Epsom & Ewell Councillors vote to pause the Local Plan process at Extraordinary Council meeting
Epsom & Ewell Councillors voted last night to pause the Local Plan process at an Extraordinary Council meeting.
The meeting, on Wednesday 22 March, was called in response to a motion brought by seven Councillors that proposed the Local Plan process be paused, other than for the purpose of analysing the responses of the public consultation to capture residents’ views and any new information. The motion stated that the pause would enable further work on identifying brown field sites, further options to be considered that do not include green belt sites, an analysis of Epsom & Ewell’s required future housing numbers based on 2018 data, and a clearer understanding of the Government’s legislative intentions in regard to protections for the green belt and the current mandatory target for housing numbers.
During the meeting Cllr Eber Kington, who proposed the motion, started by speaking for the motion, followed by Cllr Christine Howells who was seconder for the motion. Other Members present were invited to provide their views, being able to speak for up to three minutes, before Cllr Steven McCormick, as responder to the motion, provided his response. Cllr Kington then summed up his views before the vote was taken.
Of the 26 Councillors who attended the meeting, 20 voted for the motion, 4 voted against the motion and 1 abstained. The Mayor did not vote.
Cllr Steven McCormick, Chair of the Licensing and Planning Policy Committee, said: “We recognise that there is strength of feeling in the community regarding the inclusion of green belt in the Draft Local Plan, and it is a vital part of our democratic process that motions such as these can be brought to full Council and voted on by all Members.
“We are still at a very early stage of the process in developing a Local Plan for the borough. The decision to pause in progressing the Draft Local Plan means that we will wait for more detail on the Government’s intentions with regard to the current mandatory target for housing numbers and the data that must be used when developing Local Plans; we expect more information from the Government later in the Spring. Work will also continue in identifying potential further brownfield sites that could be used for development.
“During this time, we will continue to carefully analyse all responses received during the recent public consultation to ensure that all views are taken into consideration. We remain committed to developing a Local Plan that reflects our vibrant community and allows all those who live, work, visit and study in the borough to thrive”