Housing White Paper and the Green Belt

Today the government unveiled its Housing White Paper, which sets how it plans to reform the housing market and increase the supply of new homes. 

The White Paper reiterates the government’s commitment to protect Green Belt boundaries, but recognises that parts of the Green Belt are not the green fields in rolling countryside that we often picture, and that public access to them can be limited. In the case of Kempton Park for example, the site is not publicly accessible and is a former gravel quarry. 

Among the White Paper’s recommendations is that when other options to meet identified development requirements are exhausted, authorities should review Green Belt boundaries. This is a shift from previous policy where there was no such requirement to do this. 

In constrained authorities like Spelthorne, where opportunities for development are limited, the high housing requirement may be an exceptional circumstance that justifies removal of land from the Green Belt to meet local housing need.

If that proves to be the case local authorities should not duck difficult decisions, and the government recommends “reform to national policy to make clear that when carrying out a Green Belt review, local planning authorities should look first at using any Green Belt land which has been previously developed and/or which surrounds transport hubs.”

Kempton Park, which has been submitted to Spelthorne Council’s Call for Sites exercise provides the unique opportunity to build up to 3,000 much needed new homes, partly on brownfield, previously developed land, which will be located adjacent to a future Crossrail 2 station. 

It could also sustain approximately four years of Spelthorne’s housing need, enhance the environmental quality of the site, and deliver full public access to significant areas of retained Green Belt land and other open space on the site for the first time, whilst generating significant contributions to local infrastructure, from improvements to the local road networks, a new school, health facilities and a significant boost to employment.

News Release

Redrow Homes has submitted its representations to the Council’s call for sites exercise for the entirety of the land at Kempton Park, including the operational areas of the racecourse and other associated buildings.  

Redrow reached an agreement with Jockey Club Racecourses Ltd in January 2017 to extend the land within their agreement, after concluding that some development would be better placed on the previously developed section of the site, which is close to the existing urban centre and benefits from greater proximity to the railway station and the future Crossrail 2 route. The total gross developable area now stands at approximately 230 acres and Redrow’s initial capacity studies indicate that the site could provide for circa 3,000 new homes. Redrow wish to make it absolutely clear that it is not suggesting that the entire site is built on and this move could allow for the retention of a significant area of Green Belt, alongside the provision of other publicly accessible on-site open space.Jockey Club Racecourses Ltd fully supports this move as an enabling measure, facilitating comprehensive re-investment in its other UK racing facilities for the betterment of the horseracing industry. Kempton Park Racecourse will continue to stage its racing fixtures and other events while this process is underway. If the proposals are successful and approved through the planning system, starting with the local plan then there would be a phased release of the site. It is anticipated that racing would continue until at least 2021, providing ample time for their relocation. Racing in Surrey will not be lost. The Jockey Club remains committed to investing in racing in Surrey and including a major boost to the facilities at nearby Sandown Park, which is less than six miles away.

Although we are acutely aware of the sensitivities surrounding this site, we hope that this latest development may be seen as an opportunity for Spelthorne to provide a substantial element of its residual housing need on one site, which includes brownfield land and allows for the retention of a significant area of the Green Belt in this location.

The increase in unit numbers will make a significant contribution towards meeting the local housing need, delivering around four years of the Borough’s housing need on one site and supporting the local community in this respect. In addition to housing, the site could deliver significant improvements to the local road network, particularly at Sunbury Cross and has the potential to deliver a new school, health facilities, shops and other community facilities.

Spelthorne Local Plan

Spelthorne progresses its Local Plan

After several months of delays, Spelthorne Borough Council has begun the next phase in the preparation of their evidence base to inform the Local Plan process. The “Call for Sites” began on 18th October and will run until 10th January, and will provide information on the land available in Spelthorne where new homes could be delivered.

An independent Strategic Housing Market Assessment found that Spelthorne needs to provide between 552-757 homes per year until 2030, so this exercise will help identify what land is available to accommodate more homes. This will encompass all available land in the Borough, some of which may currently be constrained for development by flood zones and the Green Belt.

The task for the Council will then be to determine which sites are the most sustainable, andsuitable, fordevelopment.

The Council is also conducting a review of its Green Belt boundaries, and is currently consulting on how this should be carried out.

Considering the lack of brownfield sites in the Borough, as well as the large amount of land at risk of flooding, it is likely that some Green Belt land will need to be used for housing if the Council’s Local Plan is to be found sound at independent examination.

For more information about the Local Plan process, please click here.

Read more about the progress of Spelthorne’s Local Plan here.

Heathrow Decision

Ministers approve third runway at Heathrow

The Government has given its support for a third runway at Heathrow Airport, which it says will improve the UK’s connections with the rest of the world and “support trade and jobs”. The long-awaited decision was made at a Cabinet Committee on Tuesday despite opposition from some ministers with constituencies near to the flight path.

