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Save Newlands Corner

Join us in our Campaign to Keep Newlands Natural!

Month

April 2016

What the Save Newlands Corner Group Seeks to Ensure

What The “Save Newlands Corner” Group Seeks to Ensure:

  1. Newlands Corner continues to be one of very few publicly accessible countryside sites free of charge to visitors, consistent with the enjoyment and understanding of the countryside and its flora and fauna – such understanding contributing to the well being and good mental and physical health of people of all ages, abilities and means. In particular, in the absence of regular public transport to Newlands Corner, the introduction of car parking charges would present a deterrent cost to those of limited financial means, including the elderly.
  1. The conservation and management of Newlands Corner keeps it in as natural a state as possible to retain its special character recognised by its status as in an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” to include maintenance of the existing “all weather” paths, the car park, café and toilet facilities without extension or expansion of these.
  1. Nothing is done to restrict or impede the views from the present access roadway and car park, this including any location selected for coach parking.
  1. Newlands Corner is kept free from any more commercial activity or development than is presented by the current Visitor Centre, Café and toilet facilities. “Save Newlands Corner” opposes the introduction of parking charges to in any way subsidise commercial ventures that should to be entirely self-funding.
  1. The existing environment continues to present the best possible experience for all, including and play value for the young by encouraging use of imagination, resourcefulness and direct understanding of nature. Man made recreation facilities and equipment, perhaps based on natural materials, may be of value in urban locations but their use at Newlands Corner is not needed and would detract from the very understanding and enjoyment that nature provides better for itself. Additionally, the cost of such equipment would only add unnecessarily to ongoing maintenance and future renewal costs

We continue to work hard in many areas to achieve the above goals.  You can contact us using the ‘Contact Us’ link on the web site top menu.  We welcome your feedback and thoughts.  

County Council and Wildlife Trust Deal To Be Scrutinised

County Council and Wildlife Trust Deal To Be Scrutinised

A Surrey County Council (SCC) Cabinet decision to endorse a new agreement with Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) for the management of SCC’s countryside estate, including Newlands Corner has been “called in” for scrutiny.

See an article about this in the Guildford Dragon by clicking here.

How Can You Help the Campaign?

TIME TO ACT – WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW!

Many of you have asked how you can help the campaign, so we have put some suggestions together on this page for you. Thank you again to everyone who has supported it so far.

Write to or email Surrey County Council. We suggest:-

The Council Leader David Hodge: david.hodge@surreycc.gov.uk and;

Your local Councillor. Click here for details

Write to or email Surrey Wildlife Trust.  info@surreywt.org.ukto Chief Executive Nigel Davenport

Write to or email your Guildford Borough Councillor.  Click here for details.

Write to or email to your MP. They are not part of this process but will take note of your opinionsClick here for details.

We have just heard from a lady who tried to email the Surrey County Council Newlands Corner project team on 12th May that SCC say they are no longer accepting emails to this address regarding the project!  May we ask you all, however, to continue to write to SCC, they have to accept letters still!  Follow the link above to find your local councillor and also write to Surrey County Council, County Hall, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames.  KT1 2DN

Write to or email your Parish Council.  Click here for details.

Look at the play structure plans here.  Click here for details.

Follow our web site. Click on ‘Click here to Follow’ (bottom right of the home page) so that you automatically receive an email copy of our latest posts.

 

Below is some wording that you might like to add into your letters/emails. Please feel free to amend the wording and add in your own thoughts and comments.

Surrey County Council and Surrey Wildlife Trust propose developments at Newlands Corner including parking charges, trails, a coach park and large cafe/shop/visitor centre.  

I/We write to record a formal objection to the proposals and ask the Council not to go ahead. 

I/We believe Newlands Corner should remain an unspoiled open greenspace, without parking charges. It is part of our heritage and culture and not a marketable commodity.

(You may want to add your own experience of Newlands Corner and thoughts on the current proposals for parking charges, 10 adventure play sites and new building.)

If you support these changes to our countryside, please write and tell me why.

Yours sincerely

 

 

Difference of Opinion!! Who is the Determining Authority?

Difference of Opinion – Who is the Determining Authority?  SCC or GBC?

There is a very interesting situation developing.  We hear that Surrey County Council (SCC) believe that they have planning permission for the proposed changes at Newlands Corner, this includes changes put forward in both Phase 1 and 2.  This does not sound right to us!

Guildford Borough Council (GBC) has been approached, at a high level, for their opinion and for clarification of who should be the determining authority.  

In summary, GBC is of the very strong opinion that SCC do not have a legal basis for giving their own approval for these changes.  We expect that the two councils will now be having some intense discussions to resolve this major and important difference of opinion.  

Below is a bullet point summary of GBC’s comments. We are sure you will find them of great interest! 

  • The GBC officers (both in the legal and planning departments), Leader of the Council and interested members of the Executive do not agree with Surrey County Council’s reasoning as to why SCC should deal with either phase of the proposals.
  • In relation to the first phase, (play equipment, play trail and associated elements); Having taken advice, GBC are firmly of the opinion that this element and the visitor centre fall to GBC to determine at District level.  The reasoning for this is set out below: 
  • Firstly, Newlands Corner is not owned by Surrey County Council and is owned by Albury Estate. GBC accept there is an access agreement and there is responsibility for SCC with regard to maintenance, litter picking etc. but believe the County Council would need to have a significant interest in the proposal to be able to claim jurisdiction.  Whilst GBC appreciate SCC advise about Regulation 3 of the Town and Country Planning General Regulations, this is normally associated with educational use or unitary functions and usually presents itself as the overreaching educational authority, which is clearly not the case here.
  • It is GBC’s opinion in this particular case that it is unusual for the County Council to try and maintain jurisdiction over this proposal. GBC officers don’t believe that the County Council’s interest is sufficiently significant to ensure jurisdiction. SCC is not the landowner meaning that the interest is insignificant, ergo the strongly held view from the GBC perspective is that the power to determine both phases (I and 2) should remain with GBC.
  • The issue of transparency also concerns GBC. It would be unusual for SCC to fund/develop and determine phase I of the proposal, when the proposal is a discretionary function that would normally be determined at District level.  As everyone knows, there is a lot of heat and interest around this proposal.  Members of the public, Parish Councils and Councillors simply do not understand why SCC should fund/develop this proposal and not surprisingly some have reacted badly.
  • Further, it would be seen, by many, as a potential conflict of interest, given SCC’s involvement in promoting, funding and delivering the project. This opinion is strongly held at the highest level at Guildford Borough Council and by the ‘Save Newlands Corner’ team.

We will be following this with interest. 

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