The towns, villages, and open spaces that will take the brunt of Surrey Heath Borough Council’s 6,000 new homes will be kept under wraps a little longer after the local authority kicked its housing plan into touch.
It is the second time this year the council has paused its local plan after announcing in February it would hold off until after housing secretary Michael Gove’s long-rumoured but never seen planning changes take effect.
Now the council is blaming the “economic climate” and the need to develop a strategy for Camberley town centre – which has been hit by the £79 million loss in value of the Camberley Square and House of Fraser sites.
It has said it will now “review the timetable for the remaining stages of the Local Plan process, known as the Local Development Scheme”.
Surrey Heath Portfolio Holder for sustainable transport and planning, Councillor Alan Ashbery said: “The council is committed to delivering the best local plan for our residents, while giving maximum protection to our highly valued green belt and special protection areas.
“Given the current economic climate, more time is required to review key policies and undertake further work to support the development in Camberley town centre. Once these important pieces of work have been completed, a new local development scheme will be published. This will set out dates for the remaining stages of the process, including publication details prior to submission to the Secretary of State.”
The original draft in February was to deliver 6,213 homes up to the year 2038 – with more than 1,000 lined up for green belt sites. That left 2,700 homes, once those that had already been granted planning permission but had yet to be built were discounted.
The council’s draft outlined were housing could be built – this includes employment, commercial, recreation and green spaces and was drawn up following consultation with residents and businesses in 2022.
After the February delay, it was due to submit a final draft for consideration in November 2023 but this has now been delayed again, the council said, to allow further work to be carried out.
Motion to pause Local Plan process (Epsom and Ewell)
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