Dear Sir / Madam,
Between now and the 28th March, the Council is inviting views on its initial thoughts about reviewing the Green Belt boundary around Mole Valley’s towns and larger villages which are set out in a consultation paper.
I am writing to you as you have previously made comments on, or expressed an interest in, our plan making work.
We hope the following questions and answers help you to understand why the Green Belt boundary is being reviewed and how you can take part in the process.
What is the Green Belt?
Some 75% of
Mole Valley is within the Metropolitan Green Belt which surrounds . The current boundary of the Green Belt in London has been in place for around 30 years and in many areas over 50 years. The aim of Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open. Mole Valley
Why is the Council reviewing the Green Belt boundary?
Principally the need to review the boundary stems from the fact that the Council needs to make sure there is enough land available for 3,760 new homes in the period from 2006 to 2026. Around 1500 of this total have already been built, almost entirely within the District’s towns and larger villages. However, it is recognised that even taking into account previously-developed sites, there is not enough available land within the built-up areas to accommodate the remaining number of homes that the Council has to plan for. Therefore land outside the boundaries of the District’s towns and larger villages represents the only other major source of land in the District. This land is currently in the Green Belt.
The Council is acutely aware that using land in the Green Belt to provide new homes will be controversial and is not taking this work forward lightly, but there are exceptional reasons why it is necessary to do so.
Why this number of new homes?
The amount of new housing to be provided in
Mole Valley in the period to 2026 was established by the previous government in its plan for the South East and then incorporated into the Council’s strategic plan for (known as the Core Strategy). The current government is intending to abolish the regional plan in due course and requires local councils to set their own housing targets. However, this process will take some time to complete. In the meantime, it is clear that there is not enough available housing land in the District to meet the housing requirements in the Council’s current plan. Mole Valley
The Council now needs to act swiftly to show where the remaining 2,200 new homes will be provided in the District. If this is not done in a planned way, led by the Council working in partnership with local communities, there is a risk that ad hoc planning applications for housing in the Green Belt may be permitted through the appeal process.
How is the review being carried out?
Land in the Green Belt around the District’s towns and larger villages has been assessed against a range of criteria. These criteria are based upon the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework. The results of this assessment are published in a consultation document called “Green Belt Boundary Review 2013”.
This consultation document does not identify sites for development or land that should be taken out of the Green Belt. Rather, it is seeking to identify those parts of the Green Belt that meet the purposes of the Green Belt least well. It will be used to inform the preparation of a new plan that will identify sites for development. A draft of this plan will be published for consultation towards the end of this year.
We want your views
We would welcome your views at this early stage in the process so that we can be sure that our assessment of the performance of areas of the Green Belt against its purposes can be broadly agreed. It is this that will form the basis of the work on identifying development sites.
The Green Belt boundary review document and related information is available to view and comment on by visiting our consultation pages, by visiting www.molevalley.gov.uk/localplans and following the links or by visiting the Council Offices (Dorking), the Leatherhead Help Shop and libraries in the District.
If you need any further help or explanation please do not hesitate to contact us on 01306 885001 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also let us know if you no longer wish to be contacted in relation to planning policy work in Mole Valley.
Planning Policy Manager