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Letter: Surrey’s MPs Are the Biggest Threat to Our Green Belt

Published on: 4 Jul, 2021
Updated on: 4 Jul, 2021

From: Paul Kennedy

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Mole Valley on Parliamentary matters

In response to: MPs Have Made It Clear to the Housing Secretary – Surrey Housing Figures Too High

The latest statement from Sir Paul Beresford and other Conservative MPs criticising government housing targets for Surrey is a welcome if belated U-turn.

No doubt encouraged by the Conservatives’ huge losses to the Lib Dems in “Blue Wall” seats such as the Chesham & Amersham by-election and last Thursday’s council by-election in Cobham & Downside.

It is a shame our MP was not so supportive when the incoming Lib Dem administration in Mole Valley was seeking to persuade ministers to let us change the green belt sites inherited from the previous Conservative administration in 2019.

As in Guildford, Sir Paul chose to play politics instead, telling residents: “…it is not sustainable to blame national factors for the Liberals’ [sic] failure to protect our countryside. Every other council in Surrey, and the country at large, has their housing figures calculated using the same formula – and the vast majority have been able to meet this need without proposing to demolish the green belt. If they can do it, why can’t the Liberals at MVDC [Mole Valley District Council]?”

This last statement was of course completely untrue. The problem is Surrey-wide, and the Mole Valley regulation 18 consultation sought views on green belt sites selected under the previous Conservative administration, in order to help bolster our case for change. But it was typical of the Conservatives’ divide-and-rule approach to pretend the problem was just local and nothing to do with them.

The biggest threat to Surrey’s green belt comes from Conservative MPs like Sir Paul Beresford, who assure us they are lobbying ministers on our behalf, but still back the government when they inevitably let us down, seeking to blame someone else instead.


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Responses to Letter: Surrey’s MPs Are the Biggest Threat to Our Green Belt

  1. Gillian Catling Reply

    July 4, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    Tory MPs and councillors let us down on everything but especially environmental matters in both Surrey and Sussex.

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