Woking villages earmarked to lose greenbelt status

Hogs Back, Surrey Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Several councils in Surrey are reviewing green belt boundaries as the demand for new homes increases

The greenbelt status of several villages around Woking could be at risk under plans to build 550 new homes between 2022 and 2027.

A review for Woking Borough Council has identified Byfleet, West Byfleet, Mayford, Hook Heath and Brookwood as potential areas for new housing.

The council said the aim of the report was to find possible sites and that no final decisions had been made.

A public consultation will be held at the end of the year.

'Cherished environment'

The plans are part of the Tory-led council's Core Strategy, adopted in October 2012, in which it said 4,964 additional homes needed to be built across the borough by 2027.

The latest report, carried out by independent consultants, found that urban areas did not have enough space to meet building requirements.

The council's leader John Kingsbury said that the greenbelt was "a much cherished part of our natural environment", but land had to be identified to allow new homes to be built.

He added that the council was now "considering the recommendations made by the independent review" and residents would be given the opportunity to have their say later in the year.

A second review will be carried out following the public consultation, with a final report expected to be handed to the government for final approval in summer 2015.

Several councils across Surrey have carried out a review of their greenbelt boundaries in recent months including Mole Valley, Runnymede and Guildford.

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