Chris Grayling MP and the Local Plan
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An update from Councillor Alex Coley on the largest and longest unconference
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The below text is in response to a recent update from Chris Grayling MP regarding the requirement, set on Epsom and Ewell, to build 11,000 properties. Mr Grayling’s article can be found on his website here.
Response from Councillor Richard Baker (Stamford Ward)
We are all agreed that countrywide we need to build more homes for the people who work and live here, as Chris Grayling MP has just written in a message to his constituents. I also appreciate Mr. Grayling’s contribution and would agree we, the Borough Council, have to look at many different sites as possible areas for redevelopment into residential housing.
However, as a local councillor, I have to take issue with him on a number of points he has raised. Firstly, no local councillors are proposing that we build on Horton Country Park. This is simply not going to happen, at least not at the instigation of the Borough Council. Secondly, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council is fully apprised of which places might prove suitable for redevelopment. Mr Grayling implies that somehow the local council and councillors have been sitting idly by and doing nothing, which is the exact opposite of the truth. We are even now drawing up a detailed local plan which we will present to the government and which will seek to protect such prized local assets as Horton Country Park and Epsom Common.
Thirdly, it is central government with its absurd assessment of local housing needs which is pressing EEBC to consider all possibilities, including building on our precious green belt. Sajid Javid, the government minister responsible, and his department have come up with the ridiculous figure of 579 homes to be built in each of the next 20 years in the Borough, when we currently construct 181 homes each year on average. The former figure would mean over 11’000 homes would have to be built between now and 2038, increasing the local population by a quarter to over 100’000. This would ineradicably alter the character and beauty of the place in which we all live and we all want to live. And Chris Grayling is a member of the same government which is advocating this approach. So does he support the government figure of 579 homes to be built in each of the next 20 years in his constituency? Or will he support the efforts of local councillors and residents to limit the number of new homes to be built to a sustainable level that preserves the unique inheritance which we would all like to pass on to our children and grandchildren?