Backing the green belt: ‘No’ to proposals to build 140 houses on Oxted green belt

A number of you have been asking about my response to the potential development on Green Belt land off Chichele Road in Oxted, which residents are right to be concerned about. I made my views public in this article which appeared in the Surrey Mirror two weeks ago. In summary my view is that: speculative applications to build on the Green Belt should be rightly rejected by Tandridge District Council, as the Council has clearly allocated a five year supply of housing, none of which requires Green Belt development. The Green Belt is a wonderful asset and, alongside AONBs, it’s essential that we maintain these protections for our magnificent countryside. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) fully recognises the role of the Green Belt in preventing urban sprawl which is why it includes clear safe guards to protect it against opportunistic and speculative development. Of course it goes without saying that housing numbers must be constantly reviewed with a particular awareness of the need for affordable housing in an area as expensive as Tandridge. But ‘planning by appeal’ is not the way forward for the community; we need a properly planned process of development that is led by the community and protects the environment. Finally, we have also seen the ring barking of trees on the land in question, and I expect Tandridge District Council to use all the powers at its disposal to safeguard important trees through Tree Protection Orders and ensure that anyone who flouts such an Order faces the full force of the law.