Spelthorne Local Plan - Your input is needed

November 16, 2019 1:16 PM
Originally published by Spelthorne Liberal Democrats

Spelthorne Local PLanOn 5th November Spelthorne launched its 9-week consultation on its Local Plan. Over the next 15 years Spelthorne is planning to build nearly 10,000 new homes and this will completely change the character of parts of the borough. Spelthorne has a target to build at least 603 new homes per year for the next 15 years.

If you care about where you live you should take a close look at the Plan and tell the Council what you think about it. Details of how to provide your views are on the Council's website https://www.spelthorne.gov.uk/

Local Liberal Democrats recognise the national need for more housing, but we do not believe that it is reasonable for Spelthorne to have to accept the target that has been imposed by central government. The specified target for Spelthorne of a net 603 new homes per year is far too high for the borough to be able to accommodate.

There are two particular concerns that local Liberal Democrats have:

  1. We are concerned that the character of the area will be changed by the increasing urbanisation that will be brought on by a nearly 25% increase in the number of dwellings.
  2. The local infrastructure barely copes with the present level of population. The roads are inadequate, the health service over-stretched and more schools will be needed. None of this has yet to be planned for and the track-record indicates are that delivery will not meet the need.

The Borough Bulletin, scheduled for delivery in the first week of December, will include an 8-page supplement on the Plan. The consultation runs until 7th January and we would encourage you to look at it and for everyone who has any concerns to give feedback to the Council.

The Council is obliged to demonstrate 5 years housing supply. Failure to do so would mean that Spelthorne Borough Council would lose control over the granting of planning permissions and developers would be able to more easily push through low quality developments. It is essential that a legally "sound" Plan is created for the Council to retain control over the local environment.

The allocation of sites for building on in the draft Plan makes provision for 4,320 new homes on 54 sites. Of this total 1,650 are planned to be built on Green Belt land, involving the loss of 56 hectares of land in 29 locations.

The number of units (houses and flats) to be built in each Spelthorne Ward are shown below:

Local Plan allocation numbers

The Ward with greatest loss of Green Belt planned is Halliford and Sunbury West, which will lose 14 hectares for 446 units. All the building planned for Staines involves the re-use of brown-field sites, including redevelopments of the Elmsleigh Centre and the Debenhams site.

The Plan only covers the major sites proposed and does not include windfall sites or smaller potential applications.

The Local Plan also includes details of sites that have been rejected at this stage. A total of 83 sites have been refused, of which 54 are currently Green Belt, covering about 600 hectares of land. A further 29 hectares of brown-field land were rejected. The reasons for rejection are set out in the Plan Allocations document.

The good news is that the Council have not allocated any part of Kempton Park for houses. The landowner has suggested that 3,000 homes could be built on Kempton and they are likely to argue for this very strongly when the Plan is considered by an Inspector; a stage of the process before the Plan comes into effect. Any of the developers with an interest in a rejected site can argue for that site during the inspection phase. Given the huge potential value of some of the sites (e.g. Kempton Park is 93 hectares and was proposed for 3,000 units), it is to be expected that developers will try very hard to get them into the final Plan. Local Liberal Democrats will be fighting any attempt to further erode the Green Belt.

We are opposed to the overdevelopment of the borough in general and are very concerned that this new Local Plan will fundamentally change the character of the area. We will do our best to keep you informed via our regular FOCUS leaflets.

Local Plan on website https://www.spelthorne.gov.uk/localplan

Preferred options document can be found here. This is a large document but has maps of all the sites, both included in the Plan and rejected.

Maps are available online at https://www.spelthorne.gov.uk/ via mySpelthorne

The new Local Plan has been compiled by the Conservative majority group in private with no opportunity provided for any opposition groups to contribute.