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.