Local Plan - Councillors' Letters

Below is the Email sent on behalf of all Ashtead Independent Councillors to Boris Johnson on 27th January 2020 seeking the fulfilment of his commitment to build less on the Green Belt.

The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP Prime Minister
The Office of the Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London SW1A 2AA

27 January 2020


In Oxshott on 25 June, you said: “We are being too tough. We should not be imposing targets on Councils that they are simply finding impossible to meet without building on the Green Belt, so we have to be much more sensitive in what we are doing.”

Chris Grayling perhaps mentioned that Mole Valley District Council’s Lib-Dem Cabinet has now released a Draft Local Plan. Having explored brownfield and other options they plan for 1,900 new homes on Green Belt (which is about 90% of the District). The nationally applied Government formula will result in destruction of large areas of Green Belt in a District where the local need for new housing is modest.

As Leader of Council’s Independent Group, along with Conservative colleagues, I would like to be able to assure residents that you are re-considering the formula to be used in sensitive areas, so that new Local Plans can be finalized in the context of a new policy. Future generations deserve to inherit what our forebears safeguarded.

Cllr David L Hawksworth CBE
Leader, Ashtead Independent Councillors


Below is a letter to the Local paper from James Friend leader of opposition at MVDC. They did not print it.

Dear Editor,

Letter to the Editor
Future Mole Valley

Mole Valley District Council has opened its consultation on where and how to develop land in the District. As leader of the Conservative Group, I am urging all local residents and business owners to use the consultation to say exactly what they think of this draft Local Plan.

The Government has been clear that it is not telling councils where to build to provide homes for future generations.

The National Planning Policy Framework calls for innovation to uplift density of development and challenges councils to revisit underdeveloped sites, especially where public transport links are strong.

Government is also clear that development should be where it is supported by local communities and that mechanisms such as Neighbourhood Plans, should be able to direct any responses to an eventual need to change the status of Greenbelt land after every other possibility has been exhausted.

This plan for Mole Valley fails to demonstrate that every innovation and idea has been incorporated to focus development on brownfield and underutilised land, it fails to be creative with new building methods to optimise density, it fails to safeguard the Greenbelt, it fails to go far enough to tackle climate change, it fails to listen to resident feedback from the Infrastructure Needs Assessment, from Transform Leatherhead, from the Modest Extensions to Villages consultation and from the adopted Neighbourhood Plan and it fails to leave the final decisions in the hands of the local communities.

The plan for Mole Valley should be infrastructure led, transport and healthcare, with innovative increases in land utilisation and centred on community feedback.

The Council could have chosen to do better than this plan and I urge everyone to use the consultation to tell them just that.

James Friend
Mole Valley District Councillor for Westcott