Protecting the green belt in Bletchingley

Residents in Bletchingley are rightly very concerned by an application to convert land on Warwick Wold Road for use as a traveller site. This is green belt land that sits within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The Government’s planning guidance is clear that unmet housing need (including for traveller sites) is not sufficient reason to justify greenbelt development in all but the most exceptional of circumstances. This is not the case here, which is why it would be unacceptable for the application to progress further. The application is being considered by the planning committee tonight, and I would urge members of the committee to reject the proposal. Tandridge District Council’s recommendation for approval is being made with reference to a decision at Burstow. As I understand it there are important differences between the two cases, with the Burstow application relating to land that had previously been developed. I have therefore written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to request clarification that this precedent would not be sufficient to justify development in this case.