BOOKHAM FIELDS SAVED, PRESTON FARM SCALED BACK
Green Belt protection
A major Green Belt site previously proposed for Bookham - at Bookham Fields - has been taken out of the revised Liberal Democrat version of Mole Valley's Local Plan. And there has been a 20 percent reduction in the number of homes allocated for the Preston Farm site.
In December 2017, the then Conservative administration called for landowners to propose Green Belt sites for development and as a result many, including those at Bookham, were included in the draft Plan which went for consultation early in 2020.
Since then the Lib Dem administration has introduced a combination of measures including more brownfield sites, more development near Gatwick, tough new tests designed to protect the Green Belt, and use of the proviso in paragraph 11 of the NPPF to scale back Government housing targets where we believe there is a "strong reason" to protect the Green Belt.
As a result across Mole Valley we've rejected many Green Belt and heritage sites which were earlier earmarked for housing, including Bookham Fields.
Whilst the new draft Local Plan challenges the size of the unreasonable Government housing target for Mole Valley, the housing need does require new housing across Mole Valley. The Preston Park development comprises most of the residential development now proposed in Bookham. 60% of this site would be given to residents as a country park in perpetuity. The allocation is also subject to a number of conditions designed to enhance net biodiversity, safeguard trees and hedgerows, ensure sustainable drainage, deliver a new community building and play area, and deliver more affordable housing.
The other smaller sites at Chalkpit Lane, Lower Shott & behind Hunters Moon remain unchanged.
In further recognition of local concerns about pressure on services, the revised Plan allocates land for a new 2,000 sqm health facility and a new 2,000 sqm community centre, in addition to the replacement youth and community centre closed by the Conservatives in 2019.
Infrastructure remains a priority and we will continue to lobby the Government and Surrey County Council to provide proper public transport, roads, schools and health facilities for residents.
In particular, we will continue to oppose SWR's Government-backed proposals to cut Mole Valley's rail services. You can sign our petition here.