Unpausing the Local Plan
Councillors at Epsom & Ewell Borough Council voted to un-pause their Local Plan, at an Extraordinary Council meeting on Tuesday 24 October.
The decision means that it is now possible for work to restart to progress the Local Plan to the next stage, which is a further public consultation on the proposed submission version of the Local Plan (Regulation 19).
A Local Plan sets the vision and framework for development in the borough, focusing on a wide range of areas such as supporting businesses, creating jobs, infrastructure improvements, environmental protection and leisure development, alongside sites for new homes including affordable accommodation. The council’s Local Plan has been paused since March of this year, when a motion brought to an Extraordinary Council meeting was approved.
Councillor Steven McCormick, Chair of the Licensing and Planning Policy Committee, said: “We are very pleased that work on the Local Plan can recommence. We are legally required to review our Local Plan every five years, and are currently outside of that timeframe, which leaves us open to the risk of speculative development or government intervention.
“We recognise that the pause came about because of strength of feeling in the community regarding the inclusion of green belt sites in the Draft Local Plan, and want to reassure our residents and partners that their views and feedback will be taken into account in the next iteration of the Local Plan. Since the Local Plan was paused, council officers have been working hard on analysing all responses received during our Draft Local Plan consultation period in early 2023.
“We have also completed our call for sites which has brought forward some additional potential brownfield sites for development, which will now be carefully considered.
“Now that we can move forward with this work, we will prepare an updated Local Plan timetable (the Local Development Scheme), which will set out the key milestones for progressing the Local Plan towards adoption. All Councillors will be involved in the development of the proposed submission version of the Local Plan, and at a future meeting of full Council they will collectively decide if it is ready for the next stage of public consultation.
“We are committed to developing a Local Plan that allows all those who live, work, visit and study in the borough to thrive.”