CPRE “FIGHTING ON MANY FRONTS” ACROSS MOLE VALLEY
Precious green spaces are under threat all over Mole Valley, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).
The Surrey Branch of CPRE says that with more development threats emerging every week it needs 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.
The branch has launched a special “Save Surrey’s Countryside” campaign and is appealing for funds and new volunteers.
CPRE Surrey branch director Andy Smith said: “We are still dealing with the problem of the golf course on Green Belt land at Cherkley – where we are supporting a legal challenge by the local action group – but we have also been hit with a series of new threats throughout Mole Valley. Some though not all of these are down to the inconsistency of Mole Valley council itself, which is not doing enough to protect the district’s green spaces.
“As we enter 2013 we are fighting on a number of different fronts. Plans for new housing estates in Brockham, the proposed surrender of Green Belt land in Great Bookham as part of the redevelopment of the Bookham Grange hotel, and the appalling proposal by MVDC to sell off the Barnett Wood Lane allotments on the edge of Leatherhead and turn the area into a retail park – these are among the most serious dangers.
“Overall the biggest problem is that MVDC is often straying from the agreed Local Plan and from both national and local policy. It is vital that CPRE takes a stand in defence of the Green Belt and Mole Valley’s precious green spaces. Sometimes we are on the same side as the council but increasingly we find ourselves at odds with them because they are not sticking to their own commitments. They are putting spurious claims about ‘economic growth’ in front of the need to protect the environment, especially our countryside and green spaces.”
Smith added that with all these additional battles to fight throughout Mole Valley, CPRE Surrey was becoming “dangerously thinly spread” and that the branch desperately needed more funds and more volunteers to take part in local campaigning.
The branch can be contacted at: CPRE, The Institute, 67 High Street, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 8AH, Tel: 01372 362720; Email:firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also ‘follow’ the branch on Twitter @CPRESurrey.
Press contact: Andy Smith, tel: 07737 271676.