Leatherhead appears to have been abandoned by our Liberal Democrat Mole Valley District Councillors. It is a disgrace that Liberal Democrat controlled Mole Valley District Council is within the final 5% of English District and Borough Councils that have not yet ratified a Local Plan.
After the last local elections in May 2019, the Mole Valley Liberal Democrat group, took control of the Local Plan process. They inherited an early draft from the previous administration, the development of which had been led by an Independent Councillor. After substantial alterations to this draft plan, Cllr Mrs Cooksey put the Liberal Draft Local Plan out for consultation - in her name and that of Liberal Democrat group on Mole Valley District Council.
This Lib Dem Draft Plan was roundly condemned by residents in response after response – meeting after meeting. Many Liberal Councillors, realising that their Draft Local Plan was flawed beyond redemption, began speaking against it as a matter of political expediency. It has been announced there will now be no further decisions on the Plan until mid-2021. We - and all Conservatives within the Mole Valley District Council area – are looking to this Plan to Save our Green Belt and Revive our Towns. As it is written, the Liberal Draft Plan demonstrably does neither.
Far from reviving the town, the Draft Plan represents a threat to parks and allotments in Leatherhead and ignores the town’s infrastructure problems.
It is now past time for Cllr Cooksey, the Lib Dem lead on planning, to resign from that role and pass the task to a small team of three competent Councillors, one each from the Conservative, Independent and Lib Dem groups. The first task of this new team must be to recognise the impending changes in planning legislation as set out in the Government’s White Paper on Planning. The new system will divide, for planning purposes, all land into either areas for growth, areas for renewal or protected areas.
• We have brownfield areas in Leatherhead ready for growth.
• We have areas in Leatherhead, including the very centre, suitable for renewal.
• We have Greenfield areas, such as our parks and allotments in Leatherhead that need to be protected.
It is clear to us that the people of Leatherhead strongly support such an approach. Only a vote for a Conservative Mole Valley District Council this May will break the planning deadlock which has gripped Leatherhead—and all Mole Valley—for far too long
Sir Paul Beresford,
Member of Parliament for Mole Valley
County Cllr for Leatherhead & Fetcham East
Conservative Candidate, Leatherhead South
Conservative Candidate, Leatherhead North