Statement by Stewart Dick, Chairman – Byfleet, West Byfleet, and Pyrford Residents’ Association
I continue to read the many posts on social media regarding the above.
I wish to be clear that it is not the aim of the Residents’ Association for the Local Development Plan/SADPD to be defeated and withdrawn in its entirety, but rather we seek that it is amended so that Green Belt in Byfleet and West Byfleet remains protected.
We fully appreciate that total withdrawal of the Plan would potentially be a disaster for Woking and all the Green Belt sites that are currently protected. The Borough would be left with no Plan, no protection, and developers would have a field day. Planning applications may well be turned down but they would be appealed, and many would succeed. For example, the Pyrford fields would be back in play. This would be an intolerable situation. Our sole ambition is to highlight that the proposed release of Green Belt land in Byfleet and West Byfleet is unnecessary, and the Plan should reflect that.
Woking Borough Council’s Core Strategy was adopted in October 2012. In finding the Core Strategy sound, the then Inspector/Secretary of State, in view of the fact that WBC could not identify sufficient sites to deliver 15 years’ housing supply 2012-2017, required that WBC carry out a Green Belt Review. This was done in 2014. The subsequent allocation of sites has been long running, and we have all been through Regulation 18, Regulation 19 and the Examination.
The bottom line is that we are in the current position because of a decision in 2012. This is just ridiculous, the more so in view of the many changes since then.
The RA continues to maintain that WBC can meet its housing target to 2027 without resorting to Green Belt land. I know that it is far from easy to be totally precise on housing numbers, but all the indications are that this is the position. So, our primary focus is defending GB9, GB4 and GB5. To achieve this we seek amendment to the SADPD and not its withdrawal. Some of us continue to liaise with WBC (thus far, it has to be said, without success) and you may have seen on social media that our Member of Parliament continues to lobby the Inspector.
I accept that the above is a simplification of a very complex matter.
In my view, no one should be supporting the total withdrawal of the Local Development Plan/SADPD.
Thank you and kind regards,
Chairman – Byfleet, West Byfleet, and Pyrford Residents’ Association