Under the heading “Space Invaders” an Open Spaces Society article has said the following:

“Surrey wants to make money from the beautiful Newlands Corner near Albury in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  The proposed commercial developments there, which include a large visitor-centre (replacing the much-loved café), coach park and trail with artificial play-structures, are causing much local concern. Some of the structures would be on common land, needing ministerial consent. This sensitive site is not one to muck around with; we shall resist.”

The Open Spaces Society was founded in 1865 as the Commons Preservation Society and is Britain’s oldest national conservation body.  It receives copies of all applications made to the Planning Inspectorate (which is part of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) for works on common land and plays an important role in advising the Secretary of State.  So, this is a real boost to the campaign.

It is interesting to note that the Planning Inspectorate recommends that the Society is consulted, on an informal basis, about any such plans.  Our understanding is that, as of two weeks ago, no informal approach had been made to the Society by Surrey County Council.  Yet these proposals first came to light in October last year!