In response to a petition, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council is to hold a debate at the full council meeting on Wednesday 18th December about the strategy to adopt, in order to meet the Government’s housing target for the borough, while addressing petitioners’ concerns.
The council’s forthcoming Local Plan is the formal strategy for delivering the Government’s housing target which is based on the Government’s assessment of housing need in the borough using their standard methodology. Within Epsom and Ewell the Government has determined that an additional 579 homes, plus associated infrastructure, needs to be built in the borough each year.
In order to ensure that the Local Plan responds to the concerns and priorities of local residents, the council formally adopted six principles at its Licensing and Planning Policy Committee in November. These principles address important issues relating to character, design and height, the focus for new homes, securing the right infrastructure and responding to the challenge of climate change.
The process for developing a Local Plan is determined by Government. The council is currently assembling the required ‘evidence base’ required for the Local Plan in order to undertake a formal public consultation in the spring.
Under council protocols, petitions received with over 1,500 legitimate signatures will be debated at the next available full council – the petition to be debated on Wednesday was signed by 1,815 people between 25 September and 1 November 2019.
We the undersigned petition the council to hold a full Council Meeting debate to determine a definitive strategy for the Borough to adopt in order to meet Government’s house building targets whilst retaining control of planning matters in the Borough.
The government’s housing target of 579 units per annum has placed Epsom and Ewell Borough Council in a very difficult position and has resulted in the EEBC Planning Department proposing to the Council’s Planning Committee to break their own guidelines as laid down in the Local Plan regarding planning regulations about height and density. This will cause much disruption and discontent which will only get worse as available sites for new developments diminish.
The building of eleven thousand new dwellings in the next fifteen years will change the nature of Epsom forever and in order to retain some control over the process, the Council must have a plan to achieve the target which is more acceptable to the residents than handing control over to the government which is the government’s default strategy if we do not fulfil the imposed number of dwellings each year or have more than a few planning proposals appeals upheld by Government. The Council meeting to discuss this should be advertised well in advance and decisions made should be accompanied by a public information campaign.