As you may have gathered by now, Spelthorne Council has just disseminated its Issues and Options document for consultation. The consultation will run until 25 June 2018.
The Issues and Options document sets out a menu of four approaches which the Council may take in deciding where to locate the housing and business premises which it is required to build to meet the targets set by Whitehall. The current housing target is 166 dwellings p.a. Central government now wants 590 dwellings p.a. to be built. The Council’s planners expect to be able to build 428 of those 590 on sites in the Borough outside the Green Belt and flood-risk areas, and at the current housing density guidelines.
It is the remaining 162 dwellings p.a. that cannot currently be catered for without increasing density levels or encroaching on Green Belt. That is what this consultation is about. The Council is asking for your views as residents.
The four Options are – very briefly – as follows:
- Meet all our need for housing, including affordable housing and Gypsy and Traveller pitches, employment and other development in the urban area without amending Green Belt boundaries.
- Release large areas of Green Belt for housing and other development.
- Focus new development opportunities in Staines-upon-Thames.
- A combination of the other three options.
Each if these Options has pros and cons. These are discussed more fully in the Issues and Options document. You may also have other ideas about the pros and cons of each. We urge you to read the document – it is an easy read – and think about your responses. We, KKG, will let you know our thinking at the beginning of June.
It is vitally important that you reply to this consultation, because there are two great elephant traps immediately ahead of us.
* It would be a huge mistake to assume that, because Councillors and officials are well aware of the strength of feeling about building houses on Kempton Park, we can leave it to them. We are now engaged in the formal process of Reviewing our Local Plan, and we must, formally, make these feelings known. If we don’t, we run the severe risk that our views will not be taken into account when it is decided where and how densely packed the new housing will be. We need to leave the Spelthorne planners, and the Planning Inspector who will conduct the Examination in Public of our new Local Plan in due course, in no doubt whatsoever
* It would also be a huge mistake to think that there is no point fighting development at Kempton Park, as it will all be decided in smoke-filled rooms out of public view.
If we had a pound for every occasion people had told us that it is futile fighting the developers and the planners, we could afford to buy the Kempton Park estate outright, and provide free ice-creams for life to the residents of this Borough with the loose change.
We began opposing this development five years ago, when we became aware that the plans for Kempton Park were, indeed, being discussed in smoke-filled rooms. Then, the Jockey Club assumed they would be finished building by now. But not a brick has been laid.
It is amazing what we can achieve if you put our minds to it. Responding to this Issues and Options consultation is part of that endeavour.
Watch www.keepkemptongreen.com where we will keep you up to date with developments.