Mole Valley Council has conducted a Green Belt Boundary Review to consider areas of Green Belt within the Borough for residential development. Ashtead Garden Centre and surrounding land has been put forward for consideration. This land could become 200 homes but the impact on Epsom would be horrendous. Insufficient school places, congested roads, air pollution, inadequate infrastructure and more pressure on our hospital are just some of the concerns.
A field has already been sold to Kingsland, which advertises itself as a leading pioneer in the market for sourcing global real estate investment opportunities, who is already marketing freehold land plots in Surrey despite them still holding Green Belt status. Langley Bottom Farm has a sold a large area to the Woodlands Trust for a World War 1 Centenary Wood. They have also retained a number of fields and the fear among residents is that these will go the same way as the Kingsland site.
The RAC Country Club in Epsom is seeking to use the restoration of its walled garden and will increase their facilities, at the expense of our Green Belt. What would follow if even one of these sites were lost is a domino effect that would allow other pieces of Green Belt to be eroded. Local stables, such as The Durdans, have applied for a change of use and fortunately failed thanks to strong opposition from local campaigners and Epsom's policy of maintaining our Green Belt. However, pressures faced by councils to provide housing is making it difficult for planning officers to object to developing on the Green Belt.
Conservative Campaigner, Daniel Race, says, “Local residents have strong feelings about saving Epsom’s Green Belt. They recognise its importance in preserving the setting and special character of historic towns and prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another. Epsom’s ancient woodland supports vital habitats that must be preserved, both for this generation and for future generations. I would urge people to sign our online petition at: http://www.petition.co.uk/save-epsoms-green-belt to show support for our planning officers in rejecting development on our Green Belt.”