Vision for Bookham’s green belt finally rubber-stamped

Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser

Among the main policies put forward by the Vanguard are no changes to the village’s green belt, increased protection for trees and open spaces and more two and three-bedroom homes

By Dorking Advertiser  |  Posted: November 29, 2015

A TASK force charged with completing a review of Bookham’s green belt has finally rubber-stamped its vision for the village spanning the next decade.

Bookham Vanguard, a forum made up of 40 volunteers, has spent more than two years drawing up a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP), the final draft of which has now been released.

An initial draft of the document was published earlier this year, and following a period of consultation with villagers in June and July, the group has made several changes.

The document includes specific planning policies focusing on the village’s environment, infrastructure, housing and local economy up to 2026.

The Vanguard’s leader, Trevor Sokell, told the Advertiser the plan will now be passed on to Mole Valley District Council.

Mr Sokell thanked the more than 120 people who commented on the draft proposals.

He said: “The feedback received was very welcome, and we were delighted that so many residents took the time to read the draft plan and contribute their views.

“During August and September, a sub-group of forum members considered every comment and proposed amendments to the draft plan.

“At a meeting in October the draft plan was reviewed and a vote was held on proposed changes.”

Among the main policies put forward by the Vanguard are no changes to the village’s green belt, increased protection for trees and open spaces and more two and three-bedroom homes.

Provided the authority accepts the plan, it will then be reviewed by the Planning Inspectorate before a referendum is held in the village to decide whether or not to adopt the document.

Once finalised, the document will set out policies agreed upon by the community that developers will have to follow when making planning applications in Bookham.

The Vanguard was formed in 2012 and became one of the first groups to undertake the process of developing an NDP, an initiative introduced by the Localism Act 2011. However, it was forced to stop in late 2013 after ministers said it could not be carried out in isolation to Mole Valley District Council’s Housing and Traveller Sites Plan. When the council terminated work on its own plan in December due to changes in guidance over the green belt, the Vanguard returned to work.

To find out more about Bookham Vanguard visit: www.bookhamvanguard.co.uk

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