1. Preservation of our Green Belt

    At a Council meeting on 14 October, the question of the competing pressures to meet Government targets for new housing and the preservation of our precious green belt areas came to a head. Councillor John Northcott, as Executive Member for Planning, was able to announce that he is recommending a change of direction in the course of Council Planning Policy taking into account the latest Government advice and recent decisions of the Planning Inspectorate, which have caused a number of other councils to withdraw or abandon their draft Local Plans, and the fact that the amount of Green Belt land that would be needed was much less than had previously been thought John announced that, subject to the agreement of the Executive, Mole Valley will cease work on the Housing and Traveller Site Plan which was intended to find sites in the green belt to enable the housing target in our current Local Plan to be met, and instead bring forward a new Local Plan which will be fully compliant with the National Planning Policy Framework but will nevertheless recognise planning constraints such as the green belt.