Ahead of Elmbridge Borough Council’s next Cabinet meeting (16 November) which has the ‘Local Plan’ on its agenda, the Leader of the Council, Councillor Stuart Selleck is determined to engage the community in key decisions around planning in the Borough.
The need to relook at the planning strategy for Elmbridge stems from the Government’s determination to tackle the lack of housing in England. It wants to ensure that there are enough homes to meet the country’s increasing need and as part of their plan the Government is demanding that all Councils meet their housing needs.
Councillor Selleck is keen that Elmbridge remains in control of planning decisions; “In response to the Government’s demands we are updating our planning strategy known as the ‘Local Plan’ and we are providing options for how we can deliver more homes and improved infrastructure in Elmbridge. We are offering these options for consultation to the Elmbridge community in December and across the new year but it is important to note that no decisions have yet been made.”
He continued: “The Government has placed this demand on all Councils including Elmbridge and they are clear that if we do not seek to meet our housing needs then they will step in and make decisions for us. No one wants that to happen.
“We know Elmbridge is a very desirable place to live but the cost of housing is high. We need more affordable and social housing, more two and three bedroom homes to allow first time buyers and key workers to buy homes in Elmbridge and to ultimately allow our children and grandchildren to continue to live in the Borough. The options we are suggesting to update the Local Plan aim to create new homes for the next generation of residents, while retaining the unique and attractive character of the Borough.
“Roads, school places, drainage, access to GPs surgeries, all of these, and more, concern our residents when any new development is proposed. We all know the road that is already too busy each morning and evening, the school that is full to capacity, the road that floods every time there is heavy rain and the surgery where it can be difficult to get an appointment. Building homes through an established and agreed upon Local Plan considers all of these infrastructure aspects and seeks to significantly improve infrastructure in the Borough.”
He concluded: “We know this is an emotive topic and that there will be strong views and opinions on all sides but I am asking the Elmbridge community to work with us through this consultation, to understand the issues and to help us plan the best way to meet the challenges in a way that protects the Borough that we cherish so much.”
The public consultation on the Local Plan will begin on December 16 2016.