The Core Strategy is the foundation of the Borough’s Local Plan and it sets out the overall ambitions and priorities for the Borough, a set of strategic and locational policies, and a means of ensuring that they are delivered. It covers the period to 2026, which is consistent with the Regional Spatial Strategy, the South East Plan, although this plan is due to be abolished during the lifetime of the Council’s Local Plan.
Responses to previous consultations have been used to help develop a Draft Submission version of the Local Plan Core Strategy. In preparation for the submission of the Local Plan Core Strategy for examination to the Secretary of State, the Council undertook a further consultation in accordance with its adopted Statement of Community Involvement and Regulation 18 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning)(England) Regulations 2012.
The consultation period lasted until 28th March and The Society wrote to RBC making observations on the parts dealing with the Green Belt, Future Developments, Affordable Housing, Traffic, and Travellers Sites. A short outline of our response is given below:
1. Green Belt
As a society we are against the constant erosion of the Green Belt. In our view the Green Belt is a necessity to protect wild life, give pleasure and relaxation to the community and not a ‘nice to have’ that can be eaten away at will.
2. Future Developments
Whilst we agree with the plan not to release the reserved sites until the need arises we believe this process must be done in an open and transparent manner.
We support the need for communal areas within developments but are concerned at the council’s record of maintaining them in perpetuity for the community, e.g. Palmer Crescent.
3. Affordable housing:
Whilst the society supports the need for Social Housing we believe it needs to be done sympathetically in relation to the rest of the developments. Also the priority should be for the housing of Key Workers in the borough.
We are concerned that there is no reference to the traffic issues related to the A320 Guildford/Chertsey Road in Ottershaw. The Otter roundabout is already heavily congested, especially at peak hours.
5. Travellers’ Sites:
There is obviously a need for proper sites but this need has to be structured and planned properly. The concern we have is that when rules and judgements are made the council appears unwilling to enforce them.