Planning Applications

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 Applications

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

http://www.molevalley.gov.uk/swiftlg/apas/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl?theApnID=MO/2018/0004&theTabNo=3

Letters of Representation submitted by the Residents' Association. Letter 1 & Letter 2.

 

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To see the current plans, click this link: Current Planning. We would urge residents, particularly in the Paul's Place, Park Lane, Farm Lane, Cherry Orchard area, to look at MO/2017/1561 and in particular the proposed reversal of the current traffic flow. The Residents' Association is to object to these proposals as it is felt the changes would exacerbate the present traffic flow and affect local residents. The date for representations has been extended by a further 21 days to allow residents in affected roads to support or object to the proposals.

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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.

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In July 2009 the ARA became aware that residents in the vicinity of a planned development are often unaware of the scheme under consideration for Planning Permission. Councils have to advertise planning applications under Article 8 of the Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995. This makes it mandatory to advertise an application "in a newspaper circulating in the area."  Presently Mole Valley publicise planning applications in The Advertiser but this newspaper is not widely read.

The Government is also undertaking an experiment to scrap this requirement and presently the London Borough of Camden no longer follow the Rule. The Residents' Association believes residents should be made aware of planning applications that may affect their way of life and thus it is proposed to replicate the Council's weekly running list on this web site.

Please note that whilst we will endeavour to keep this up to date, it must be appreciated that this is a voluntary service and holidays and other duties may intervene to prevent the site from being updated. The definitive reference should always be Mole Valley Council's own web site http://www.molevalley.gov.uk.  Search under "Planning/Building".

N.B. You can comment on any current application either through the MVDC Online Planning Database or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by writing to Mole Valley District Council, Pippbrook, Dorking, Surrey RH4 1SJ. 

If you would like further information, please call 01306 879102, or visit MVDC at the Pippbrook Offices (Mon-Fri, 8:30am-5:00pm).

Some residents have asked for guidance on what to include in letters to the Council relating to Planning Applications. The general advice is to let Planning Officers know your concerns. Officers will relate concerns to planning policy and report accordingly.

Your attention is drawn to the Access of Information Act, 1985, which requires that all letters of representations must be made available for inspection and/or copying if requested, by any member of the public and kept for that purpose, for a period of four years. Also, should there be an appeal by the applicant against the Council’s decision, your letter(s) will be forwarded to the Planning Inspectorate and the appellant. All letters received on planning applications will be available for public inspection at the Council Offices, Pippbrook, Dorking.

In making comments on the planning application, it would be helpful if your views could be directed to relevant planning issues. Please note that any duplicated letters will be treated as a petition and, as such, will not be acknowledged individually.