Although construction is not likely to begin until at least 2020, the expansion of Heathrow could result in changes to housing and employment forecasts in the west London and Thames corridor areas, including Spelthorne, where the Council supported the expansion.

Local authorities will need to work together to ensure the delivery of new infrastructure and housing, which will be necessary to support growth in the local job market and to house populations displaced by the new runway. They will also need to ensure that the housing need outlined by the Airports Commission, of 60-70,000 homes, is met in addition to the existing unmet housing need in their areas. 

Read the full article here.

Sajid Javid MP

Javid: Tackling housing shortfall a “moral duty”

Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid MP has described tackling the housing crisis as a “moral duty” in a speech to the Conservative Party Conference. This follows comments made by Prime Minister Theresa May in June, when she stated that:

“Unless we deal with the housing deficit, we will see house prices keep on rising. Young people will find it even harder to afford their own home. The divide between those who inherit wealth and those who don’t will become more pronounced. And more and more of the country’s money will go into expensive housing instead of more productive investments that generate more economic growth.”

Mr Javid made the comments at the launch of a £5 billion fund designed to help build over 250,000 new homes, which will be spent on infrastructure improvements, loans to small building companies, and fast tracking building projects.

Calling on local authorities and communities to play their part, Mr Javid said that the Government wants “to ensure everyone has a safe and secure place to live”.

This highlights the responsibility of individual councils to provide more housing locally, and is particularly relevant in Surrey. Across the county, house prices are the highest outside of London and an average home costs 12 times the average salary – and only half of the new homes needed to meet demand are being built.

Over the last five years an average of 219 new homes a year have been delivered in Spelthorne. If this rate of house-building continues, the borough will have an approximate shortfall of between 333 and 538 homes per year. This crisis will worsen for every year that the Council fails to deliver more housing, and will disproportionately affect those on lower incomes.

If future generations are to put down roots in Spelthorne, and continue to contribute to the local economy, the borough council has a moral responsibility to plan for a much higher rate of housing delivery now, rather than waiting for the crisis to become worse.

Read the full article here.

Gavin Barwell MP

Barwell warns that Councils cannot “duck” from meeting housing need

Planning Minister Gavin Barwell has warned local authorities that he will not “let them get away with ducking” the decision of meeting housing need in their area.

Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference earlier in the month, Mr Barwell committed to work “intensively” to boost housing supply in areas where housebuilding was not keeping up with population growth, and promised that the Government would ensure councils’ housing need assessments were a “robust” and accurate reflection of local need.

Spelthorne will therefore have to robustly consider all options to deliver more housing, which could include releasing land from the Green Belt. If Spelthorne Borough Council does not consider all options and plan to deliver significantly less than their housing need, they are likely to face problems with their Local Plan at independent examination.

Read the full article here.

Information Day

Information Day report back

Redrow would like to thank all those who attended the Information Day, which was held at Kempton Park on Saturday 23rd April. The aim of the Information Day was to introduce members of the project team; provide an overview of Redrow’s involvement in the land to the east of Kempton Park; introduce Redrow's approach to promote the site through Spelthorne Borough Council’s Local Plan process and provide local residents with an opportunity to share their views.

In total the event attracted 230 attendees, mostly from the Sunbury and Hampton area, and the project team received 118 pieces of written feedback.  

Key Summary of feedback

  • Over half of attendees found the session useful;
  • 57% of respondents were aware of previous gravel quarrying activities on the site;
  • The main issues affecting Sunbury and Hampton residents are considered to be:
    • Traffic Congestion;
    • Health Care;
    • Loss of Green Belt land;
    • School Places; and
    • Air Quality.
  • 45% of Sunbury and Hampton respondents felt that there was no need for new homes in Spelthorne. However 55% either felt new homes were necessary or unsure about the local need for housing.
  • If a development was to come forward on the Kempton Park site, local residents expressed the desire for:
    • A Health Centre;
    • Parks/Wildlife Corridors; and
    • A School.

Next Steps

Redrow has appointed consultants for traffic, planning and the environment. After reviewing the comments received at the Information Day, Redrow is working with the project team to address the matters that were raised to inform the proposals moving forwards.

Redrow is committed to working alongside the local community during the promotion of the site. Over 65% of residents expressed an interest in participating in further discussions regarding the site, and there will be further opportunities for local residents to share their views moving forwards.

Cross Rail

Crossrail 2

Introduction

Crossrail 2 has been given the go-ahead by the Government. On 10th March, the National Infrastructure Commission published its report, “Transport for a World City”, in which it formally endorsed the Crossrail 2 proposals. Soon after, Chancellor George Osborne pledged £80m in the Budget to develop the project, and announced that this figure will be matched by Transport for London.

Click here to read “Transport for a World City”.

So what is Crossrail 2?

