Epsom’s Largest Ever Petition tops 10,000 signatories against Green Belt Development, yet “head in sand” Council refuse to acknowledge it, say angry residents
A petition launched against the inclusion of Green Belt sites for housing in Epsom and Ewell Borough Council’s Draft Local Plan has now topped 10,000 signatories, ( as at March 16 ). Believed to be the largest ever petition response to any policy change in the borough, this record petition continues to attract signatures daily.
Some 2,175 homes are proposed in five Green Belt sites in Epsom and Ewell’s Draft Plan, as “not enough” capacity can be found on priority brownfield sites, claim the Council. This represents over 40% of the total 5,400 new homes proposed.
Residents are furious that, under the EEBC constitution, the petition has continued to be considered unacceptable by the Council, with “local development plans” excluded as a permitted petitioner policy subject.
The petition has been organised by Epsom & Ewell Green Belt group, and campaign leader Yufan Si said, “It goes against natural democracy to ban certain petition subjects, but this Council – controlled by Resident Association councillors- appears to have its head in the sand over its residents’ views.”
“We have already forced a change in the Council’s Constitution which actually banned Public Questions at Council Committee Meetings that related to any current Agenda item. The absurdity of this position has now been acknowledged and changed from May 4. We now ask EEBC’s Constitution Committee to review the validity of petition bans, as it is obvious in this case that the Council are seriously out of step with a huge swathe of residents’ concerns over Green Belt loss .”
An Extraordinary full Council meeting has now been fixed for March 22 to debate a motion to pause the Plan until new government planning guidelines are confirmed in May, following an intervention by Cllr Eber Kington and other councillors.
With Draft Local Plan public consultation comments due in by this Sunday, 19th March, residents can complete a consultation response on https://epsom-ewell.inconsult.uk/
The petition can be seen on https://www.epsomgreenbelt.org clicking on Petition tab.
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