Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who engaged and helped to prepare the Runnymede 2030 Local Plan.
Runnymede's thriving communities mix high quality international headquarters and high-tech industry with historic landscapes and open spaces.
We all benefit from the best of all worlds with both access to connected services, vibrant employment as well as the countryside and a diverse culture.
The Runnymede Local Plan 2030 guides growth to meet the needs of our communities, while taking the opportunities to best preserve our treasured heritage, preserve our environment and enhance our green spaces over the next 15 years.
Balancing the conflicting needs within a small constrained Borough is always going to be a continuous challenge, but Runnymede Borough Council can continue to remain the envy of other boroughs and districts not only in Surrey but also the regional economy.
This Local Plan is a combination of growth and conservation, as we accommodate our growing population and its inherent societal demands that underpin the objectives of this local plan.
It is the policy set forth by the members of Runnymede Borough Council to commit themselves to a 'brownfield first' approach in identifying land suitable for development; this has been showcased in leading the way by supporting town centre regenerations to support our residents and business' requirements.
Our growth cannot however be entirely met within our urban area and sites have been identified within our Green Belt to help our communities sustainably grow.
Pioneering garden village development
This includes a new Surrey village, at Longcross Garden Village, becoming one of the first of 14 nationwide, which also contains an Enterprise Zone of new business adjacent to Longcross Station.
Continued residential growth must be accompanied by the necessary infrastructure and services to support the residents of Runnymede. As such, there are many working parties whom are working with partners, including the county council, to support investment in our roads, including the construction of Runnymede Roundabout and the improvements to the A320 road, and to tackle the extraordinary challenge of flooding in our Borough by supporting the River Thames Scheme and safeguarding land for this.
This cannot be done by Runnymede alone, and requires support of other strategic working agencies in the area. Opportunities for improved and enhanced rail links are also supported. The core effect of this local plan is to maintain the very high level of employment and enterprise in the Borough. This remains as perhaps the most important facet in the delivery of the Local Plan.
The most strategic sites are protected for this while we continue to support all areas of our economy. Meeting our housing need is extremely challenging but no stone was left unturned in the discovery phase of this plan to ensure that the Council did its utmost in finding ways to provide for all the types of housing we need including affordable and self-build housing and new homes for specialist needs including older people, Gypsies and Travellers and students.
The depth and breadth of the housing plans that are in this plan shows that we are building a diverse yet prosperous borough and accommodating all the relevant social and economic needs.
Cllr Nick Prescot, Leader, Runnymede Borough Council