The Court of Appeal has ruled against NHS Property Services trying to prevent a cherished area of greenspace in Leatherhead – Leach Grove Wood – being given statutory protection from development. Local resident Flip Cargill and the Leatherhead Residents Association, supported by the Surrey Branch of CPRE, applied several years ago to register the common land close to Leatherhead Hospital as a ‘village green’ under the Commons Act 2006. Surrey County Council (SCC) agreed to register it, giving Leach Grove Wood protection under the law.
CPRE has published a new map highlighting current threats to London’s Green Belt, which covers 84% of Surrey’s countryside but which is increasingly being “nibbled away”, say the campaigners, by inappropriate development. The map shows nearly 200 sites under threat from development, and proposals for building over 110,000 houses on supposedly “protected” Green Belt land including 41,500 houses in Hertfordshire, 27,000 in Essex, and 20,000 here in Surrey. These include the large housing schemes proposed for Wisley and for Blackwell Farm on the Hogs Back, both included in the latest draft of the Guildford Local Plan.
Surrey countryside campaigners have won their legal action against Mole Valley District Council over the decision to permit the development of a luxury golf and leisure complex at historic Cherkley Court near Leatherhead. In the High Court today (August 22) Mr Justice Haddon-Cave quashed Mole Valley’s decision to grant permission for the development at Leatherhead Downs. The case was brought by the Cherkley Campaign, a local action group, supported by the Surrey Branch of CPRE.
The Metropolitan Green Belt, which covers most of Surrey, is a vital national institution and “we don’t have the right” to give up Green Belt areas for development. That was the message from Crispin Blunt, MP for Reigate, at the CPRE Surrey conference at Dorking Halls on Saturday (18 May). “This is London’s Green Belt and we don’t have the right to give it away to developers” Mr Blunt told the conference. It is all that stops London spreading out and expanding “all the way down into Sussex”, he added.
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.
Campaigners against a golf and leisure development at Cherkley Court near Leatherhead have vowed to continue their fight after the Government decided not to authorize a planning inquiry.
Members of CPRE Surrey Branch said they were “disappointed but not entirely surprised” that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Mr Eric Pickles, had declined to ‘call in’ a decision by Mole Valley councillors in favour of the development.
CPRE Surrey Branch has expressed “disappointment and alarm” at the vote by Mole Valley District Council’s Development Control Committee to allow the development of a… Read More »Mole Valley Council’s golf course vote “sets a dangerous precedent”