Epsom and Ewell Borough Council is currently in the process of publishing and developing its local plan for the area for the
Every local authority is obliged to do this, and to explain how it will meet housing need, look after its local economy and protect its local environment.
Each council has also prepared an assessment of local housing need, based on national guidance of how to do this.
We clearly have a need for new homes locally. There are too many young people who grow up or are educated here but cannot afford to remain here. And we have a serious shortage of social housing.
The housing assessment for Epsom and Ewell is though impossibly high, and I have been clear both nationally and locally that we need to use the provisions in the National Planning Policy Framework that limit what can be done by a local council.
But we do need to do all we can to meet the housing need, and I have proposed a comprehensive redevelopment of the Kiln Lane and Longmead areas to achieve this without building all over our green belt.
Since that time I have had several conversations with the Borough, and also organised the preparation of a draft masterplan by a firm of architects with local connections.
The picture above gives an overview of the plan, and the document below explains it in more detail.
The plan involves the construction of a mixed use area of development, with retail and offices on the lower floors and flats above, with sorplan Proposalme terraced housing on the site as well. This kind of mix is typical of what is being done elsewhere. The buildings would be no higher than those already in and around the town centre.
The scheme provides a comparable amount of commercial space to the present plus nearly 5,000 homes. The plan would be to have car showrooms and parking areas built upwards rather than across large areas of parking. But over time I would expect the commercial space to attract more creative businesses, given the presence in Epsom of the University of the Creative Arts which is now one of the country’s leading institutions of its kind. It would also aim to provide more homes for younger people rather than simply building more executive homes on open land.
I hope this plan serves as a route for Epsom and Ewell Borough Council to plot a different way forward and protect our open spaces.