Our active members, and those of you who have been keeping up with our website, will know that Surrey County Council (SCC) has applied to the Planning Inspectorate for consent to put six large artificial play structures at Newlands Corner – five in areas in the woodland along the easy access trail, requiring clearance of natural habitat, and one at the back of the café. The aim of SCC is to turn the site into a visitor attraction, to attract 110,000 more cars each year on top of the 255,000 that go there at the moment, to produce more income from parking charges when they are put in. The deadline for objections and comments to the application is 7th July.  Details of how to do this are shown below.

We have been distributing a flyer at Newlands Corner and through letterboxes.  It is a useful summary and you can click here to read it.

The application including the play structure designs is linked here and more information on why our group will be objecting, here. The designs are (A) tree top rope swing between two trees set in concrete 6.5m wide by 5m high in a large area of cleared brambles and bracken (B) hanging log on chains between 4 large posts set in concrete (C) half hollow log set in concrete on a slope with steps up to the top (D) ready-made den structures (E) large bouncy acorns on springs set in concrete (F) hollow log on ground behind café. The structures may be made from wood but they are still artificial and Newlands Corner is an inappropriate and highly damaging place to put them.

Last week we had valuable statements from the Tree Register and the Ancient Yew Group. We quote from parts of these “The ancient yew trees at Newlands Corner and the area known as Merrow Downs are of international importance” and “Here we have one of the most important ancient woodlands in Britain, containing standing heritage trees which approach 1,000 years in age”.  “The Tree Register of the British Isles has records of 94 notable trees at Newlands Corner but a more complete survey by the Ancient Yew Group lists 133 notable yew” and “the biggest threat to these trees is increased footfall and compaction through people pressure” and “The proposed plans by Surrey County Council will have a direct impact on the health and survival of many ancient yew at Newlands Corner”.

Please give your views on the play structures to the Planning Inspectorate by midnight on Friday 7 July 2017 and forward this message/post to friends and family asking them to do the same.

State your views, for example

  • Do you object to this application?
  • Do you want artificial play structures there?
  • Is a natural environment better for children to play in?
  • What will the effect be of a 40% increase in cars and people on the site itself and on local roads?
  • What will the effect be on wildlife including protected species in the woods? [Protected species there include dormice (already extinct in 17 counties), 6 species of bat and Roman snails]
  • What will the effect be on the ancient yews which are up to 1,000 years old? [The Ancient Yew Group and Tree Registry say this is ‘one of the most important ancient woodlands in Britain’ and ‘The proposed plans by Surrey County Council will have a direct impact on the health and survival of many ancient yew at Newlands Corner’]
  • Will your enjoyment of the easy access trail be affected? [The easy access trail is currently used for quiet walks through the woodland]
  • Is this a good use of public money? [Budgeted cost for design and installation of play structures £210,000]
  • Will it change the nature of Newlands Corner? Or its environment?
  • Is it appropriate in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Green Belt?

Thank you,

The Save Newlands Corner Group