Tories and the Independents choose not to challenge Government

February 5, 2020 4:09 PM

Mole Valley District Council Leader, Councillor Stephen Cooksey, invited all Council Members to sign a letter to the Prime Minster, Boris Johnson, in a further attempt to reduce the amount of new housing the government demands to be developed in Mole Valley and that letter will be sent on Wednesday 5th February.

Councillor Cooksey said "In 2016 the Government demanded that Mole Valley include provision for 3,500 houses in its draft Local Plan and in spring 2019 increased that demand to 6735 houses, with threats that it would remove all planning powers from the Council if it didn't comply. It is impossible to meet those demands without Green Belt development. As a Green Belt authority, and one with around 90% of the district either Green Belt or open countryside beyond the green belt, Mole Valley, more than most, is faced with difficult decisions when it comes to planning for future housing development and supporting infrastructure.

"However during an interview in Surrey last June while campaigning to become Leader of the Conservative Party, the Prime Minister made the following statement 'We should not be imposing targets on Councils that they are simply finding it impossible to meet without building on the Green Belt., so we have to be much more sensitive about what we are doing.'

"It is with renewed hope that the new government might be prepared to change track, that I have prepared the letter to the Prime Minister. We are requesting the government to follow the Prime Minister's response and reduce the amount of housing we are required to plan for, so that the scale of new housing development detailed in our draft Local Plan can be reduced accordingly."

"The letter has been signed by all 22 Liberal Democrat Councillors. It is disappointing however, that none of the Conservative or Independent Councillors have been prepared to sign. I can only assume that they are happy to support the numbers that the Government has imposed and the consequences for Green Belt development that would result."