The motion passed by an extraordinary meeting of the Epsom and Ewell Borough Council on 22nd March 2023:
Proposer Cllr Eber Kington
Seconder Cllr Christine Howells
This Council notes that:
- Extensive green areas, especially the green belt, and the absence of high-level development in our urban areas makes Epsom and Ewell a distinctive, green and an excellent place to live.
- Under the existing legislation Local Planning Authorities are being required to draft Local Plans on the basis of out of date, 2014, data that does not reflect Epsom and Ewell’s housing need, as shown in more recently available 2018 data.
- The Government’s recently proposed legislative changes to the planning process, whilst welcome in several aspects, are not yet enacted and the current legal position has not changed.
These factors suggest that a pause in progressing the Draft Local Plan in its current form would provide an opportunity to assess the Government’s draft proposals as well as the 2018 data on housing need in the borough.
This Council therefore agrees that:
i. Other than for the purpose of analysing the responses of the public consultation to capture residents’ views and any new information, the Local Plan process be paused to enable:
a) further work on brown field sites, including information arising out of the Regulation 18 consultation
b) further options to be considered that do not include green belt sites
c) an analysis of Epsom and Ewell’s required future housing numbers based on 2018 data
d) a clearer understanding of the Government’s legislative intentions in regard to protections for the green belt and the current mandatory target for housing numbers.
ii. Write to the MP for Epsom and Ewell calling on in him to use his influence to get the Government to abandon its use of 2014 data to calculate housing need and accept that all planning and housing policies must reflect the latest data if they are to be effective as well command the respect of the people they affect.