Open letter from Keith Jecks, Chair of the Planning Policy Committee

At the Planning Policy Committee on 3 July councillors approved the draft Local Plan. This means we can proceed with a final Draft Local Plan Consultation, after which we will take any final comments and amendments into account before submitting the plan to the government in January 2019.

It was a robust and challenging debate with every councillor pushing to get the best possible outcomes for the residents in their ward. It was good to see all four political parties working well together to make sure we set a course for this district which is positive and delivers the new infrastructure we need.

There were some important amendments proposed and agreed at the meeting. We have agreed new dates for the Draft Local Plan Consultation (Regulation 19) which will now take place from 9am on 30 July, to 5pm on 10 September. This will give all councillors extra time to scrutinise the potential changes made in the new Local Plan which could remove the existing detailed planning policies, which Planning Officers will use to determine future applications from developers.

Another important amendment was agreed to make sure a substantial number of homes in the Garden Community at South Godstone are made available to local people. At least 1,000 of the new homes will be genuinely affordable including council houses, shared ownership, self-build and other rented homes over which the Council can determine who will get priority, so we can be certain we are building homes for our own residents.

As well as the additional housing which will make it more realistic for our residents to buy homes in the district, the Local Plan will deliver two new primary schools, a new secondary school, improvements to the A22 (from and including its junction with the M25 to help keep traffic moving from Caterham to Felbridge), a new doctors’ surgery, flood relief measures in Caterham, Whyteleafe and Smallfield, better rail connections and improvements to parking facilities.

The plan will also generate thousands of new jobs, many of which will be high value jobs, by allocating a significant amount of employment space, as well as encouraging the development of existing employment sites.

We appreciate the Local Plan contains a lot of detail – over 5,000 pages – and there is a lot of complex information to take in. There are fact sheets available for every ward at www.tandridge.gov.uk to support your understanding and you can always contact me at cllr.keith.jecks@tandridgedc.gov.uk.

The meeting is available to view on our TDC’s website www.tandridge.gov.uk/webcast and will remain on there for six months.