Allotments site removed from Local Plan
The revised Local Plan cuts proposed development on Green Belt around Leatherhead.
The Conservatives' call in 2017 for landowners to propose Green Belt sites for development identified several sites for consideration in the consultation carried out in Jan-Mar 2020. The Liberal Democrats introduced stricter criteria on what land could be removed from the Green Belt and as a result many of these sites are now removed, including the Land North & South of Barnett Wood Lane (including the allotments), land to the rear of 5-33 Randalls Road, land behind Tescos, and two smaller sites at Ash House & Jonaki House and adjacent to Crestawood.
Moreover the site off Clare Crescent has been reduced in size going down from 150 new dwellings to just 16. So the proposed housing in the Green Belt around Leatherhead has been cut from 945 dwellings to 44.
In addition the enhanced Green Belt protection has confirmed the unacceptability of two large sites proposed by landowners either side of Headley Road (745 houses) and a number of other sites South of Leatherhead (262 houses). These were not included in the Jan-Mar 2020 consultation.
Housing allocation concentrates on brownfield/town centre sites
In order to achieve the revised housing targets, development within Leatherhead is now more concentrated on brownfield or town centre sites. The following development sites remain in the plan:
- Bull Hill reduced from 450 to 300 dwellings;
- Swan Centre increased from 55 to 150 dwellings;
- Sorting Office/Telephone Exchange remains at 95 dwellings;
- 36-69 Randalls Road, cut slightly from 45 to 44 dwellings;
- River Lane - 3 new gypsy/traveller pitches on the existing permitted site;
Some residential development of 40 houses is anticipated at the Community Hospital as part of the redevelopment to improve healthcare facilities
The local plan also reflects additional sites with housing based on recent planning applications for office to residential conversions
- Claire House & James House - 35 dwellings
- Food International site - 214 dwellings
- Connect, Designer & Trident Houses - 75 dwellings
Putting all of this together the Local Plan provides for 969 new dwellings in Leatherhead (including 324 already with permission for conversion from offices) compared to 1545 included in the Jan-Mar 2020 consultation. This reduction in the pressure for new houses reflects our decision to challenge the unreasonable housing targets placed on our area by the Conservative government.
Infrastructure plans to accommodate the increased population
Whilst the reduced number of planned new dwellings will significantly cut the pressure on local services, the supporting Infrastructure Delivery Plan will address a wide range of identified needs.
Some of these will be requirements on specific development sites:
- Bull Hill will provide commercial/business & service uses plus community space that can accommodate early years' education, and car parking;
- The Swan Centre will contribute to diversification of town centre uses;
- The Community Hospital will deliver a local Health Hub incorporating primary and/or community healthcare facilities;
- Claire House & James House will provide a café or community use;
- 100 new car parking spaces will be provided by the Railway station.
Other infrastructure projects that have been identified in the Leatherhead area include a range of highways improvements, including better provision for cyclists, accessible routes to the railway station and between platforms, the Riverside park improvements, various new play facilities, upgrades to the High Street and a potential upgrade to the waste water network to handle demands from increased housing.
Leatherhead Town Centre
The new version of the Local Plan includes a specific policy for Leatherhead Town centre, which includes:
- A healthy and sustainable future for the commercial heart of the town;
- Delivery of the Transform Leatherhead programme;
- Conserving and enhancing the distinctive character of the Conservation Area;
- Provision of necessary infrastructure