Response from Epsom and Ewell Green Belt Group

After the news of Epsom and Ewell Borough Council decision to pause the Local Plan we asked Save Epsom Green Belt for a statement.

Following debate of a special  “Pause” motion for the Draft Local Plan proposed by Cllr Eber Kington (RA) and seconded by Cllr Christine Howells (RA),

Councillors voted for by 20 votes to 4 against, with 1 Abstention . Chair, and Mayor, Cllr Clive Woodbridge (RA) did not vote.

Over 50 residents packed the Public Gallery to hear the debate, which was also streamed online. Over 100 residents outside welcomed the Councillors to the meeting, protesting against proposals in the Draft Local Plan to build 2,175 all new homes (0ver 40% of total proposed )in the borough by 2040 on Green Belt Land (see picture).

The Draft Local Plan will now be paused until after the 4th May local elections, to allow further examination of potential brownfield sites and to await new Government planning framework rules, expected by end-May.

Epsom and Ewell Green Belt Group campaigner Ms Yufan Si said

“Following the lead from Cllrs Kington and Howells, we are pleased to see the vast majority of councillors now think the Local Plan should be paused.

However, we shall be asking the new Council in May to go further, and confirm its policy opposition to all Green Belt development in the borough, unless made mandatory by the government to meet imposed housing targets. On behalf of residents, we will also ask all councillors standing in the Local Elections to declare their policy commitment to Green Belt protection”

Tim Murphy, chair, Epsom branch, Campaign to Protect Rural England, said of the Council’s pause “Whatever the precise wording of the motion, I think it would be extremely difficult for a revised version of the Local Plan to be published in the future with 40% housing development proposed on the Green Belt”

Epsom & Ewell Council Pause Local Plan