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Letter: Mole Valley Lib Dems Are Continuing to Challenge Government Housing Targets

Published on: 20 Mar, 2021
Updated on: 20 Mar, 2021

From: Paul Kennedy

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Mole Valley

In response to: Mole Valley Leaflet Includes ‘Blue on Blue’ Criticism

The Tories’ latest leaflet is also deliberately economical with the truth about the Conservatives’ own responsibility for the draft Mole Valley Local Plan, and about the changes that the Liberal Democrats are making to protect the green belt.

As in Guildford, the green belt sites that Sir Paul Beresford complains about were in fact selected under the previous Conservative administration to meet Conservative government housing targets which massively overstate the need for housing in Mole Valley.

The incoming Lib Dem administration which inherited the Tory plan was forced to consult on those sites. We faced intervention by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick if we delayed the consultation to change the Tories’ site selection methodology.

In the consultation, we made clear that these sites had only been included to meet government targets and asked residents to give us the ammunition we needed to challenge them. Residents did just that with a clear instruction from 74 per cent of residents not to meet Government targets if that meant building on the green belt.

The Lib Dem administration is enthusiastically acting on the public’s instructions. We continue to oppose unrealistic government targets, and we have rewritten the Tories’ site selection methodology with tough new tests to protect the green belt. We are adding more brownfield sites as they become available, but we are prepared to use the proviso in paragraph 11b of the NPPF if protecting the green belt means we cannot meet the Government’s targets.

The Conservatives have failed to support us in any of these changes. As in Guildford, they far prefer to complain about green belt sites they themselves selected, while pretending this has nothing to do with them.

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