Following the dreadful events in West London and the tragedy that befell the residents of the Grenfell tower block last month, I would like to assure our residents that we have been working with our partners to ensure the safety of everyone living in tower blocks in the district. Circle Housing has been reviewing the fire safety of its two high rise blocks on the Goodwyns Estate. Unlike the Grenfell tower, the two blocks - Linden Lea and Wenlock Edge - do not have external cladding and are instead faced in concrete. We have also been liaising with developers converting high rise office buildings into apartments and cladding the external face of the building to remind them of their responsibility to conform to the fire safety provisions of the Building regulations.We have some particularly difficult choices to make in the year ahead and we want to listen to you to ensure that the right choices are made for Mole Valley. I want to highlight three consultations taking place at the moment.
Future Mole Valley is the name of our next Local Plan. It will set out plans for development in the District over fifteen years, from 2018-2033, and once adopted, it will form the basis on which planning applications will be decided in the District. The Plan will include targets for delivering new housing, identify locations for major new development, and contain policies for guiding the type, scale and mix of new development. It will also set out those areas which will continue to be protected for landscape, heritage or nature conservation purposes.
This is your District and your future so I believe that it is vital we understand what you think. We are consulting on two main themes: the use of Brownfield land and the potential release of Greenfield land. This consultation is not about specific sites for development but about seeking your views on the options we face in accommodating new development.
Doing nothing is not an option. We need to help households who are struggling to find suitable and affordable accommodation in the District, create better conditions for local businesses and adapt to the changing demands on, amongst other things, retail and leisure services. Also, because our current Local Plan will soon be out of date, it will carry less and less weight when applications for new development in the District are being considered. Development will still take place, but we will not have as much control over it and applications may be granted on appeal regardless of the views of local people or the wider needs of the District. In the worst case scenario, the Government could step in and impose a plan on Mole Valley.
Please visit www.futuremolevalley.org or come and speak to one of our officers at a number of drop-ins being held during the consultation period which ends in mid-August. This is an opportunity for everyone in our District to help shape the direction of development and meet the housing and economic demands of Mole Valley whilst protecting the countryside that we all love so much. I do hope that you will take part.
Surrey County Council (SCC) could be making changes to the provision of Community Recycling Centres (CRCs), more commonly known as tips, as part of the authority's effort to find savings of £100million this year. One of the proposals is to close the Ranmore Road CRC in Dorking which, if approved, would leave the Randalls Road site in Leatherhead the only CRC in the District. SCC has launched a public consultation, open until 7 August, to gauge public opinion. Visit www.surreycc.gov.uk/recyclingcentres to respond. We will be responding in the best interests of Mole Valley tax payers and provision of waste and recycling facilities in the District.
At a more local level, we are inviting you to have your say on whether we introduce a Public Spaces Protection Order at Dorking's Meadowbank Recreation Ground - as we did recently for Kingston Road Rec - and to choose your favourite playground design as part of our refurbishment of the Forty Foot playground in Leatherhead. More information on both is available by visiting www.molevalley.gov.uk/pspo and www.molevalley.gov.uk/fortyfoot.
Councillor Vivienne Michael
Leader of the Council
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