Reigate MP Crispin Blunt and borough council leader Victor Broad have welcomed the adoption of the lynch-pin local planning document, Reigate and Banstead Borough Council’s Core Strategy.
The Core Strategy was adopted at a special Full Council meeting last Thursday (July 3) – with immediate effect.
The move means all planning applications will be now be assessed against the Core Strategy, alongside saved policies in the Borough Local Plan 2005. It also marked Full Council backing of the borough council's Executive's qualifying resolution committing the council to continued protection of the Green Belt.
In a joint statement, Mr Blunt and Coun Broad said: "We welcome the adoption of the Core Strategy and congratulate the officers who have worked hard and long to produce the final document.
"The council remains committed to the continued protection of the Green Belt, and the last places to be developed will be green fields in our precious Green Belt.”
The statement continued: "In his report on the Core Strategy, Planning Inspector Martin Pike, verified that there is an immediate five-year supply of land available through the council’s 'urban areas first' approach. “This means that there is enough land away from green fields in the Green Belt to satisfy the borough’s housing need for the next five years.”
Mr Blunt and Coun Broad said: "Following the Executive's resolution, and its endorsement by Full Council, the council will monitor the borough’s housing land supply every year, and has committed to commence a review of the Core Strategy and the borough's housing need within five years. “Only if there is not enough supply from other sources – in urban areas and windfall sites - to meet the borough's housing target, will green field sites be considered for development. “Windfalls have played an important role in historic patterns of delivery of housing land and the plan-making process has not allowed the council to fully acknowledge their future significant contribution.”
Windfall sites, which are usually small in-fill sites within urban areas, are those that come forward unexpectedly and which have not been flagged up for housing through the normal planning process.
Concluding the statement, Mr Blunt and Coun Broad said: “We are confident that windfalls will help enable us to maintain a five-year supply of land for housing, so that we will not have to consider green field development in the identified potential "urban extensions."
"The resolution and approach by the council provides protection for the Green Belt in our borough, which we all value. “It will, of course, be for future councils to keep to, and uphold, these principles and protections, but the council can be proud that, through the Core Strategy and these resolutions, it has laid firm foundations for safe and sustainable development in our borough for the next 15 years."
For more information see the Core Strategy page on the borough council's website at: www.reigate-banstead.gov.uk/planning