Excitement has been stirred by Michael Gove‘s announcement 19th December that housing targets are advisory not mandatory. This change may mean a shift in Epsom and Ewell‘s Draft Local Plan away from earmarking any Green Belt for housing developments.
The local campaign group Epsom and Ewell Green Belt has reacted to the news. In a press release issued today they urge Epsom and Ewell Borough Council: “Together with the Surrey Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), is calling on the Council and its Councillors to instruct the planning officers to republish its Local Plan within the next few weeks, removing all greenbelt sites, reducing the housing target to a rational approximately 3,500 homes for the Plan period, and focusing on developing all available brownfield sites. We have produced a list of the changes that would need to be made to the draft Plan so that it complies with the Government’s revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).”
However, accompanying the publication of the revised NPPF Secretary of State for Levelling up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove said “The new NPPF was not a route to the evasion of responsibilities. Local authorities must provide rigorous evidence justifying their departure from assessed housing needs. They must do everything to identify other lands suitable for development.” He added “While the planning inspectorate will respect well-made cases, it will not accept undershooting that is not firmly rooted in environmental or other safeguards. This is about sensitive adjustment in housing targets, not their abandonment.”
and many more – search “Local Plan”.