New version of Local Plan published
New Local Plan Puts the Environment and the Next Generation First
Mole Valley District Council published the final stage of the Local Plan on 7 September, prior to its debate in Council on 15 September 2021.
District Councillor, Margaret Cooksey the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Planning said,
"We listened to residents' comments on the previous, draft Local Plan and have revised it, so far as the Government will allow, to produce a Plan that protects what makes our area so beautiful and puts the next generation first."
In the amended Local Plan, the Liberal Democrats have committed to:
- tough policies for planning consents that safeguard our area from unacceptable and uncontrolled development;
- measures that will help young people to live in the area where they grew up, such as requirements for a significant number of houses for rent, including the low social rent levels as well as more shared ownership schemes;
- stronger "climate change" policies requiring major developments to be zero carbon and ground-breaking regulations for 20% net biodiversity gains;
- strong infrastructure programmes to support the new homes, such as new health centres, community facilities, traffic measures and flood protections; and
- protections for our air and water quality, agriculture, heritage and landscapes.
Margaret Cooksey continued,
"As promised, we challenged the Government's housing targets for Mole Valley and the revised Plan now aims for far fewer houses and flats than previously - down 100 per year from a projected 453 per year to 353.
"This success has allowed us to remove many of the Green Belt sites that residents rightly objected to in the previous draft - every one of those sites was included as a direct result of the Conservatives' call for developers to identify Green Belt sites when they controlled the Council in December 2017.
"The Liberal Democrats identified much more brownfield land, increasing the share allocated for development from 29% to 51%. Regrettably, some Green Belt sites remain because we simply do not have enough redevelopment sites to fulfil the Government's continuing housing demands - demands that far exceed the projected population growth for our area.
"Some have suggested that we should solve the numbers problem by concreting over Leatherhead and Dorking with tower blocks but we have resisted such pressure and sought to provide a balance of protections for our urban and rural areas, wherever we can."
Cllr Cooksey concluded, "When I present the revised Local Plan to the District Council for approval, it will be a fairer, greener, more caring Local Plan with fewer houses, with dramatically reduced Green Belt development, with climate change protections and with provisions for the next generation at its heart. If approved at Council, there will be a further short period for comments before this plan, which we can be proud of, goes forward to the Government Inspectorate for their authorisation."