllr Chris Botten Lib Dem Leader at Tandridge says, “This plan is vital. We must both get it right and be seen to get it right. Residents will be rightly concerned that decisions are being made behind closed doors without proper democratic scrutiny.”