Tougher Green Belt criteria and reduced housing numbers in our villages; flood mitigation requirements imposed
A number of Green Belt sites had been identified for development following the call for such sites made by the Conservative-led administration in December 2017 and were included in the consultation carried out in Jan-Mar 2020.
The new Lib Dem administration has tightened the criteria for removing land from the Green Belt; as a result the large Kiln Lane site in Brockham with 44 proposed houses has been dropped from the plan.
The new criteria also confirmed the unsuitability of other potential sites in Brockham ensuring that Strood Green remains separate from Brockham and that two sites off Wheelers Lane will remain in the Green Belt.
- In Brockham, two sites remain: Tanners Meadow and the former sewage works. The number of houses is reduced from 91 to a more reasonable 36. At Tanners Meadow strict drainage systems will be required and in addition, open space and wetlands landscaping to cope with surface water.
- In Buckland, the sites are small and the building reduced from 13 to 11 dwellings with recommendations for 2- and 3-bedroomed house to improve the housing mix.
- In Betchworth, the housing numbers at the Bumble Bee Cottage site are reduced from 9 to 7 and the traveller/gypsy pitches from 5 to 4.
In response to our residents' feedback the plan has introduced infrastructure schemes to support development. There are strong flood mitigation requirements which are so important to our area. In Brockham, traffic calming measures are proposed in an Infrastructure Delivery Plan and there is a recommendation for a pedestrian refuge island on the A25.
Other key policy changes
As a designated rural area, there is opportunity for building more affordable homes, some of them for rent. Recommendations for some self-build plots have also been added. The increased emphasis for the lower "social" rents will be especially helpful for local people wishing to stay close to their families.
Our rural area will also benefit from new conditions relating to the protection of landscape views and the retention of mature trees and hedges.