Green Councillors secure brownfield site review

Reigate & Banstead Borough Council’s draft Development Management Plan is out for consultation – and threatens to allow a house-building boom in the Green Belt to meet high developer demand.

We have fought the idea of housing in the Green Belt throughout the long process of writing and rewriting this draft Plan.

Our detailed response to the last consultation suggested extra sites in the urban area where houses could be built instead of in the countryside (see pages 19-23). The Council appears not to have considered all of these. 

At the Council meeting on 14 December 2017, the Green Councillors tabled an Amendment to a Recommendation from the Council Executive to endorse the submission of the draft Development Management Plan. The Conservative Councillors didn’t vote for our Amendment, but made some changes and a new Amendment was passed based on the Greens’ version. This means the Council will now consider extra brownfield sites and review and recommend sites in the urban area to the Inspector. But sadly the bit about making representations to the government to secure a lower overall housing target was deleted, and our call for stronger action to ensure developers provide genuinely affordable housing was watered down.

Councillor Essex said, “The upcoming consultation is our last chance to have our say – and get the idea of ‘urban extensions’ in the Green Belt deleted from the Council’s plan.

“The idea of covering ever greater areas of our countryside with housing estates, instead of protecting our Green Belt is very unpopular – yet despite all the objections and representations, the ‘urban extensions of Redhill and Reigate’ have stayed in the Local Plan.

“The Council sees building out into the countryside as the only way to accommodate the high housing target agreed with the Government. Yet we and others have suggested ways that housing could be accommodated on various brownfield sites.

“We wanted the Council to make representations to the government to secure a lower overall housing target – and to make more of the new housing truly affordable to meet local housing need – yet they are not willing to do this.

“While they were unwilling to look into how we will provide the genuinely affordable housing that is needed locally, the leading Conservative group remains more than happy to meet the market ‘need’ pushed for by developers.”

Brownfield registers miss land that could provide new homes 

Local authorities are required to publish brownfield land registers. These should help give an accurate picture of the land available for development without losing countryside. Read Reigate and Banstead’s brownfield register here.

A new report by CPRE finds that across England, local councils are failing to account for small brownfield sites that could provide space for an extra 188,734 homes.

Cllr McKenna said, “The CPRE highlighted that England has the highest amount of Green Belt sites under threat from housebuilding since the 1980s, while the brownfield site registers have missed out on smaller sites where some 188,000 houses could be provided. We need to focus on such brownfield sites locally and protect our Green Belt.” [3]


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