The future of Surrey’s Green Belt and countryside will come under the spotlight at a major conference in Dorking this weekend. Reigate MP Crispin Blunt, Surrey County Councillors Ian Beardsmore and Jonathan Essex, and Caterham neighbourhood forum’s Chris Windridge, will be among the guest speakers at the event hosted by CPRE at the Dorking Halls on Saturday 18 May. On the agenda will be the threatened loss of Green Belt land across Surrey as development pressures grow and local councils struggle to balance the protection of countryside with the targets imposed on the districts for new housebuilding.
Countryside campaigners have won permission for a full Judicial Review of Mole Valley District Council’s decision to allow the development of a golf and leisure complex at Cherkley Court near Leatherhead. Members of the Cherkley Campaign and CPRE Surrey Branch were at the High Court on 24th April for a hearing to determine whether the case should go to trial. The judge agreed with the Cherkley Campaign’s lawyers that there is an arguable case against MVDC with regard to the decision on Cherkley, and gave permission for the case to be brought to trial as soon as possible. He also renewed a Court injunction instigated by the Cherkley Campaign which imposes restrictions on the construction work that can be carried out on-site pending the outcome of the Judicial Review.
Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Surrey Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England will be held on Saturday 18th May 2013, commencing at 11.00am, at The Masonic Hall, Dorking Halls, Reigate Road, Dorking, Surrey.
Countryside campaigners have expressed “profound shock and dismay” at the deliberate destruction of mature oak trees at a Green Belt site in Oxted, Surrey. The 10 trees at the site off Chichele Road were ‘girdled’ (the bark cut through with a chainsaw so that the tree dies). Tandridge Council is investigating a potential offence regarding Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) on some of those trees. This “environmental vandalism” has taken place on Green Belt land before any planning application has been submitted by the developers and before an Environmental Impact Assessment, requested by Tandridge Council, could be carried out.
The Surrey Branch of CPRE has welcomed the unanimous vote by Surrey County Council to do all in its power to defend the Green Belt and ensure that future development meets local needs. CPRE Surrey director Andy Smith said: “Surrey County Council is right to make protection of the Green Belt a county-wide priority. Throughout Surrey the Green Belt is at risk. Indeed, never before has the Green Belt faced such serious threats…
Local countryside campaigners were horrified to hear this week that Longshot Cherkley Court Ltd, the company that owns the Cherkley estate outside Leatherhead, is about to start applying a total herbicide to the wildflower meadows on Leatherhead Downs in preparation for the development of a golf course. The Cherkley Campaign and CPRE Surrey are working together to stop the development of an environmentally destructive golf and leisure complex at Cherkley, the former home of Lord Beaverbrook. They are warning that the ecological damage that will be done by applying a total herbicide to the meadows will have a devastating and permanent impact on the area’s biodiversity….
Precious green spaces are under threat all over Mole Valley, according to the Surrey Branch of CPRE. More development threats are emerging every week, highlighting the need for CPRE to urgently step up its activities in defence of the Green Belt. Major flashpoints include new housing schemes in Brockham, a possible retail park on the outskirts of Leatherhead and potential loss of valuable Green Belt land in Great Bookham and Effingham. Mole Valley council is about to embark on a review of the Green Belt boundaries in the district which could put yet more of the local countryside at risk. CPRE Surrey has launched a special “Save Surrey’s Countryside” campaign and is appealing for funds and new volunteers.
The Surrey Branch of CPRE will support legal proceedings by a local action group, the Cherkley Campaign, against the decision by the Development Control Committee of Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) to approve the development of a golf and leisure complex at Cherkley Court near Leatherhead.
CPRE is supporting the Cherkley Campaign because it believes that a Judicial Review could overturn MVDC’s decision to give planning consent for the golf course. The Council committee’s decision was made against the advice of MVDC’s own Planning Officers and in conflict with a number of provisions in the Mole Valley Local Plan.