Housing and the Green Belt

Suburban spreadLast year I posted that Elmbridge planners were busily re-examining the borough policies with a view to protect ourselves from the national government’s changes in planning policy contained in the new NPPF.

Now new threats emerge with the demands for more housing.  One can easily see the need from a national perspective: people are living longer, having more babies, getting divorced – all cause greater household formation.  On top of that London – the premier city on earth – is a magnet for people throughout the world.  Is there a better place to learn globish than in London?

So our planners are revisiting our borough policies again to ensure we are protected against unwelcome developments and consequent planning appeals.  It has to be done thoroughly to avoid the accusations of nimbyism.  In area Weybridge is not much smaller than Hackney but Weybridge has less than a tenth of Hackney’s population.  It is only planning law that stops Weybridge having a much higher density.

Is reasonable for Elmbridge to maintain a low population when so many are in need of a place to call their own at a price they can afford?  Should we at least grow at the same rate as Britain as a whole?  We are already short of schools – where do we built the schools we need?

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