A Green Group that won’t belt up


In a comprehensive critique of Epsom and Ewell Borough Council‘s handling of the Local Plan, a local environmental advocacy group, known as Epsom Green Belt, argues there are shortcomings in the council’s approach.

In a response to the council’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) (reported by the Epsom and Ewell Times HERE) they assert that the council’s failure to provide clear and timely information about changes resulting from public consultation leaves residents in the dark about crucial decisions that will shape the borough’s future.

One of the group’s key contentions centres around the council’s delay in analyzing consultation responses. Despite assurances of ongoing analysis, no outcomes have been made public, leaving residents to speculate about the fate of their feedback. This lack of transparency, the group argues, undermines the democratic process and erodes trust in local governance.

Furthermore, the Group criticizes the council’s handling of the Licensing and Planning Policy Committee (LPPC), highlighting concerns about the committee’s apparent exclusion from significant decision-making processes. By sidelining the LPPC, the council risks bypassing important checks and balances, raising questions about the integrity of the Local Plan’s development.

A central focus of the group’s critique is the contentious issue of Green Belt development. They accuse the council of disregarding public opinion and pressing ahead with plans to build on protected Green Belt land without adequately demonstrating the exceptional circumstances required by National Planning Policies. This, they argue, not only threatens valuable green spaces but also reflects a disregard for community sentiment.

In addition to these overarching concerns, the Group points to specific discrepancies in the council’s representation of housing needs and affordability. They highlight the council’s reliance on inflated housing figures and failure to explore alternative solutions, such as maximizing brownfield sites. This, they argue, calls into question the accuracy and integrity of the data informing the Local Plan.

Epsom Green Belt calls for immediate action from elected councillors to address these concerns and restore public confidence in the Local Plan process. They emphasize the need for transparency, accountability, and evidence-based decision-making to ensure that the interests of residents and the environment are adequately represented.

The full case being argued by Epsom Green Belt can be accessed HERE.

Related reports:

Here we go again on the Local Plan?

Minister gets heavy on a Local Plan delay

Mystery Local Plan critic revealed

Local Plan costs eat into Council reserves

Local Plan to move forward after passionate debate

and many many more. Search “local plan”.

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