THE STORY SO FAR
WHAT'S GOING ON?
In early 2017 Elmbridge Borough Council (EBC) consulted residents on its Strategic Options for a new Local Plan. In this consultation, the Council’s preferred option proposed to declassify three areas of ‘weakly performing’ Green Belt to allow for large scale housing developments.
Our local Green Belt was one of these three areas (‘Area 58’). Its classification as ‘weakly performing’ seems to be solely based on a questionable report, in which the area was misrepresented.
During the 2017 consultation, 91% of those who replied (across Elmbridge) opposed building on the Green Belt.
However, a number of things took place during and after that period. There were changes to timelines and policies, changes to the methodology in which the Government calculates housing numbers, changes to the National Planning Policy (NPPF) and a change of administration at Elmbridge Borough Council.
We now face a second consultation with five Options:
Option 1 – Intensify Urban Area
Option 2 – Optimise Urban Area and 3 Areas of Green Belt Release (including the Green Belt in Long Ditton/Hinchley Wood)
Option 3 – Optimise Urban Area and Large Green Belt Release (including the Green Belt in Long Ditton/Hinchley Wood)
Option 4 – Optimise Urban Area
Option 5 – Optimise Urban Area and Small Areas of Green Belt Release (including the Green Belt in Long Ditton/Hinchley Wood)
Although EBC say they have listened, only one of those options (Option 4), protects the Green Belt and encourages sensible, efficient and in-keeping urban development.
Option 4 is our preferred option and we recommend that all residents, who agree with protecting and preserving Stokes Field Nature Reserve, One Tree Hill and the rest of the Hinchley Wood and Long Ditton Green Belt, that they select Option 4 in the consultation questionnaire.
We appreciate that not every resident will agree with us and we respect that there will be different views. We are simply trying to represent the majority of residents based on the last consultation response from residents, and given that little has changed, we are confident that we continue to represent the majority.
Our local Green Belt "Area 58"
WHY WOULD IT BE IRRESPONSIBLE TO OFFER UP GREEN BELT IN ELMBRIDGE?
The Green Belt within the M25 is already fragmented, and is performing its main purpose well.
It sets a precedent.
Green spaces are good for health and wellbeing, and counter the impact of pollution. This will become even more important given the potential impacts of the London Plan (development of Kingston/ Tolworth), Heathrow expansion and Crossrail 2.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO PROTECT OUR VALUABLE PIECE OF GREEN BELT?
Every resident has a voice and it must be heard. Please participate in the consultation.
In addition, the Save HWLD Green Belt team is fundraising to put a second level of protection (Village Green Status) on part of the area known as Stokes Field and One Tree Hill. Find out how you can help fund the fight.