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Ministry of Local Govt logoThe TD & WG Residents' Association has responded (below) to the Government Paper, Changes to the Current Planning System.  The formal consultation closes at 1pm on 1 October, but residents are still encouraged to make their views known to our MP, Dominic Raab (dominic.raab.mp@parliament.uk), after this date.


From: chairman@residents-association.com
To: TechnicalPlanningConsultation@communities.gov.uk
Cc: dominic.raab.mp@parliament.uk
Sent: Wed, 30 Sep 2020 10:28
Subject: Changes to the current planning system

Rt. Hon. Robert Jenrick
Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF

30th September 2020     

Dear Mr. Jenrick,

Proposed changes to the current planning system consultation

I write as Chairman of the Thames Ditton & Weston Green Residents Association which has a paid-up membership of 1200 households representing over 2,400 residents. Founded in 1934 our Association is non-party political association with 4 councillors on Elmbridge Council and a Surrey County Council councillor. We have worked with and participated with both Surrey and Elmbridge councils in the past 40 year in drawing up strategic and local plans, based on national and local planning policies.

Local housing targets

Under changes to the formula in the proposed new Standard Methodology the housing unit target for Elmbridge increases to 774 per year for the next 10 years. This compares with the 2011 figure of 225 per year and the 2017 figure of 623 units per year.

The proposed new Standard Methodology algorithm used to produce housing forecasts, proposes scrapping the link to population growth and bases the housing target numbers on house prices alone.

The Office for National Statistics households’ forecast for Elmbridge has been going down (2,523 more in 2030 is forecast now, down from 3,643 only two years ago and 4,519 two years before that) but nowhere is this reflected in the Government’s formula. All these numbers are way below the affect of building 774 units a year.

We consider that the premise that comparatively high house prices signal unmet demand that can only be met by imposing higher supply targets, is entirely false.

Because Elmbridge has high house prices, it gets a high target as the Government proposes to disregard the household growth forecasts. The basic assumption that increasing housing supply will reduce the price of housing in the South East is also false and has been challenged by planning experts, economists and academics alike.

We ask that housing numbers suggested by the Government should be withdrawn. To accommodate them, large areas of Green Belt would have to be released ,contrary to the repeated promises to protect the Green Belt, or there would be a disastrous urbanisation of the suburbs, forcing high-rise blocks into quiet, low-rise neighbourhoods. We are already concerned about the change of character in our area and above all about the new numbers which would put unsustainable pressure on the present infrastructure eg schools, health services, roads and transport.

Conclusion

We ask in the strongest terms that the suggested algorithms are abandoned and that ONS projections form the basis of suggested housing numbers.

Yours sincerely,

Graham Cooke
Chair Thames Ditton & Weston Green Residents' Association

 

Cc:  Rt. Hon. Dominic Raab MP