Save Our Villages and Our Green Belt!
As we reported recently, Elmbridge Borough Council’s (EBC’s) consultation on the new local plan starts on Monday 19th August at 9am and finishes on 30th September 2019. To take part in the consultation you must first register at www.consult.elmbridge.gov.uk and to attend EBC’s public briefing meeting on Monday 2nd September 2019, go to www.elmbridge.gov.uk/localplan.
It is really important that we all take this chance to comment on number, density and siting of new housing, the need to protect our green belt and green spaces from development and the necessity of adding appropriate infrastructure not just houses!
We set up the Cobham Green Belt Group to act as an umbrella bringing together our group and other local groups concerned about these issues so that we could all speak with one voice. Cobham Heritage is strongly represented on this group by four of our Trustees including Adrian Wise, one of our planning officers who is its chair. Please register for updates from them at www.cobhamgreenbelt.org.uk. This group includes Cobham Heritage and also the Chamber of Commerce, the resident’s associations of Cobham & Downside, Stoke D’Abernon and Oxshott and some other local interest groups. It is important we send a strong, single message to Elmbridge for our community.
EBC will offer five options in their consultation that includes one that would double our local population in only 15 years by building 16,000 new houses including a disproportionate share of them in Cobham, Oxshott, Downside and Stoke D’Abernon. These would be built over intensively in the built up areas and on our Green Belt, playing fields, allotments and other green spaces. Others options are almost as bad. Their Option 4 proposes no loss of Green Belt and the fewest houses - thus the smallest number of new people with the least impact on our roads, parking, pollution, schools, doctors, the environment, etc., but even this option with massively increased density is very far from straightforward.
We will be issuing further guidance on how you might choose to respond to the questionnaire as this develops over the next few weeks. The path to a local plan will be extremely contentious and we anticipate we may well end up in the law courts like in Guildford. So I cannot stress more strongly the need to get engaged in the forthcoming consultation and register with EBC as indicated at the beginning of this email. We are lucky to have such an experienced team with the legal backing to guide us as we move forward.
Please engage in the consultation and inform your neighbours as it sets the course for our community for the next 15 years.