We have been aware of plans by Surrey County Council (SCC) and the Surrey Hills AONB Board to revamp the visitor centre and the picnic/play area at Newlands Corner.  As you might know, there has also been a welcome refurbishment of the toilets.  We do not oppose the plans as the area concerned is run down, has little ecological value (other than the splendid trees that are in the picnic area) and simply upgrades what has been there for many years.  If anything, the plans appear to add to the flora of the area.

When commenting on the initial idea, we said that we considered that, under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006, Planning Inspectorate consent was needed for the carrying out the work.  We had faint hope that SCC would comply with the legislation.  To our pleasant surprise, we have learned in the last week that an application has been made. 

We have obtained the application documents.  The application was signed on 18 June 2021.  The legislation requires that, within seven days of the application, a ‘Notice of Application’ should, as well as being publicised in other places, be:

  • posted at the entrance to the site.  (We visited on Thursday.  No notice)
  • sent to the local parish council, i.e. Albury Parish Council.  (We understand that the Parish Council did not receive the notice until 30 June);

We also understand that the Notice gives a date for representations to be made to the Planning Inspectorate by 18 July.  However, the date should be 28 days from the date the last of the publicity actions is taken.  If the Parish Council did not receive the Notice until 30 June, the last date for representations should be 28 July at the earliest.  Given that a copy of the Notice was not in evidence on Thursday at Newlands Corner, this pushes the date back even further.

We have made representations to the Planning Inspectorate about SCC’s failure to comply with the procedures. 

In the meantime, we have included the application documents here.  If you have any concerns about the plans that you want to make representations about, please send them to commonlandcasework@planninginspectorate.gov.uk  as soon as possible and by 18 July – as it stands.  We will let you know, if the date changes.

Click on the links below to view the documents:-

S38 Application form

Annex A – Play Site Plans

Annex B – Natural Play Drawing and Cutting List

Annex C – Natural Play Description of Works