Local Plan: RA position on government target to build 11,580 homes in Epsom and Ewell
An update from Councillor Alex Coley on the largest and longest unconference
A local resident is looking for donations of surplus apples from back gardens
Welcome to the environment update for August 2018. July has been a
A leaflet has recently been distributed by one of our opposition parties containing unsubstantiated allegations about the Borough Council’s approach to the Local Plan and housing numbers. The below text is an update from the Epsom and Ewell Group of Residents’ Associations Councillors setting out how they are dealing with a problem forced upon us by central government.
- The Government has imposed a target for Epsom & Ewell which has increased from 181 last year to 579 houses a year in the future. That equates to another 11,580 houses over 20 years, an increase of 25-30%, and an expected 30,000 people to be accommodated in those new homes.
- Epsom & Ewell is the most densely populated borough in Surrey with 44% of the land already urban build. The UK average is just 6%.
Where can 11,580 houses possibly go?
Your RA Councillors fully accept the need for the right homes, particularly those built to meet the
current shortage of affordable rented and three bedroom homes. However, they have to be built in
the right places. They also need to be built with appropriateinfrastructure in place such as schools, roads, doctors’ surgeries and other local services.
Central Government has said that:
Lack of infrastructure is not a bar to meeting housing targets. Government inspectors will be able to overrule councils who fail to meet their targets
RA Borough Councillors do not believe that we should be forced into building unsustainably, and on
our green belt, because of the Government’s arbitrary and unreasonable target. We cannot allow the future of Epsom & Ewell to be shaped by unelected inspectors who have no interest in maintaining the character of our borough or listening to our residents..
What are the Residents’ Association Councillors doing?
- We are committed to producing the required Epsom & Ewell Local Plan but with housing numbers and sites that take account of current and future infrastructure, and which reflects the character of the borough and the aspirations of our residents.
- We are seeking legal advice to help us defend our Green Belt and have met with the Ministry of
Housing, Communities and Local Government to set out our case that the extreme shortage of
land within the Borough means their target is likely to prove unattainable.
- We have commissioned an independent Green Belt Study which we believe will show that most
of the green belt in Epsom & Ewell is performing well and therefore needs to be protected.
- We will put our case to the Government for not building on key areas of the Borough (such as
the Green Belt), continuing our long record of robustly defending our much valued open spaces.
- We have already identified sites in our Borough where more housing could be built; sites with
planning permission not yet activated, and brown field sites in our main commercial areas.
- We have looked at how we might build higher and more densely in some places, but we strongly
object to being forced into changing the distinctiveness of the different parts of our borough.
- Since February we have been working on a master plan for the Borough which will set out
where it is appropriate for housing to grow, and what that growth and development should look
like in order to retain the quality of our urban environment.