It’s the end of week two for the Tandridge Local Plan Examination In Public. While some of us may be breathing a huge sigh of relief it is nevertheless interesting to understand if things are going according to plan. It has certainly been an eventful couple of weeks. Some have described Tandridge’s behaviour as a mixture between kicking the proverbial can down the road and that of someone who is incapable of seeing past the end of their nose (or in this case over the border to the wider Gatwick Diamond). But is this quite fair?
The journey to this point has been a long one with Tandridge District Council officers having to navigate their way over a number of hurdles. In evolving their Plan, the administration ran into a maelstrom of opposition; the Leader lost his seat, and officers have disappeared. To say that it has not been smooth running is an understatement. As the examination continues it will be interesting to see who comes out on top, those residents who want to reduce development across the borough or the Council?
So far it seems that Tandridge has taken a risky approach in its defence. The officers have bolstered the case in defence of their housing assessments yet decided to concede certain ground when it comes to objectively assessed need, specifically in relation to figures projecting employment migration into Tandridge. It will be fascinating to see if this approach pays off, especially as it seems that the Council would not be upset if they were told to go back to the drawing board and come back with lower housing numbers.
Tandridge District Council is certainly not alone in facing difficulties. Many of its Surrey neighbours are experiencing similar agonies. Guildford’s Local Plan is still mired in controversy; Waverley’s decisions are being reviewed by the High Court; and as for Mole Valley it seems that further delays to their Plan’s consultation is inevitable.
As trust in our Government and Parliamentarians flounder, Local Plans across the country give councillors a real chance to make a positive impact on society. Here’s hoping that Tandridge District Council comes out of the other side of the examination without too lengthy a delay to their Plan.