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 Chairman Tim Murphy writes to Bob Neill MP:
“Planning needs to ‘hold the ring’ between economic, social and environmental considerations. You are, presumably, aware of the history of planning in the UK which has given us a system of regulation that is widely admired around the world. Planning is not, and should never be, designed to simply advance a development agenda. It isn’t planning controls that have caused our current economic problems but bankers and, indeed, the lack of regulation in the financial sector.”
Countryside campaigners have been dealt a double blow after it emerged that one in three Green Belt planning applications is approved. Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) approved 329 out of 979 applications in the Green Belt in 2010/11, similar to the previous year, when 391 out of 926 were permitted. The figures, obtained by the Leatherhead Advertiser after a request made under the Freedom of Information Act, come weeks after the Government announced a “simplification” of planning rules, which conservation groups claim will allow widespread building on the Green Belt.