We understand that on the final day of the consultation Thakeham submitted 9 volumes of documents to TDC. A copy of those documents has been requested but at time of writing TDC stated they are unable to release the documents as they have yet to be assessed. The developers of the potential sites are, of course, entitled to submit responses to the consultation and also submit further documents up to and including the next consultation (scheduled for late 2018) which will be the regulation 19 process when the draft plan will be presented. We do not know the contents of the updated Thakeham submission but it is likely to contain far more detail of their proposals than they have made public to date. Clearly third parties responding to the garden village proposals could only comment on the limited information Thakeham had chosen to make public up to that point. We do not know whether that may have been Thakeham’s tactic.
TDC have previously indicated that only public comment submitted via statutory consultations will be available to the Planning Inspector. Therefore the next opportunity to comment to the Inspector will be via the Regulation 19 consultation. By this time TDC will have made their ‘garden village’ decision and may have been influenced by developer’s information that the public have not had the opportunity to comment on in advance of their decisions.
RBBC are identifying the next stages of their local plan beyond 2017. It appears they intend to safeguard the land on Redhill Aerodrome within the RBBC area. We understand this is the only site under such consideration by RBBC. In simple terms Safeguarding is a means by which local authorities effectively reserve land they consider has potential for development in the future. It is a step to removal from the Green Belt.
KRAG have concerns that if TDC do not select the aerodrome site as the preferred garden village site they may still consider safeguarding the land within the TDC boundary. In our response to the TDC Garden Village Consultation we expressed the reasons why it would not be appropriate for TDC to consider safeguarding the aerodrome land.
We continue to monitor and review activity regarding the TDC Local Plan.
On examination of documents prepared for TDC Planning Policy Committee on 16th November we noted a number of ambiguities in the briefing to Councillors which had the potential for Councillors to form incorrect conclusions.
KRAG (and Nutfield Conservation Society) drew TDC’s attention to the ambiguities and also took the opportunity to reinforce our observations on TDC safeguarding aerodrome land.
We are pleased to report that our observations were favourably received by TDC and appropriate clarifications made at the meeting.
Members will recall this has been awaiting determination since early 2016 and is a retrospective application the works having been completed. RBBC are the lead authority as the majority of the works are within their boundary.
The application was, after much delay, heard by RBBC on 4th October 2017. Council determined to refuse the application.
The following is an extract from the minutes of the planning meeting indicating one of the reasons for refusal
1. the proposal, by virtue of the extensive additional hard surfacing, constitutes inappropriate development within the Metropolitan Green Belt which would erode the openness of the Green Belt and conflict with the purposes thereof. The considerations in favour of the proposal are insufficient to clearly outweigh the harm to the Green Belt and any other harm, including the detriment to neighbour amenity from additional noise and disturbance due to loss of natural winter respite from flying, so as to constitute very special circumstances. As such, the proposal would be contrary to policy Co1 of the Reigate and Banstead Borough Local Plan 2005, CS1 and CS3 of the Reigate and Banstead Core Strategy and the provisions of the National Planning Policy Framework.
We are interested to understand that given the above reasoning how the building of up to 8,000 homes on the site would not result in such harm and be considered similarly inappropriate.
The applicant’s intentions following the decision are awaited.
TDC have yet to make their determination the next planning committee meeting is on 23rd November however the application is not listed for hearing. The case officer has advised he is waiting for a response from the applicant’s agent as to whether they wish TDC to proceed to determination.
Thank you for your continued support.