The Green Belt around Leatherhead (April 2013)

By now, from the Press and other sources, members will be aware that Mole Valley has had many comments on its Green Belt Review.   This was conducted because of a promise made to SEEDA (South East England Development Authority) around 2006 to provide some 3760 homes between then and 2026.   With 1640 already built, that leaves 2120 to be constructed over the next 13 years or 163 each year.   This figure refers to the whole of Mole Valley and not just to Leatherhead. 
Other members may well have read the Green Belt Review’s comments and noticed that a considerable number of areas are being looked at by developers and landowners.   Some of these are new, some date from the Draft Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment.   Some are in the Green Belt and some are classed as Reserve Housing sites.   The land between Cleeve Road and Randalls Road, currently under discussion, is an example of this latter classification.   Some are simply possible sites in the future, according to their owners.   Those sites currently in the Green Belt are recognized as such and would need that restriction lifted.    The existence and listing of all these sites gives Mole Valley grounds for refusal of unsuitable applications.
However, the recent whiff of more utterly desirable sites becoming available because of the Review has prompted around 9 developers to make their somewhat alarming suggestions.   Three developers are after roughly the same patch to the south of Leatherhead.   But the main hurdle they all face is the Green Belt and so, at the moment, they simply form a “wish list.”   Nevertheless, the Council will look at them and possibly add one or two to their stockpile of land available.
The LRA feels that any breach of the Green Belt will lead to a softening up of the whole circumference and must, therefore, be resisted.   This was a brilliant strategy conceived at the beginning of the last century and enshrined in law after the Second World War.   We want it to continue both for our own sake and for that of our children.
Mrs. C. Brown (Planning sub-committee chairman)
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