A letter has gone to Housing Minister Robert Jenrick to protest that housing numbers required in the Spelthorne borough could ‘decimate’ its Green Belt.

Spelthorne Borough Council had already protested in November 2019 that the number required per year, using the Government’s standard method, was too high at 603.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government told the council to wait until its review of the standard method was consulted on in the Planning for the Future white paper.

It subsequently reduced Spelthorne’s requirement to 489.

But in December the Government scrapped its revised method under pressure from other areas, putting Spelthorne’s requirement back at 603.

Deputy leader Cllr Jim McIlroy has written to Mr Jenrick to protest the borough had been sent back to where it started and said the minister was pitting local authorities in Surrey against one another.

In his letter, Cllr McIlroy said: “You have taken away the hope that we could have prepared a (Local) Plan based on achievable housing numbers that would not decimate our Green Belt.

“I urge you to reconsider your ministry’s stance on the standard method and devise one that achieves the stated aims of the Government to deliver much needed homes across the whole of the country without concentrating development in the South East.

“I also implore you to direct the inspectors at the Planning Inspectorate to allow local authorities to give greater weight to retaining their Green Belt even when they are unable to meet their housing need without releasing it, provided they have maximised densities on brownfield sites and have asked their neighbouring authorities to assist.”

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