Friends of Hurst Park

On Friday, I visited Friends of Hurst Park, a local group of people who are campaigning to protect and preserve the Hurst Park Meadow area. I had a good chat with the group about their aim to guarantee green space status for Hurst Park. They are concerned about the potential risk of future developments on Hurst […]

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New Planning Guidance

Chairman of the National Trust, Simon Jenkins, has an interesting piece in the The Guardian today, rather begrudgingly accepting that the final version of the National Planning Policy Framework (published yesterday) strikes a ‘sensible’ balance. It is worth a read here. The Telegraph also back the revised guidance, summarising the changes here. I support cutting […]

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Affordable Housing in Elmbridge

Development is one of the thorniest local issues. On the one hand, we are blessed with 57% greenbelt in this borough – and we want to protect our open spaces. On the other hand, there is an acute shortage of affordable homes. The government’s answer is twofold. First, to scrap the top-down housing targets (such […]

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Planning and Local Democracy

Planning is a red hot local issue in Elmbridge, a borough which is 57% greenbelt. I have regularly posted comment on the need to protect the greenbelt, but also address the lack of affordable housing locally. The South East plan imposed top-down targets of nearly 6,000 new housing units in Elmbridge. The newly elected government […]

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Getting on the Housing Ladder in Elmbridge

The new government has taken decisive steps to preserve our greenbelt and open spaces from concrete – scrapping the South East Plan and announcing plans to put communities (not Whitehall) in charge of planning policy. But there remains considerable demand for affordable housing in Elmbridge – households on the local authority register for social housing […]

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Prescott’s Legacy

One of the legacies of the last government is John Prescott’s disastrous stint in charge of planning. Whilst, the new government has made a fresh start – scrapping the South East Plan (with its arbitrary housing targets) and announcing plans to tackle ‘garden-grabbing’ and illegal traveller sites – it will not be possible to roll […]

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Fairer Local Funding, Stronger Local Democracy

Yesterday, the new ministerial team at the Department for Communities and Local Government appeared before Parliament. It was an important first opportunity for MPs to test the new government’s commitment to strengthening respect for communities and local democracy – and the early signs are good. I had been concerned that the Conservative pledge in opposition […]

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Government Scraps South East Plan

This week, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced that the government is scrapping all Regional Strategies, which impose top-down housing targets on local communities. Here in Elmbridge, the South East Plan had piled the pressure on our greenbelt, and other open spaces, by dictating the building of almost 6,000 new housing units. Mr Pickles has written […]

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