Martin Fisher – Press Release 23 Oct 16

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The interpretation given by OLRG concerning the documents being issued on the Local Plan is frankly misleading. Conservatives want to conserve the Green Belt and character of our area and not build houses on unsuitable sites.

I do agree with one comment made by OLRG that exceptional circumstances are the only basis for changing the Green Belt boundaries and raising money is not one of them. So that cannot, by definition, be the Council’s financial strategy.

The Local Plan is about gaining evidence to present to an Inspector. We are launching a sites consultation which is an opportunity for residents to comment on individual sites submitted to the Council for consideration.

One piece of work already completed is the Green Belt assessment. This has been carried out on the Green Belt in Tandridge and apart from isolated sites such as Clacket Lane, Hobbs and Lambs Business Parks, the vast majority of our Green Belt meets at least one of the five purposes of the Green Belt.

This gives added protection and is good evidence to lay before an inspector. On an individual sites basis this is demonstrated by a red ring around the site not the infill colour which relates to landscape and ecology.

Each site has now been through an initial landscape and ecology assessment, but we would particularly welcome measured comment or evidence on those sites which “need more investigation before a decision can be made either way”.

The Sites Consultation is underpinned by evidence which can be used to protect the Green Belt in the long term.

This consultation does not make any decisions about if and where land could be allocated for development and does not make decisions that alter the boundary of the Green Belt.

Work on our badly needed infrastructure requirement will commence once the sites assessment has been completed which is a logical approach.

Our Local Plan must be good enough to manage development up to 2033 and help us balance the urgent need for affordable housing, against preserving the character of the area and the Green Belt, which we know is so highly valued by the community.

It must reflect the needs and priorities of the local community and support an environment where people want to live, work and visit.

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