Planning Appeal for Site Address: 80a, 86 & 88 Woodfield Lane, Ashtead, Surrey,KT21 2BS
Planning Reference: MO/2016/1934
Appeal reference: APP/C3620/W/17/3187875
Recently The Residents' Association heard that the above Appeal was granted by the Inspector in Bristol despite the unanimous rejection by Mole Valley Councillors, a huge number of letters from concerned residents and an objection from the Residents' Association. To see the Inspectors Decision and Conditions attached to the Application, follow this link.
Despite this rejection, many residents still felt strongly that further action should be undertaken and a public meeting was held at which the ARA's Chairman and Planning Officer were present. As a consequence of this meeting Mole Valley's Independent Councillors asked the Council to seek professional opinion as to whether there was room to mount a legal challenge against the decision.
Three chambers were approached, and one to consider the Planning Inspector's report, identified a QC able to respond as a matter of urgency.
That Counsel has now responded, to the effect that he could not find a basis on which to challenge the Inspector's decision. If, nevertheless, a challenge was to be mounted, the first stage would be by statutory appeal, which we understand is likely to cost around £15K for each party. Even if such a challenge were to be successful, the case would then go back to the Planning Inspectorate for decision -- with no guarantee of a different conclusion being reached.
The advice from the legal team in MVDC is that Counsel's report is subject to legal privilege and, in the event that any of the objectors wishing to take their own advice or pursue their own action, it would be best (in their interests) that MVDC maintains this privilege.
In these circumstances it is not considered appropriate for MVDC to incur any further expenditure on this case. This is a most disappointing outcome for Ashtead residents, including all Councillors, but at least the professional advice of a QC was obtained.
Chris Grayling MP has also contacted the Planning Inspectorate whose reply can be seen by clicking this link. Ashtead Independent Councillor, David Hawksworth, has commented that in the new MVDC Local Plan the Independent Councillors will try and get greater weight placed on the Neighbourhood Development Plan - not only for Ashtead, but all those towns and villages who have spent hundreds of man hours preparing a detailed document in the expectation of bringing local influence to bear on planning decisions which was, after all, the alleged purpose of David Cameron's "Localism" initiative.
Planning Application MO/2018/0004 - Creation of a Visitor Centre and Car Parking for the Centenary Wood, Langley Vale
A substantial detailed application has been submitted to Mole Valley District Council (being one of three Councils affected by these proposals) to construct a large Visitor Centre and Car Parking facilities for cars and coaches on the busy junction of Headley Road and Downs Road.
When this was first mooted the Residents' Association submitted strong objections to the siting of these facilities recognising the nature of the busy junction and the likelihood of visitor traffic returning to the A24 and M25 via Ashtead's streets. We have been disappointed that the Woodlands Trust has not taken into account the concerns previously drawn to their attention, and of proposals made to alleviate the situation by moving the car park entrance to Downs Road so there was a clear alternative route to the A24 through Epsom along wider and more direct roads.
Proposals now submitted include proposals for the routing of construction traffic away from the site along Farm Lane and into Park Lane exiting onto the A24. Mole Valley Council have carried out the minimum of advertising of the proposals and we understand very few, if any, residents in the affected roads (Farm Lane and Park Lane) have been formally advised. See map.
We urge residents, not only from those affected roads, to object in the strongest terms to the proposed route for the traffic. In addition, it would do no harm at all to press for the site of the Centre to be reconsidered. Siting it where it is proposed will lead to car and coach traffic exiting via Ashtead's residential roads, possibly ignoring any signage and taking the route past the busy crossroads at Rookery Hill to the sharp narrow bend. Everyone knows that SatNavs are slavishly followed despite clear road signs. The other route would potentially take cars and coaches to Dene Road, again to the sharp bend impassable to coaches.
To view the full application go to
The Standing Committee’s guiding principles when considering planning applications are:
- We review and comment only after a planning application appears on the MVDC running list.
- We do not canvass residents’ opinions as this has the potential to involve us in disputes between neighbours.
- We avoid placing ourselves in a position that requires conflict management or sets up an expectation that we will favour one resident's view against that of another. We leave those issues to the Case Officers and Councillors.
- If residents have concerns they can raise them directly with us and we will take their views into account – but not necessarily follow their direction.
- We comment solely on aspects covered by planning policy.