Developer takes positives from latest government paper
Redrow, the developer working with the Jockey Club on proposals to bulldoze Kempton and build 3,000 homes, insisted on Wednesday that positives can be gleaned from the government's new housing white paper.
Although Ian Harvey, leader of Spelthorne Borough Council, which along with local residents and the majority of the racing industry is opposed to the plan, stated on Tuesday he was encouraged by the document containing the declaration green belt can be built on only "in exceptional circumstances", Redrow offered a different take on the contents in relation to Kempton.
A statement from the firm read: "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."
It continued: "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 brown field, previously developed land, which will be located adjacent to a future Crossrail 2 station."
The positive comments in relation to Kempton appeared to be at odds with Redrow's general disappointment with the white paper, published on Tuesday.
Chief executive John Tutte on Wednesday criticised the government for not unlocking more green belt land for development on a national scale, on the same day it reported record profits in the six months to December 31.
The Jockey Club has an ambitious ten-year plan to invest £500 million into racing through record prize-money, the transformation of Sandown into a ‘super track’, and the building of a new floodlit all-weather track in Newmarket – all of which depend on securing planning approval for Kempton.