Epsom and Ewell Borough Council’s Draft Local Plan proposes housing developments on Green Belt land. Prominent local objectors to building on Green Belt land have discovered that their objections have not been counted.
The Council undertook a public consultation on the Draft Local Plan from 1 February to 19 March 2023. Residents could submit their responses using an online questionnaire or emailing or writing. If emailing or writing it would then be a matter for local government officers to judge whether the responses were for or against various proposals in the Draft Plan.
Yufan Si, a leading light in the local protest group Epsom and Ewell Green Belt, wrote to the Council and strongly objected to Green Belt development. Yet, her response has not been classified as a “No” to the questionnaire’s 8th question: “Do you support Development in the Green Belt?”
Alexander Duval has complained that his clear online objection to building on Horton Farm has not been judged by EEBC to be an objection. He said: “Q.15 of the consultation questionnaire asked ‘Do you support Site Allocation 6, Horton Farm?’ My answer started with ‘I strongly disagree with the development of this site’ and was followed by the rationale for this view.
“I believe it is clear from this statement that I do not support the site allocation of Horton Farm. Notwithstanding this, my response is not classified as ‘No, with suggestions detailed below’; indeed it is not classified at all.”
He added “This issue occurs frequently regarding classification of my own responses, and also in many of the responses that I have looked at from other residents, all of which appeared to be against building on the Greenbelt.”
Nevertheless, preliminary analysis by Ms Si of samples of the 1736 responses indicates as much as 85% of respondents objecting to development on Green Belt land.
Both Yufan Si and Alexander Duval have written to EEBC and Councillors demanding a review of the classification of responses to the consultation on the Draft Local Plan.
The responses to the consultation can be viewed on the internet on THIS LINK.
The progress of the Draft Plan has been paused. At the last meeting of 15th June of the Council committee dealing with the Plan a new timetable for progressing the process of adopting a new plan for Epsom and Ewell was promised in due course.
Epsom and Ewell Borough Council counters the complaints. Read our further report:
and many more….