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
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.