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The Planning Inspectorate (PINS) has published its decision which allows Surrey County Council (SCC) to introduce parking charge equipment onto the Newlands Corner site (see attachments). Whilst disappointing, the result is not unexpected. There have been a number of indicators:
- lack of public inquiry when there really should have been one according to PINS’s own criteria;
- rigid enforcement of the public’s deadline to make representations;
- PINS allowing three extensions to SCC’s deadline to respond to representations, doubling the length of time given in law – even though it does not have the power to do so;
- two significant changes to the application – one which the public was not told about, the second revealed but not properly notified to the public (see next);
- the public being sent a copy of SCC’s response “for information” rather than with the usual invitation to make further representations;
- a dormouse survey and bat survey, completed for the next application (for large artificial play structures) withheld by SCC until 24 hours before the decision. These indicate that licences to work in or near habitats (“mitigation licences”) might be needed for the installation of the parking charge equipment.
The greatest disappointment is the quality of the decision itself. It lacks intellectual rigour, fails to address properly the impacts that the machines will have on the neighbourhood and simply accepts SCC’s vague promises about future monitoring. The main consideration has been sympathy with SCC’s financial situation, rather than with the registered common and natural countryside PINS is there to protect. SCC’s refusal to even provide a financial/business plan has been ignored. There is no consideration of a Friends of Newlands Corner alternative.
Most disturbing is the way the inspector fails to acknowledge that 10 local Councils objected and dismisses the 1,400 objections because of the existence of a Save Newlands Corner campaign. All our campaign has ever done is to try to keep people informed of the facts, set out the issues and counter the misleading information that has flowed out of SCC. It has always been your decision as to what you do with that. The inspector implies that neither you nor elected Councils have any independent thought and that your concerns are not worthy of consideration. That is indefensible.
Natural England has been told about the surveys. We shall see what that brings.
SCC has to apply to itself (unfortunately) for planning permission and to the Planning Inspectorate again for ‘commons consent’ for the play structures. Notices must be placed in the Surrey Advertiser (in ‘Planning applications’ and ‘Public notices’). This may well happen very quickly, within 2-4 weeks, now that the parking charge equipment has been approved.
Save Newlands Corner will oppose the applications.
Click here to read the Get Surrey article from 20th Febraury 2017 regarding the Planning Inspectorate decision.
Nearly 1,400 people objected to SCC’s proposed parking charge infrastructure at Newlands Corner. The Planning Inspectorate has now sent out a copy of SCC’s response to those who objected. To those of you who have received it, please read it carefully. It is what SCC does not say that is just as important as what it does say. (Read a copy of the SCC letter and Planning Inspectorate covering letter by clicking the links below.). Save Newlands Corner concerns are listed on the document linked below.
The Inspectorate has not asked for responses, which it normally does. It considers it has enough information. However, if you wish to challenge the letter, the Inspectorate has confirmed that it would accept those letters. However, it will not accept objections, evidence or comments from anyone who did not object by the original 21 October 2016 deadline.
If you wish to challenge the SCC letter, please send it to:
The Planning Inspectorate, 3F Hawk Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol, BS1 6PN. Mr Rob Davis – firstname.lastname@example.org
APPLICATION REFERENCE COM/3158795 – Commons Act 2006: Section 38. Application to Construct Restricted Works on Common Land at Albury Downs (known as Newlands Corner), Surrey
Surrey County Council has confirmed how parking charges at Newlands Corner, if permitted, would be collected and could be used to subsidise the rest of Surrey. For details click here.
The Planning Inspectorate has now sent copies of the objections received to Surrey County Council and expects to make a decision in March. For details click here
See our post about the Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) AGM held on 12 November 2016. The Chief Executive claims that Parking charges will go ahead next year. Click here to read more.
Also see our new post regarding a recent communication from Surrey County Council. Click here.
The Planning Inspectorate has been inundated with objections to the Surrey County Council plans for Newlands Corner.
You can view the documents we produced regarding this application, just Click Here.
The following Parish Councils have now objected to the Surrey County Council (SCC) Plans:
Worplesdon; West Horsley; Shere; West Clandon; Albury; St. Martha; Ripley; Abinger Hammer; West Clandon and Send.
