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Stafford Road Clarion

The Stafford Road Clarion is a newsletter circulating in Caterham. The editor has asked for it to be posted on this web site and we are pleased to do so. In it he refers to Site 3 of those targeted by developers who are attacking the Green Belt. This is Essendene Park, off Whyteleafe Road, Caterham. The Campaign to Protect Rural England say "It forms part of a valuable green wedge separating Caterham Valley and Caterham on the Hill. and is very rich in wildlife, including valuable plant life and habitats."

Please write in to the Inspector by June 5th if you want to protect this site. See home page for details.

Stafford Road Clarion 'Answer the Call!' APPEALS and GREEN BELT issue Number 3 April 2008


At about 3pm on Thursday April 10th, an S registration Ford Escort Estate travelling north east along Stafford Road, was brought to an abrupt halt by a car turning left out of Stafford Rise, the 2007 Village Developments complex off Stafford Road. The Escort suffered bodywork, steering and suspension damage and is a write-off. Your Clarion photographer arrived to see the police clearing up, and an ambulance pulling away. The Stafford Road couple who own the Escort are not happy.

Each of the current Village Developments planning applications (for 184-198 and 130-166) says: 'The proposal would create a new access to the site from Stafford Road. The design of the new access proposed was carefully considered with particular attention paid to the land levels within the site. Currently there are a number of garages located on the road which provide individual access for each of the existing dwellings.'

But this collision must give the lie to the concluding statement that:

'The closure of these existing accesses and the provision of one new access to the site would enhance highway and pedestrian safety while having a positive impact on the character of the area and the amenities of local properties.'

The replacement of garages by one access point at each proposal site would clearly be detrimental to highway and pedestrian safety. Particularly given that, whereas at the point of impact there is good pavement both sides of the road, at 184-198 the pavement is narrow whilst at 130-166 there is no pavement; one trip on your bottom step and if you escape being hit by a passing car you might get in the way of a collision. How this development would have 'a positive impact on the character of the area and the amenities of local properties' must be beyond anyone with an ounce of sanity.

Village Developments is appealing...(to the Secretary of State)

Following the refusal of application 2007/1815 (184-198 Stafford Road), and the non-determination of 2007/1814 (130-166 Stafford Road) the applicant (VD) has appealed to the Secretary of State. The Planning Inspectorate will hold a Public Inquiry sometime after May 16th ' (July?), date to be announced.

In its Grounds of Appeal for 2007/1814, the
applicant says: ' 'It is considered that in proposing affordable housing there would be significant social benefits to the scheme.'

This application shows no affordable housing.

For each appeal, the applicant says:
'pre-application discussions played a pivotal role in the design and layout of the proposal.'

Pivotal? Such discussions are standard practice. They merely give planning officers the opportunity to identify potential issues, highlight the level of detail expected in an application and say how a proposal may be considered against adopted policies.

But even if these discussions were deemed pivotal to the design and layout, this cannot have been a green light for the chain-saw gangs to move in, and so deny you the opportunity to comment on the future of existing trees within the proposed landscape.

Pre-application discussions are conducted on a 'without prejudice' basis; any advice is given without commitment and does not constitute a binding decision.

If you wish to speak at the Public Inquiry, and to contact others who may also wish to do so, the Clarion can put you in touch if you leave your details on 0208 65 35 995, or e-mail:

Write off!

If you have made comments about these applications, you will have been notified about the appeals and now have the opportunity to make any new comments, withdraw or modify your earlier comments and request a written copy of the appeal decision.
If you haven't made comments - do it now.

Three copies to: Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/20 Eagle Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6PN.

Quote appeal ref. number and the address:
130-166 Stafford Road, Caterham

184-198 Stafford Road, Caterham

Village Developments Directors' Report, Jan. to July 2006: 'The delays in getting planning permission in southern England are well documented. The period between agreeing terms with landowners and achieving permission is frequently in excess of 15 months."

Please, no more delays.The Planning Inspectorate must now call a halt and reject these appeals

Off the web: Village Developments environmental policy:
' Protect trees. Comprehensive tree protection during construction process incorporated into landscaping scheme.'

Easy, if you've already felled most of the trees you don't want in the landscape

Off the applications: 'The proposed layout is an imaginative design solution'

So what's the problem with attractive Stafford Road family homes and gardens...?

Off the grapevine: Can it be true? Is The Royal Horticultural Society's journal 'The Garden' to be re-branded 'The Brownfield Site' ?

Green Belt hillside at risk...?

On Thursday 3rd April several hundred residents turned out at a meeting in Oxted, to tell a Government-appointed Inspector that Tandridge Council's Core Strategy should not be amended to allow housing on Green Belt. But with owners or developers making new representations, more open areas may be vulnerable. Now, 'Site 3' Essendene Park (Green Belt, with an area of wooded hillside, directly above Stafford Road) may be at risk! If you want details, log on as below or call 01883 722000 - ask for officer dealing with the Core Strategy. Write to: Director of Planning, Council Offices, Oxted, Surrey, RH8 0BT by 5th June to oppose the release of this Green Belt area for residential.
' ' Planning ' Planning Policy '
Tomorrow's Tandridge.

The Oxted and Limpsfield Residents' group, which is leading on the Green Belt campaign, has very kindly agreed to reproduce the Stafford Road Clarion on its website (above).
Do log on and offer your support.

Caterham Mirror, Thursday February 28th 2008:
'Nigel Greenhalgh and his company, Village Developments, have been heavily criticised for garden-grabbing throughout the district, but his answer is always the same.
He told the Mirror last year: 'This is the alternative to building on the Green Belt. You have to ask what would people prefer, building in already developed towns, or on green fields, because more homes have to be built one way or the other.'

...and the other way is...
' April 2008:
'Green Belt building proposals.
Village Developments have submitted proposals to build on Oxted's Green Belt fields.'
Details of proposals for 400 homes on Stoneyfield, at the end of Wheeler Avenue, and another 250 in the field at the end of Chichele Road behind Bluehouse Lane can be found on the website, along with scoping reports produced for Village Developments by WS Planning.

If you want to save twenty-two Stafford Road homes and gardens from being transformed into a building site, traffic beyond imagining, and predatory developers perhaps seeking to do the same between number 130 and Edinburgh House, do write now to the Planning Inspectorate.

Contact/contributions for the Clarion:
Messages: 0208 65 35 995 (Voicemail).
Can you set up a Stafford Road website?