Having reviewed the Sites Consultation document that is being proffered as the latest consultation under Regulation 18 for the Local Plan, the Godstone Parish Council finds the document to be unnecessarily contradictory and confusing.
The quality of the information that has been produced is, at the very least, questionable. The single most important piece of data on which the draft plan is based is the need to build 9,400 dwellings over the period of the plan. How this figure has been arrived at is far from clear. The methodology used to calculate this number is shrouded in secrecy, (comments of ‘it is very complicated, you wouldn’t understand’ have been received), and appears to be based on flawed data. If flawed data is used as the basis for the calculations, no matter how robust the methodology, the data produced as a result will be equally flawed.
The quantity of information that needs to be read and understood, (being in excess of 3,500 pages across all documents), to enable a full understanding of the draft plan is beyond the time available and patience of the average resident. This seems to be an intentional diversionary tactic as other district councils that are producing Local Plans appear to have managed to do so with far fewer documents and far fewer pages of contradictory information.
The level of communication to the residents by the TDC during the development of the draft plan has been totally inadequate and only in the later stages has any attempt at consultation occurred. Even then, there has been a very one sided approach – it has not been a consultative process, more a dictatorial explanation of what has been decided. Consultations have been condescending with statements like, “it is very complicated, we can’t explain it here” and “you wouldn’t understand, you need to be a planning expert to understand this”.
No attempt has been made to produce a simple summary document that could be read and understood by residents who for whatever reason have not accessed the thousands of pages on the TDC website. Whilst the Green Belt Assessment methodology is explained within the 3,500 pages it is certainly not understood by the average resident, nor is the criteria that defines Green Belt land. The recent ‘wrap’ that was published with the Tandridge County Border News was all ‘spin’ with very little factual evidence behind it.
The TDC has totally ignored The Godstone Parish Council and not once during the formation of the draft plan has any TDC representative formally consulted or addressed The Parish Council. This has resulted in totally alienating what could have been a valuable communication channel.
CAMPAIGN FOR PROTECTION OF RURAL ENGLAND
Notes for Public Meeting, 8 February 2016 - Michael Sydney
Re Tandridge Plan
CPRE was founded in 1926. The objective was to preserve the existence and quality of the landscapes around London and other urban Centres. As a direct result of this the Governments of the day created the Green Belts. I say this for the benefit for the gentleman in Woldingham who has said that CPRE should not be involved in defending the Tandridge Green Belt!
Godstone Public Meeting 8 February notes from Catherine Sayer, OLRG
Just to start with a word about OLRG. It’s the Oxted & Limpsfield Residents Group and we have in the region of 2,300 members – mostly from Oxted, Limpsfield and Hurst Green but a number from other parts of Tandridge and in the past couple of weeks that number has increased as people around Tandridge have read the information about the Local Plan on our website.