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Open Letter to Leader of Spelthorne Borough Council on the Local Plan

January 23, 2020 3:43 PM

Following the closing of the consultation on the Local Plan, to which the Lib Dem Group submitted a group response, Group Leader Councillor Sandra Dunn has sent an open letter to the Leader of Spelthorne Borough Council and the Portfolio Holder for Strategic Planning & the Local Plan.

The letter can be found below and this article will be updated with any response recieved. A transcript of the letter can be found below the letter. The Liberal Democrats on Spelthorne Borough Council remain committed that the voice of residents should be heard throughout the development of the Local Plan.

Open Letter from the Spelthorne Liberal Democrats on the Local Plan to Council Leader, Cllr Ian Harvey

Dear Cllr Harvey,

As you are aware there have been strong reactions to many of the Local Plan allocations,
notably the loss of valuable Green Belt sites. From our discussions with resident's groups we
believe that the current level of engagement has been inadequate.
Many people are concerned that the Local Plan is a done deal that will not be influenced by
the representations of residents. We feel unable to defend the current proposals as they
have been put forward by a small group of members, chosen by you, and which produced no
papers or minutes of meetings. The first we knew, as councillors, was in a private meeting a
few days before the consultation was launched and with no opportunity to influence what is
being suggested.
We would like to propose that a further exercise of direct engagement with local residents is
undertaken so that there is proper consideration of the issues associated with specific sites.
We would like to see local residents' groups, both formal and informal, invited to discuss
specific sites with local councillors and officers to help determine if the current disposition is
appropriate. At the end of the exercise a view on the impact of any changes would have to
be assessed against the current target for new homes. We would want to see councillors
directly involved in these decisions and not just passive observers.
The adoption of the Local Plan is of fundamental importance to the future of Spelthorne. So
far, the important decisions have all been taken behind closed doors and we do not believe
that this is acceptable. Such an important set of decisions need to be taken with the
maximum level of public input and transparency.
We would be happy to discuss these proposals with you to further explain what we believe
can and should be done.


Councillor Sandra Dunn
On behalf of the Spelthorne Liberal Democrat Group

Cc Cllr Ian Beardsmore, Portfolio holder