Agenda for Meeting of Epsom & Ewell Borough Council on 22nd Mar 2023

I hereby summon you to attend a meeting of the Council of the Borough of Epsom and Ewell which will be held at the Council Chamber, Epsom Town Hall, Epsom on WEDNESDAY, 22ND MARCH, 2023 at 7.30 pm. The business to be transacted at the Meeting is set out on the Agenda overleaf.

Link for public online access to this meeting:
Webinar ID:920-509-059
Telephone (listen-only): 020 3713 5012, Telephone Access code:753-011-440

Questions from the Public
Questions from the public are not permitted at meetings of the Council.


This Council notes that:

  1. Extensive green areas, especially the green belt, and the absence of high-level development in our urban areas makes Epsom and Ewell a distinctive, green and an excellent place to live.
  2. Under the existing legislation Local Planning Authorities are being required to draft Local Plans on the basis of out of date, 2014, data that does not reflect Epsom and Ewell’s housing need, as shown in more recently available 2018 data.
  3. The Government’s recently proposed legislative changes to the planning process, whilst welcome in several aspects, are not yet enacted and the current legal position has not changed.

    These factors suggest that a pause in progressing the Draft Local Plan in its current form would provide an opportunity to assess the Government’s draft proposals as well as the 2018 data on housing need in the borough.

    This Council therefore agrees that:
    i. Other than for the purpose of analysing the responses of the public consultation to capture residents’ views and any new information, the Local Plan process be paused to enable:

a) further work on brown field sites, including information arising out of the Regulation 18 consultation
b) further options to be considered that do not include green belt sites
c) an analysis of Epsom and Ewell’s required future housing numbers based on 2018 data
d) a clearer understanding of the Government’s legislative intentions in regard to protections for the green belt and the current mandatory target for housing numbers.

ii. Write to the MP for Epsom and Ewell calling on in him to use his influence to get the Government to abandon its use of 2014 data to calculate housing need and accept that all planning and housing policies must reflect the latest data if they are to be effective as well command the respect of the people they affect.

Relevant Committee and Chair of the Committee

Licensing and Planning Policy Committee
Chair: Councillor Steven McCormick

Background papers

The documents referred to in compiling this report are as follows:
Previous reports:
Licensing and Planning Policy Committee, 30 January 2023

Epsom’s Largest Ever Petition tops 10,000 Signatures

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
The petition can be seen on clicking on Petition tab.

Save Downs Farm

Downs farm is the 110-acre open land on either side of College Road between Epsom and Nork. Council’s own studies concluded that Downs Farm meets the requirements for land to be retained as Green Belt – it serves to separate the eastern part of Epsom from the Drift Bridge area of Reigate and Banstead. It has the rare calcareous grassland habitats and is also home to many wildlife, such as 20+ species of birds(including skylarks, red kites, owls, woodpeckers), deer, bats, hedgehogs, and many more.

However, this beautiful Green Belt is in imminent danger of being developed into hundreds of houses, in the upcoming draft Local Plan to be published on 1st February 2023.

Please urgently write to EEBC Councilors and Planning Officers to help stopping this, contact details listed below.

Why Downs Farm cannot be released from Green Belt?
1. EEBC’s Green Belt study concluded “due to its landscape and visual sensitivity, and high sensitivity to development, it is not suitable for release”. Developing a perfectly green and beautiful land will set the precedent of horrendously ripping up Epsom’s Green Belt, destroying biodiversity and green space that is crucially needed right now, and changing Epsom into another over-developed urban town forever.

2. The area is out-of-town and very poorly served by public transport, so development on Downs Farm will, inevitably, put hundreds more cars and other vehicles on to our already overcrowded and polluted roads.

3. Downs Farm area has one of the most over-subscribed schools, dentists, GPs within Epsom. Surrey County Council has no plan to build more schools, so mass developing without infrastructure and service support is very short-sighted and is disastrous for local people.

4. Downs Farm is close to a SSSI and has High Green Conservation Area and listed buildings onsite, therefore it will limit the type of houses can be built on, which won’t help with the affordable housing issues.

What can Council do instead?
1. The unrealistic and outdated housing target pushed down by Central government can be successfully challenged. Council should adopt its own target based on evidence based analysis.
2. Epsom & Ewell need affordable homes in central easily accessible locations with superb transport links. There are alternative brownfield plans which offer more affordable homes, together with town rejuvenation and employment opportunities.

So please take action:
Write to Epsom & Ewell Planning and Policy Committee (, Cllr Steve McCormick(Chair of the Planning Committee, Victoria Potts (Chief Planning officer:,

Sign the Petition via this link:

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