Epsom and Ewell Labour Group Leader, Kate Chinn, Responds to the RA’s Terrible Local Plan
Statement Released: 7 March 2023
Epsom & Ewell Labour Party are shocked at the substantial loss of our much valued green belt land being proposed in the draft Local Plan. Large open spaces will be lost forever if the plan goes ahead in its entirety.
We urgently need more homes in the borough. The housing crisis has reached
unprecedented levels: children living in inappropriate, substandard temporary
accommodation; our adult children, who will be trapped in the private rented sector for their entire lives; and, the rough sleepers on our streets.
Homelessness needs addressing as a matter of priority; it’s a huge cost to the borough and not just a financial cost, but something that impacts on families’ health and wellbeing in all sorts of different ways.
There are alternative ways to build the borough’s much needed homes without
resorting to green belt land. It certainly should not to be the go-to, easy option for the planners.
Nor is it Chris Grayling’s plan of knocking down The Longmead and Kiln Lane industrial estates and starting again. Like the last failed Plan E, which didn’t
happen due to the identified sites being owned by multiple landowners, over whom Epsom and Ewell Borough Council have no control.
It would take many years for this plan to come to fruition and
the borough is already in dire straits, desperately needing more homes now.
We should build on Brownfield sites. Find all the sites in the borough, large and
small, and build on them. Camden Council have approved the building of new social and living rent homes on under-utilised council land, delivering: 44 new social rent homes for families on the waiting list; 23 living rent homes for key workers and 6 supported living homes. All of these homes will be built to the highest standards of design and sustainability.
The borough can build on sites of unused commercial and office space either
repurposing or demolishing and rebuilding to provide homes of a high standard. It is important to build more social housing and affordable homes so key-workers and families from the borough can remain in the area, giving and receiving support from extended family networks.
There are enough Brownfield sites for a generation so there is no current necessity to build on green belt land.
Green belt land is precious and irreplaceable and should only be built on when every single other option has been exhausted. The Epsom and Ewell Labour Party will seek to halt the green belt development plans and pursue this different strategy to provide the homes our residents need.
Kate Chinn, Epsom and Ewell Labour Group Leader and Councillor for Court Ward, 7 March 2023