Independent Green Belt Review published on Council's website

07 July 2014

A Green Belt boundary review report for Woking Borough, conducted by an independent consultant, has been published on the Woking Borough Council website.

The Green Belt boundary review has been carried out in response to recommendations by the Secretary of State during the Core Strategy Examination in April 2012. The review has been necessary to enable the Council to identify sufficient land to meet its future housing requirement and other development needs beyond 2022.

The report does not allocate land for development. It is a technical document which will inform the Council's Delivery Development Plan Document (DPD). It is the Delivery DPD that will identify specific sites for future development. Work on the Delivery DPD has already begun.

Cllr John Kingsbury, Leader of Woking Borough Council, said: "The Green Belt is a much cherished part of our natural environment which brings pleasure and enjoyment to many. Yet a review of the Green Belt is necessary to enable the Council to identify land to meet its future development needs, already established in the adopted Woking Core Strategy. Otherwise, we run the risk of failing to identify enough land to meet our requirements.

"At this stage, we are considering the recommendations made by the independent review before giving residents, businesses and other interested stakeholders the opportunity to have their say, as part of the Delivery Development Plan Document consultation later in the year.

"I would like to reassure members of the public that no decision about the Green Belt has been made by the Council and that residents and businesses will be given the opportunity to have their say during a public consultation later this year. The review is necessary for the Council to have robust evidence to safeguard the environment and protect the Green Belt."

While informal consultation with key stakeholders is ongoing, it is anticipated that the Delivery DPD will be published for full public consultation during winter 2014 to give members of the public sufficient opportunity to comment on the Council's proposals.

Once the consultation is complete, the responses will be considered and incorporated where appropriate before the Delivery DPD is submitted for Independent Examination by an Inspector of the Secretary of State.

The Examination will provide an additional means for members of the public to have their say should they feel that their views have not been addressed or if they should wish to support the Council's proposals.

It is anticipated that the Delivery DPD will be submitted to the Secretary of State by summer 2015 with an Examination in autumn 2015.

It is only after the Council has taken the Inspector's recommendations into account that the Delivery DPD will be adopted. This is likely to be early 2016.

The Green Belt Review can be viewed here.

For further advice and or clarification, please contact the Planning Policy Team on 01483 747138 or email: planning.policy@woking.gov.uk