Councillors will decide whether to progress a revised Local Plan for Spelthorne this week, designed to reduce its impact on the Green Belt and limit development in Staines.

Spelthorne Council’s environment & sustainability committee will consider a strategy whereby 24 hectares of Green Belt will be released (0.6 per cent of that which lies within the borough). Previously 53 acres had been earmarked (1.6 per cent).

The report going before the committee on Tuesday, July 13, sets out that meeting the housing need of 611 homes per year, set by Government, provides the best protection for the whole borough against applications for developing its most important Green Belt sites.

The revised Local Plan seeks to allow the council to set policies that could limit the height of buildings in some areas of Staines and provide more family homes with gardens across the borough.

The council says its revised plan will help it robustly defend against inappropriate development and speculative Green Belt applications and avoids the plan’s progress being completed by central Government.

Chair of the environment & sustainability committee Cllr Ian Beardsmore said “We continue to heavily criticise the Government for our extremely high housing need figure and we will fight for what is right so that development is not concentrated in areas like Spelthorne.

“We are bringing in outside help to try and make this happen and that will be our priority as Plan A but there are no guarantees this will work.

“We must not delay our Local Plan as time is now against us so this revised strategy is our Plan B and needs to be progressed in tandem.

“The consequences of further delay puts other sites at risk, or worse we would face the threat of our Plan being taken away from us and produced without consideration for our residents and that would be negligent.

“I fully appreciate that the Green Belt is a controversial issue, but this council must deliver a strategy that causes the least harm and provides the most benefits for our residents.”

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