The following Associations and Organisations have also objected:
The Clandon Society; Merrow Residents’ Association; Burpham Community Association; Ockham and Hatchford Residents’ Association; the Guildford and East Waverley Green Party and Guildford Astronomical Society.
If your organisation has also objected and we do not show you on the list above, just let us know via the ‘Contact us’ tab above and we will add you. Thank you.
See our article about The People’s Trust for Endangered Species report on, ‘The State of Britain’s Dormice. Newlands Corner is a known habitat for the dormice and we need to protect it. Read more here.
The Open Spaces Society has come out against the Newlands Corner Proposals. See our post here.
Please see our new post ‘Friends of Newlands Corner Proposal‘. The Surrey Advertiser have covered our proposal. See our ‘In The Press’ section or click on the link here to go to the Get Surrey web site.
We have produced a FACT SHEET detailing the main points of the situation and our thoughts on each topic. See our post ‘Fact Sheet – Summary of the Situation at Newlands Corner‘ or click here to go straight to the document. Latest update: 4th April 2017.
We are always happy to have help with everything we are doing, so if you wish to join in you would be very welcome. We are regularly at Newlands Corner speaking with visitors so just speak with one of us or use the ‘Contact Us’ link on this web site.
Some of you may have seen an article on the BBC web site, Surrey section, saying that the Newlands proposals are going ahead; we do not agree with this statement! We have been fighting for many months to try and stop these proposals and have already made siginificant gains. If we all voice our objections at every opportunity we can keep up this pressure on those concerned to achieve our goals. Even though Surrey County Council (SCC) is still saying that its proposals for Newlands Corner will go ahead, despite the massive opposition, we believe we can significantly change this. The opposition has already caused Phase 1 (play structures and parking charges) to be delayed by 6 months and campaigners are continuing to follow many different routes to try to persuade or force SCC to abandon the proposals completely.
Public Meeting – 9th March 2016
What an amazing turn out to support the NO vote at the public meeting! See our report of the meeting here.
The Albury and Merrow drop-in sessions were held on 9th February and 24th February respectively. Over 280 of you attended, clearly voicing your displeasure at the proposals. An estimated total of more than 85% of visitors were against the proposals! More details are on this link.
Newlands Corner has a natural, peaceful beauty that is unsurpassed and we believe that it must remain that way. The Surrey County Council and Surrey Wildlife Trust proposals aim to commercialise the site and take away the natural beauty and tranquillity that visitors enjoy. An estimated 550,000 people per year visit Newlands Corner, so clearly the current formula works! There are a multitude of other sites locally that offer play trails and more commercial amenities if people wish for this sort of amenity.
Phase 2 is the construction of a large new café/visitor centre/shopping area with coach park. See New Café and Play Trails Proposals.
The main issues we have with the proposals are:
- The introduction of charging for parking without proper and up to date consultation with the thousands of people who use the site;
- The development of a new, huge cafe, visitor centre and shopping space with a coach park;
- The introduction of trails, one of which is a large, disruptive play trail, thus taking away the natural feel of the site;
- The lack of proper consultation undertaken;
- The impact of additional visitors on road safety at the already dangerous junction with the A25;
- The potential of overflow parking outside of the Newlands parking area;
- The commercialisation of Newlands Corner is wrong.
We additionally have a long list of questions that we have submitted in to SCC for response.
We have spent many weekends talking to visitors to Newlands Corner to gauge the feeling of the people who use it and on Sunday 24th January we held a protest meeting. A large number of local people joined us at Newlands Corner and voiced their dislike and dismay at the various plans. It is absolutely clear that the vast majority of people are very concerned about the proposals. Some knew of the parking charge introduction but most did not. Very few knew about the Phase 2 proposals to put a large new cafe/visitor centre on the site, blocking the view and equally few knew anything about the trails. Thank you to all of you who took time out of your day to speak with us. See a full report by clicking here.
Our conversations with the many visitors confirmed our view that Surrey County Council have neither adequately communicated nor consulted over their plans with those who use Newlands Corner, nor have they taken into consideration the wishes of those who use the area. A vast majority are absolutely against both the phase 1 and phase 2 proposals. They want Newlands Corner to stay unspoilt and not be commercialised.
We have achieved, and continue to achieve, an excellent level of awareness in the radio and other media. (See our ‘In the Press’ section).