Chance to help shape fu­ture of the bor­ough

Views be­ing sought on key sites in both Run­nymede and Spelthorne as plan­ners tar­get ar­eas for house-build­ing over the next 17 years

Staines Informer - - NEWS - Charlotte Tal­bot

VIEWS are be­ing sought on where to build thou­sands of new homes in Run­nymede as part of a wide-rang­ing con­sul­ta­tion on how land will be used in the bor­ough over the next two decades.

The bor­ough’s lo­cal plan must be adopted by next year and Run­nymede’s plan­ning com­mit­tee has agreed an ‘is­sues op­tions and pre­ferred ap­proaches’ doc­u­ment, which looks at the bor­ough’s ap­proach to hous­ing, re­tail and the econ­omy, built and nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, recre­ation, green space and leisure, her­itage, trans­port and in­fra­struc­ture and flood­ing.

The bor­ough coun­cil launched the first pe­riod of pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion yes­ter­day (Wed­nes­day) on the lo­cal plan doc­u­ment, last­ing for six weeks.

This stage in­cludes the con­sid­er­a­tion of how many new homes and jobs should be pro­vided.

The plan will set out where fu­ture de­vel­op­ment will take place, in­clud­ing land for new hous­ing, com­mu­nity in­fra­struc­ture and em­ploy­ment uses, as well as iden­ti­fy­ing ar­eas of green belt.

Cllr Gail Kinger­ley, chair­man of the plan­ning com­mit­tee, said a lot of work had gone into the process, which will con­tinue un­til a plan is es­tab­lished next year.

“It’s a vi­tal doc­u­ment that sets out our plans for the fu­ture, es­tab­lish­ing our hous­ing need, green belt, open spa­ces, in­fra­struc­ture re­quire­ments un­til 2035,” she said. “We are re­quired by govern­ment to pro­vide and, if it is not pro­duced by 2017, it will be im­posed on us by the Govern­ment.

“Huge amounts of time and ef­fort have been put in by of­fi­cers and con­sul­tants who have been re­view­ing doc­u­ments and the ev­i­dence base needed to pro­duce the lo­cal plan.

“It’s a tight timetable but we are on course.

“There’s been a lot of in­tro­duc­tion with other coun­cils and we have a duty to co-op­er­ate with them as, of course, there are over­laps. It’s a vi­tal doc­u­ment to as­sist in plan­ning at all lev­els.”

The doc­u­ment states there is a need for be­tween 1,018 and 1,292 new homes to be built a year in both Run­nymede and Spelthorne be­tween 2013 and 2033.

These fig­ures were pro­duced in the Strate­gic Hous­ing Mar­ket As­sess­ment, with the need for Run­nymede ap­por­tioned at be­tween 466 and 535 homes per year.

The doc­u­ment also es­ti­mated that the bor­ough coun­cil may have to pro­vide up to 35% of fu­ture hous­ing as af­ford­able homes.

How­ever, in the last three years just 36 af­ford­able homes have been built.

Pre­ferred hous­ing sites high­lighted in the re­port, which come from the bor­ough coun­cil’s Strate­gic Land Avail­abil­ity As­sess­ment, in­cludes Brox End Nurs­ery in Ot­ter­shaw, Chert­sey Bit­tams in St Peter’s Way and Han­worth Lane in Chert­sey.

The largest site, with a ca­pac­ity for be­tween 1,300 and 1,725 homes, is the for­mer DERA site in Longcross Road.

Com­ments from the pub­lic will be con­sid­ered be­fore a ‘pre-sub­mis­sion lo­cal plan’ is cre­ated this win­ter.

The lo­cal plan will be com­pleted after that, be­fore be­ing sent to the Sec­re­tary of State and be­ing in­de­pen­dently ex­am­ined.

An in­spec­tor’s re­port will then be given to the bor­ough coun­cil and any re­quired changes made be­fore it is adopted next year.

Asked about any po­ten­tial changes to the green belt and the amount of new hous­ing re­quired, Cllr Kinger­ley added: “I hope that peo­ple un­der­stand we have so many con­straints in Run­nymede to do with green belt and flood­plain that how­ever hard we try, the hous­ing need, es­pe­cially strate­gic hous­ing, can never be met.

“We don’t have the land to build on. Whether we can sup­ply [the amount of hous­ing] or not is very dif­fi­cult to as­sess at this stage.”

On Thurs­day July 14, pre­sen­ta­tions and work­shops about the plan will be held from 2pm to 4pm and 6pm to 8pm, with ques­tion and an­swer ses­sions from 4pm to 5pm and 8pm to 9pm at the Civic Cen­tre in Ad­dle­stone.

The doc­u­ment can be viewed by vis­it­ing the bor­ough coun­cil’s website.

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