Significant changes within society - population growth and people living more independently, longer and in smaller households - mean that the number and sort of buildings we need will change over time. The current economic downturn may have slowed the pace of these changes, but it will not alter them fundamentally.
The planning system requires all councils to find an appropriate balance between two often opposing strands of public interest:
- The need for more and up to date housing, employment, shopping, recreation and leisure opportunities (the growth agenda).
- The natural desire of people to keep the places they cherish as they are (the preservation agenda).
Both of these represent legacies that we must leave to future generations – good places in which to live, work and spend time and places to cherish as we do.
Appropriate development in the right place
Development management recognises these facts and commits the council to finding ways to achieve growth through development that respects local character, i.e. appropriate development in the right place.
The phrase also recognises that development can bring benefits to the community, particularly in parts of the borough where regeneration is needed, and that the council has a responsibility to help make it happen.
Managing development in Reigate & Banstead
In the past, population growth in this country was often accommodated by building over countryside, but that is not a sustainable way of meeting our local needs any longer.
We must protect our valuable open spaces, especially the Green Belt, the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and our Areas of Great Landscape Value.
Tensions between growth and preservation
As a result, new development usually takes place within existing towns and villages, often in low-density residential areas. These areas present the greatest opportunities for more efficient use of land but are also home to communities who may be reluctant to see changes in their local environment.
This, and greater public interest and participation in planning matters over recent years, have increased the pressures on our planning service, where the tensions between the growth and preservation agendas are played out.
We want to foster understanding and consensus within the community on our broad objectives and responsibilities in delivering the planning service. To that end we have drawn up a Statement of Purpose to provide a constant reminder of the issues that the council has to take into account in making planning decisions.