Crossrail 2 is a proposed new rail line that would run south-west to north-east across London. It will provide a direct link in the south-west to the line linking Kempton Park, Sunbury, and Shepperton stations, and will bypass London Waterloo by sending trains across central London.

Click here to view the proposed route of Crossrail 2.

What does this mean for Spelthorne?

The national rail network is facing a huge increase in demand, with passenger numbers into London more than doubling in the last 20 years. The highest level of crowding on London-bound trains in 2030 has been forecast to occur on the South West Main Line, which runs through Clapham Junction into London Waterloo. As growth continues, this will place significant pressure on rail services from Spelthorne.

Crossrail 2 will:

  • Bring continued investment into Staines and Sunbury, and boost local businesses
  • Reduce travel time and overcrowding for commuters into London
  • Increase the frequency of train services running through Sunbury and Kempton Park
  • Reduce strain on local roads

What could this mean for housing?

The National Infrastructure Commission has stated that Crossrail 2 is expected to facilitate the development of 200,000 homes in and around London. It is widely agreed that London is facing a housing crisis, and one of the best ways to facilitate housing land supply is by enhancing transport links.

The Commission has highlighted that 75,000 of the 200,000 homes that could potentially be unlocked by Crossrail 2 would be outside Greater London in counties such as Surrey. There should be a particular emphasis on building new homes near Crossrail 2 stations. With two stations on the route, Sunbury will be in a prime location to help unlock this housing potential.

Crossrail 2 could assist Spelthorne Borough Council by providing the necessary infrastructure to support housing growth to meet local needs, which its own evidence base documents have shown is necessary.

Click here for more information on Spelthorne’s housing need.

In summary:

Crossrail 2 would not only support local businesses in Spelthorne, improve commuting conditions and potentially relieve pressure on the local highway network but it would also provide an opportunity to deliver much needed housing for local people around stations, like those in Sunbury, in line with the recommendations of the National Infrastructure Commission. Local residents can help to plan positively for such opportunities through their involvement in the Local Plan process.

Meet The Team

Meet the Team

Hello and welcome to the News section of our website. We plan to keep this updated regularly over the coming months to keep local residents informed of any updates.

As we will be holding a number of consultation events in Spelthorne over the coming months, we thought we should take this opportunity to introduce the team who will be working with the local community.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch with Sarah or Lucy at Curtin&Co – their details can be found here.


Who we are and what we do

 

Nick Stanton OBE

Nick is a Director at Curtin&Co, and is responsible for deciding our long-term plan of engagement regarding Kempton Park. 

He is experienced in local government, and was the Liberal Democrat Leader of Southwark Council for eight years until May 2010.

Sarah Wardle

Sarah is an Account Manager at Curtin&Co, and is responsible for the day-to-day running of Curtin&Co’s programme of community engagement in Spelthorne.

Sarah has worked in the Sunbury area previously and will be on hand to answer any questions or queries.

Lucy Yaqub

Lucy is an Account Executive at Curtin&Co, and assists Sarah in communicating with the local community in Spelthorne about Kempton Park.

She was previously the Office Manager for the Mole Valley Conservative Association in Surrey, and played a key role in organising their 2015 election campaigns.


 

Redrow is the property developer that has been selected by the Jockey Club to bring forward plans for the Kempton Park site. Redrow is one of the UK’s leading residential house builders, with a strong track record of delivering high quality-homes across the country.

For more information please click here.

Julian Larkin

Julian will be managing the Kempton Park proposals for Redrow and will be the key decision-maker for all elements of the project.

He is the Group Planning Director at Redrow, and has a wealth of experience of working in this field.


 

Terence O'Rourke is an award winning planning and design company which works on housing, industrial and commercial developments. They have been appointed to advise Redrow on planning policy, and will aid and advise Redrow in working with and responding to the emerging Local Plan.

For more information please click here.

Jacqueline Mulliner

Jacqueline joined the practice in 1993 as a junior planner and became a Director in 2012. She has a considerable amount of experience in the health sector working on hospital estate rationalisation, new hospitals and redevelopment schemes.


 

Amey is one of the largest and most diverse companies working for the public and regulated sectors in the UK. They work with customers to create better places to live, work and travel by delivering a diverse range of services across a variety of sectors.

Amey will be providing their extensive highway expertise, including transport planning and traffic engineering for the Kempton Park site.

For more information please click here.


 

JNP are an engineering consultancy in the fields of civil, structural and geotechnical works, with experience of projects ranging from single infill housing to major residential and commercial developments. JNP will provide assessments of surface water, waste water and flood risk for the Kempton Park site.

For more information please click here.


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Hankinson Duckett Associates is a professional consultancy, combining landscape architecture, masterplanning, ecology, and heritage, to resolve complex and large scale design and planning issues. They will be primarily conducting ecological surveys of the Kempton Park site.

For more information please click here.