Environment & Planning
Our villages are struggling to retain their village status and rural charm. The area is currently part of an area ia largely surrounded by Metropolitan Green Belt, which was designated in 1947 in response to the need to control the rapid outward spread of London suburbia.

Green Belt legislation has helped to protect both Tadworth and Walton from inappropriate development over many decades, and perhaps the most worrying issue for us is the prospect of a fundamental Government policy rethink on the Green Belt. It is fortunate that a signficant proportion of Walton is in a conservation area and parts of both villages are situated within Residential Areas of Special Character which allows some protection against innapropriate development.

There is unceasing pressure from developers to increase the density of residential accommodation in our area which is aided, from time to time, by the changing policies of successive Governments. This results in the creeping effect of incremental development with its impact on local services, the environment and infrastructure. With each planning approval comes further pressure on already stretched health and social services, on limited school places, and on an under-funded road network

Local Development Framework
The LDF is a folder of documents called Local Development Documents (LDDs). Documents with development plan status will be known as Development Plan Documents (DPDs). Other guidance will be known as Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs). The policies in the LDF are guided by the South East Plan.

A major part of the LDF is the Core Strategy. The Core Strategy will 'join up' town planning and land use matters with plans and strategies that deal with community issues such as health, community safety, housing, employment, community development, education, transport, the environment and regeneration. This document will lay out a vision of how the Borough is expected to change in the period to 2026.

The TWRA has been actively involved in consultations at all stages of the Core Strategy and will continue to press for policies which will maintain the character and quality of our two villages. We gave evidence at the May 2013 Examination in Public into the Core Strategy and put forward the case that by using more realistic figures for windfalls and slightly decreasing the amount of inward migration, it would be possible to avoid new urban extensions into the Green Belt. Although we were unsuccessful in this, it was gratifying that the Inspector, despite very heavy pressure from developers and landowners, did not increase the housing target beyond the current 460 dwellings per year and accepted the Council’s evidence.

There is currently a consultation on changes to the text and we anticipate that the Plan will be adopted this autumn.

The next stage will be the preparation of the Development Management Plan which will build on the Core Strategy and include more detailed policies and site allocations. The Council is planning to consult on this in Spring of 2014.

What do we do? We…
constantly monitor planning applications.
work with Reigate & Banstead planners and our councillors to ensure good local planning and development.
work with residents in the case of controversial or sensitive applications.
support the Council in local planning appeals.
monitor changes in legislation and government proposals for both the Borough and the South East Region.

The TWRA continues to fight against overdevelopment because we believe that the open aspect and semi-rural character of our villages is paramount and the reason many of us chose to live in the area. Other sound reasons against too intense a development of the built environment in Tadworth and Walton such as lack of infrastructure, traffic congestion, and parking also remain as critical planning considerations. The TWRA are convinced that this insidious piecemeal approach without considering the bigger picture will soon seriously impact on the distinctive character of the area.

The association must therefore maintain a constant watching brief on planning applications affecting land and property in the local area. It must be said that most of the applications are for sympathetic development of individual properties which are usually evaluated without objection. However, there are an increasing number of applications from property developers which involve demolition of existing property to create high density flats which can be incompatible with surrounding property and the wider area. A proliferation of this type of development would fundamentally change the character of the villages and increase pressure on the road network. These applications are therefore normally resisted. However, with the current economic downturn there has been a dramatic drop in such planning applications.

Effective resistance to planning applications is no easy task and requires a lot of careful work. To this end the TWRA enjoys the continuing support of our borough councillors who are, of course, in a strong position to present a balanced case before the borough planning committees.

But not all development is inappropriate. Preserving the village is not the same as opposing all development. Several successful developments have gone through unopposed, such as Corner Farm Close, Willowbank Gardens and the Meade Court. Tadworth Park is an example of working with developers to ensure the sort of high quality development which fits with the character of the area. As with many developments the outcome is a compromise and there are such problems with some houses being close to protected trees. However, the TWRA constantly seeks to capture the balanced view on development and its impact on the villages in the longer term.