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Loss of green belt land in Reigate and Banstead 'necessary', says Inspector

A Planning Inspector has recommended that Reigate and Banstead Borough Council should modify its Core Strategy to include recognition that loss of green belt land will be necessary to meet the housing needs of the borough. 

The Inspector issued his examination report (48-page / 533KB PDF) on the Council's Core Strategy last week. He concluded that the draft plan was sound subject to a number of modifications, including the recognition that "some loss of Green Belt land to housing development will be necessary, in certain sustainable locations, to meet as far as is practicable the needs of the borough".

The report said that, because of the limited capacity of suitable and deliverable greenfield land outside the Green Belt, the only option available within the borough to meet the bulk of the housing shortfall is land currently in the Green Belt.

The Inspector also recommended that the plans should include a new policy on the green belt to give strategic guidance to the detailed green belt review necessary at Development Management Policies stage.

He said that, because the Core Strategy aims to identify broad locations for Strategic Urban Extensions rather than specific sites, a "clear and robust" policy is required against which the individual sites with potential for green belt release can be tested when drafting Development Management Policies.  

In relation to the Council's housing need the Inspector said that, although there is an unmet need, the Council had provided "compelling evidence" that it had done all it could at present to meet that need. He therefore concluded that the scale and broad location of housing provision in the Core Strategy was sound.

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