Protecting Dorking's heritage and vitality, whilst scaling back on Green Belt development

Green Belt

Cotmandene

The Local Plan will protect heritage and vitality of the area

Following the Conservatives' call for development sites in December 2017, a number of Green Belt sites were included in the 2020 consultation. Since then the Lib Dem administration has introduced stricter criteria for which areas can be taken out of the Green Belt.

However, even with a reduced housing plan which challenges the unreasonable target set by the Government some of these sites have had to be retained, including the proposed residential developments on both the North and South side of the A25 Westcott Road. However, the proposed number of houses on these sites has been reduced from 250 to 214.

The proposal to remove the former Chalcroft Nurseries from the Green Belt has now been dropped.

Housing Allocations

Three developments are proposed in the area around Dorking Station. Additional parking will be provided in the station car park (a multi-storey car park) with flats above and the replacement of Regent House in Station Approach and the Clarion flats in Lincoln Road with a new development. In addition, a further block of flats is proposed on the land adjacent to Vista House. In total 166 new dwellings are proposed compared with 206 in the version considered for consultation in Jan-Mar 2020.

In the South Street area of Dorking, there are currently proposed developments in Clears Yard, as well as a larger re-development of the site along the "raised road" section at 21-37 South Street. This mixed use, Town Centre and Residential development will be limited in height in order to protect the character of the conservation area.

The previous Adult Education centre on Dene Street, owned by Surrey County Council, will finally be re-developed under the Local Plan as a care facility. The existing structure will be preserved and converted into flats, and new buildings on the site will be designed to complement the character of this historic building.

The site at Dorking West Station, which was proposed in the previous draft Local Plan, has been removed as the proposal conflicted with the Waste Plan. The car breakers' yard, which occupies most of this site, is considered a strategic waste facility for the eastern part of the county and any development of this site would have to involve the car breakers being relocated somewhere in the east of the county. This is considered highly unlikely and, as such, the housing proposals for this site were dropped.

Travellers' site

The Local Plan proposes the re-development of the Travellers site off Ranmore Road to help ensure that Mole Valley has the requisite number of Traveller pitches within the area. This is in keeping with the multiple "small sites" policy that was adopted many years ago.

Infrastructure

The Local Plan proposes the re-development of the Dorking Community Hospital site at Downsview Gardens, with the creation of a Health Hub including primary health care (GP) as well as other community health services as required. An element of residential development may be allowed, subject to the provision of health services.

The area around Pippbrook will be reserved for non-residential uses, including civic, community, entertainment and recreational.

The Local Plan also includes provision for a controlled pedestrian Chalkpit Lane near Triangle Stores and a toucan crossing near the Esso garage on London Road to link the service road alongside the A24 with the cycle path to the north of London Road thereby creating a safer cycle path from the Deepdene Roundabout to the Railway Bridge along the west side of the A24 Deepdene Avenue.

The Local Plan recognises that there is no "engineering solution to the traffic congestion on the historic street pattern of Dorking Town Centre". Special requirements are attached to the larger housing sites to demonstrate that they will not have a significant effect on the transport network in terms of capacity or congestion.

Other policies

The Dorking Town Centre Strategy provides a framework for:

  • A healthy and sustainable future for the commercial heart of the town
  • Delivery of the Opportunity Dorking programme for land use;
  • Conserving and enhancing the character and heritage assets of the Town Centre Conservation Area;
  • Supporting the town centre's business and economy

It is also proposed that the policy for parking provision is altered so that developers do not have to provide any on-site parking spaces for new residential units in Dorking and Leatherhead town centres. Whilst this will encourage walking and cycling, it is likely that many residents may still need a car which will increase the pressure on the District Council to provide more off-street parking in the town, with EV charging points as petrol vehicles are phased out and additional off street parking provision in the town - a commitment that we will be looking to meet to address this as we move forward.

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