PRESS STATEMENT: INSPECTORATE FINDS IN FAVOUR OF NOT DEREGISTERING COMMONLAND ON SHACKLEFORD ROAD.

 In August 2018 Latimer Developments Ltd made an application under Section 16 of the Commons Act 2006 to deregister land registered as commonland to the west of the Shackleford Road Elstead (grid reference SU92048 43660) and exchange it for land a little further down the Shackleford Road (grid reference SU92099 43873).  Both Elstead Parish Council and Peper Harow Parish Meeting strenuously opposed this application and each wrote a number of letters objecting to the proposal.

Following a site visit by the Inspectorate on 3rdJuly 2019 which was attended by the applicant and representatives of Elstead Parish Council and Peper Harow Parish Meeting, both Parishes are delighted to have received a report which confirms that the application has been refused.  

The Inspector’s full report can be found here https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/829852/COM_3213356_-_Royal_Common_5-9-19.pdf

The Inspector included the following observations in his conclusion:

“…I find it significant that the replacement land would form part of the SANG, which will be subject to public access. This would lead to there being a loss of land available for local residents and the wider public. In my view the justification for the exchange does not outweigh the disadvantages that would arise from the loss of land available for people to use in the future. “

Responding to the Inspector’s report Councillor Pat Murphy, Chair, Elstead Parish Council said,“I very much welcome the Inspector’s decision in this case, which fully reflects the arguments made by both Elstead Parish Council and Peper Harow parish opposing the plan to deregister this area of common land.”  

Peper Harow Parish were equally pleased with the conclusion saying, “Peper Harow Parish Meeting are pleased that the amenity value of our common land is no longer threatened by deregistration and potential change of use.”  

Elstead Parish Council and Peper Harow Parish Meeting opposed the application for the following reasons:

  1. The land in question is an important amenity asset which forms a natural boundary to the large new housing development at the former Weyburn Works site. It is a largely wooded area which creates an effective visual and environmental screen between the development and the adjacent roadway, to the benefit both of passers by and in time the occupants of the new dwellings. The removal of common land status could render the land open to development or enclosure, which in the view of Elstead Parish Council and Peper Harow Parish Meeting would not be desirable.
  • The registered commonland is within a number of designated sites: Surrey Hills AONB, Surrey Hills Area of Great Landscape Value and close to the Wealden Heaths 1 Special Protection Area and Special Areas of Conservation.  A number of species of bats are present in the area and dormice have been recorded.   Elstead Parish Council and Peper Harow Parish Meeting are united in preserving the rural integrity of this special location. 
  • Latimer Developments Ltd proposed the provision of a section of replacement land, which would be entirely unsatisfactory in providing any separation between the development and the roadway.   The proposed replacement land is scheduled to be part of the SANG (suitable alternative natural greenspace) which the developers are required to provide to mitigate the effects of the development on the neighbouring SPA.   Therefore the overall proposal would lead to a diminution in the amount of amenity land on the development site. 
  • The applicant has given no valid reason for the deregistration application, nor any justification for the removal of common land status.
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Marcus’s Triangle

Residents may be aware that works on a Surrey County Council proposed footpath connecting the new Weyburn development with the village via Marcus’s Triangle and the Milford Road is scheduled to start next week. The PC does not support the proposal for a number of reasons and has spent much time liaising with SCC and other agencies to try to prevent construction of the footpath. As the PC is still waiting on a formal response from SCC, the PC has issued a press release to all the local press which is attached below for your information.

PRESS STATEMENT: WEYBURN WORKS DEVELOPMENT, PEPER HAROW AND ELSTEAD – PROPOSED FOOTWAY

69 new homes are being built by Clarion Housing and their contractor Thakeham at the former Weyburn Works site on the border of Peper Harow and Elstead parishes. Surrey County Council (SCC) required as a condition of this development that the developer should construct a footway (pavement) to provide a pedestrian link between the housing complex and the centre of Elstead. This would follow a route south along Shackleford Road, into a part of Royal Common known as Marcus Triangle at the junction of the Milford and Shackleford Roads, followed by a crossing of the Milford Road and continuing thence to link up with the existing footway further to the west.

Elstead Parish Council, together with Peper Harow parish and our two Waverley Borough Council members, David and Jenny Else, have lodged strong objections to this project, both with the developers and with the Highways Authority, SCC, which has given consent for the planned route. All regard the route as unsafe, unsuitable, unnecessary and arguably unlawful.

The route is unsafe because it would cross the busy Milford Road at a dangerous double bend where there have been several serious road accidents in recent years. It would allow pedestrians a visibility ‘window’ of less than 4 seconds to check that no vehicles are approaching from either direction and to cross the road. This is barely adequate for able bodied adults. It is not nearly sufficient for people with limited mobility or for parents with young children. SCC originally advised that the crossing point would be lit, but they have since withdrawn this advice, without explanation. SCC’s own highway engineers regard the proposed route as unsafe.

The route is unsuitable because it is lengthy and circuitous and would make no provision for cyclists, who would be obliged to use the busy Milford Road carriageway. It would also create an urban feature in an area which is essentially rural and unspoiled.

The route is unnecessary because Elstead Parish Council has offered a much shorter and safer pathway across its own land, which would involve no highway crossings and which would also cater for cyclists.

The route is arguably unlawful because it would be constructed on common land, for which specific consent from the Planning Inspectorate is normally required. This has not been obtained. The owner of the land has not been consulted or informed of the plans and is strongly opposed to the use of his land for the purpose of constructing a footway.

Elstead Parish Council has asked SCC’s Head of Highways to provide a definitive statement, supported by a reasoned justification, on whether or not the land in question is indeed common land and whether specific Planning Inspectorate consent is required. As of today (4th September) no such statement has been received. Elstead Parish Council therefore asks SCC to delay the works (which are due to start on 9 September) until they are in a position to determine the common land issue one way or another. If they are unable to do this, they would be in danger of being complicit in what could be an unlawful act.

For further information please contact: Pat Murphy (Chairman) Elstead PC. TEL: 01252 703151. EMAIL: Elsteadpc.pat.murphy@gmail.com

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Silent Soldiers at The Royal British Legion

The silent soldiers are now on display at The Royal British Legion out the back on the far side wall, they have been transformed please do come and take a look !

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