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Mole Valley Seeks to Remove All Green Belt Sites from Its Local Plan

Published on: 7 Jan, 2023
Updated on: 11 Jan, 2023

Councillors and residents concerned about Mole Valley Local Plan. Photo Emily Coady-Stemp

By Emily Coady-Stemp

local democracy reporter

All green belt sites could be removed from Mole Valley’s plan for homes following proposed changes to planning at central government level.

Mole Valley District borders Guildford Borough to the east.

A specially-called meeting of the district council will be held this month to discuss asking the government inspector looking at the authority’s Local Plan her opinion on removing the sites.

The plan, which sets out where and when 6,000 homes will be built in the district up to 2037, was put on hold in December when Michael Gove announced changes to housing targets at central government level.

A consultation is now running in preparation for work to update the National Planning Policy Framework, closing on March 2.

The council’s leader Councillor Stephen Cooksey (Lib Dem, Dorking South) said along with four other members of the council’s cabinet, he had called for an extraordinary meeting of the council on January 16.

Mole Valley green belt Source Mole Valley District Council

The council will be asked to consider seeking the inspector’s view on removing all green belt sites from the draft Local Plan.

While many of the new homes were planned for towns like Dorking and Leatherhead, green belt sites had been released to ensure the authority could reach its housing targets set by central government.

Residents and councillors had raised concerns about developments in rural areas as well, and the impacts they could have on communities, roads and infrastructure.

The council’s cabinet member for planning, Cllr Margaret Cooksey (Lib Dem, Dorking South) said changes to planning policy removed the “central direction” of housing numbers and the need to develop the green belt in order to meet them.

She added: “If the inspector agrees with our proposed process, as we hope she will, this can be achieved by introducing a major modification, which would allow the plan to proceed to the next stage of consultation on all the proposed modifications.”

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Responses to Mole Valley Seeks to Remove All Green Belt Sites from Its Local Plan

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    January 8, 2023 at 1:46 am

    This is very good news for Mole Valley. And yet we have still heard nothing from GBC on this equal opportunity to review its Local Plan and restore its green belt, so cruelly robbed by the previous Tory leadership.

    When is this silence to end?

  2. James Martin Reply

    January 10, 2023 at 10:29 am

    This is a completely futile exercise. Planning Inspectors are still bound by the existing rules, so the Mole Valley Plan could not possibly be found sound if all those sites were removed. The district council will have to wait until June 2025 before attempting this. Meanwhile no homes will be built.

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