The Love Hambrook Marshes team have been relatively gentle in their critique of the City Council’s decision to build the park and ride extension at Wincheap right down to the river.
In fact, the Council’s defence of their decision rests entirely on an interpretation of what “safeguarding” of land means which is at best disingenuous and possibly deliberately misleading.
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) defines Safeguarded Land as “land between the urban area and the Green Belt.  Safeguarded Land ensures the protection of Green Belt … by reserving land which may be required to meet longer-term development needs without the need to alter Green Belt boundaries….”
There is thus no implication whatever that safeguarded land has been pre-allocated for development in the short term. More specifically, the NPPF says that “local planning authorities should make clear that the safeguarded land is not allocated for development at the present time. Planning permission for the permanent development of safeguarded land should only be granted following a Local Plan review …” (my emphasis).
So, when Rob Davies for the Council says that “ … the new location has already been agreed in the Local Plan and … tested thoroughly …” he is, unusually for him, talking nonsense. The Local Plan simply protects the area from development pending an application from the Council which, under the NPPF, requires a Local Plan review. Neither the development in principle of the park and ride extension, nor the planning application in detail, can be prejudged by the designation of the area as safeguarded land.
If the Council carries on with this regardless of the rules and public opinion it is likely to find its decisions successfully challenged by those who cherish our riverbanks and green spaces.