After a hard-fought battle to stop the opening up of our local Green Belt to development, we are pleased to see the Lib Dems that run the Council finally back down following our lengthy campaign with local residents to demand the Green Belt is protected.
For years, we have made clear that developers cannot be allowed to build on our Green Belt. Once it’s built on, it’s lost forever.
Without a robust Local Plan in place, Elmbridge will be vulnerable to developers building the wrong houses in the wrong places. This makes the Council's Local Plan an absolutely critical document.
The new draft Local Plan will be considered at Elmbridge Borough Council's next cabinet meeting on the 16th of March and then at a Full Council meeting on the 22nd March. After this there will be a period of consultation and a full review by a planning inspector. This need to be the start of much-needed, robust protection for our green spaces. Local Conservatives, with the backing of our local MP, will continue to fight for our Green Belt. There is still a long road ahead.
Cllr John Cope, Leader of Elmbridge Conservatives, said:
In 2016 the Liberal Democrat-led Elmbridge Council put forward a draft Local Plan that included building on our Green Belt - even when 85% of residents were against this approach. It is therefore fantastic news that they have finally backed down following a lengthy campaign to protect the local Green Belt by Conservative councillors, local residents, and our MP.
In the place of the 2016 proposals that allocated huge areas of Green Belt for development, the Council's revised draft plan, published this week, accepts the Conservative proposals from 2018 that allows more affordable houses by using brownfield sites while still protecting the Green Belt.
This overdue u-turn needs to be the start of a cross party agreement on protecting and improving local green spaces. There is still a long road ahead, with the Council still needing to get design codes in place so any new buildings are beautiful by design and fit with the community. Much more consideration also needs to be given to the environmental impact of local development, with the Council making next to no progress on Net Zero and increasing local biodiversity.