Surrey County Council has withdrawn its application to the Planning Inspectorate for a series of artificial play structures through the woodland at Newlands Corner. This followed the decision of the Planning Inspectorate to hold a Public Inquiry after receiving 1,100 objections against the proposals, which it described as unprecedented.
We made the Planning Inspectorate aware, with expert evidence, that this is vitally important ancient woodland, the habitat of a number of protected species and that the proposals would cause irreversible damage to the woodland and its habitat. The application did not mention any of these facts. We also made the Planning Inspectorate aware of the many commercial events that have taken place at Newlands Corner for financial return without its permission. The Planning Inspectorate is responsible for protecting common land and considering any works or development. This is common land, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and its environment should be protected.
We also made all 82 councillors at Surrey County Council, the 13 trustees of Surrey Wildlife Trust, local parish councils and residents associations and many others, aware of these facts.
The statement made by Cllr Goodman of Surrey County Council, the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport and project leader, can be seen by clicking the link at the end of this article.
We welcome this statement but have concerns that Surrey County Council has threatened to revisit this damaging, unwanted, unnecessary and expensive proposal. We will stay on the case to try to stop any inappropriate developments taking place at Newlands Corner.
Also, although Surrey County Council did receive permission from the Planning Inspectorate for car park charging meters and signs, we are revisiting this, to see if car park charges can still be stopped.
A huge Thank You goes to everyone who has backed the campaign so far, and to everyone who made objections against the artificial play structures. This was a massive result against a professional team at Surrey County Council, determined to commercialise and develop our iconic beauty spot for the money it could generate, regardless of the wishes of the people that love it, and regardless of its unique environment and species.