Green Belt ruling sends "shivers down the spine"


Lib Dem campaigners are again voicing genuine concerns about the threat to Chessington’s Green Belt, following a new Government ruling that gave the go ahead for 1,500 homes to be built near Gloucester.

  • The ruling could set a precedent and increase pressure to approve Green Belt developments in Chessington.
  • The Campaign to Protect Rural England has identified Chessington as an area threatened by up to 20,000 homes being built on Green Belt.

Lib Dem Neighbourhood Chair, Rachel Reid, also local ward councillor for Chessington South said:

Racehl Reid, Chessington South councillor, Green Belt concerns“ The ruling Conservative Administration is currently working on their Local Development Plan and they could come up with some unpleasant and surprising proposals. We know that developers have already been in talks with the Conservative Leader of the Council to build on several Green Belt sites.

It’s really important that the community comes together to participate in the planning process. We will be very happy to support the community if they want to develop a Neighbourhood Development Plan so that local people decide where development should and shouldn’t go. ”

Lib Dem Housing Spokesperson, Tricia Bamford, also local ward councillor for Chessington South said:

Tricia Bamford, Chessing South councillor, Green Belt concerns“ It sends shivers down the spine as Kingston could see housing developments on precious open Green Belt land. The London housing crisis has resulted in a problem across Kingston Borough and there are not enough homes of any type to meet demand now or in the future. Just ask any young person about being able to afford their rent, yet alone being able to aspire to buy their own home. ”

Key Facts 

  1. The Council’s Core Strategy says there will be no development on Green Belt but that could all be about to change. Consultation on RBK’s Local Plan will start in the Autumn.
  2. The contentious ruling: The Conservative Communities Secretary, Greg Clarke, ruled that Green Belt land could be built on where there is a significant local need for housing – a reversal of the position previously taken by Ministers. 1500 new homes will be built near Gloucester in one of the biggest developments on Green Belt land in a decade.
  3. The Daily Telegraph article: "Plans for thousands of new homes threaten green belt areas" 
  4. The Localism Act 2011 introduced the Community Right to Build. Local councils and community groups have the right to propose small-scale, site-specific community-led developments:
    • Neighbourhood Development Plans can give the local community more say about where new homes are built and what they should look like.  It can allocate land for industry and leisure or set retail and infrastructure policies.
    • Neighbourhood Development Orders mean that local councils and community groups have the right to propose small-scale, site-specific community-led developments. This right allows communities to build new homes, shops, businesses or facilities where they want them, without going through the normal planning application route.  Any project built under the community right to build is managed by the local council or community group.
    Both can be lengthy processes involving:
    • Community must constitute Neighbourhood Forum (agreed by RBK).
    • Inspector agrees Plans before referendum held (paid for by RBK).
    • Council to pay to help community groups, estimate £40,000 for Neighbourhood Plan. DCLG have pot of £22.5 million Neighbourhood Planning Grants and Support Programme for part funding.
  5. There are already fears about proposals being discussed that could be locally controversial as it would see development on Green Belt.
  6. In early March, the Conservative Government’s National Infrastructure Commission proposed that 20,000 houses should be built on Green Belt land near Crossrail 2 stations. Much of this proposed housing looks likely to be built near Chessington South station.

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