HEADLEY PARISH COUNCIL – PRESS RELEASE
OUR GREEN BELT IS AT RISK, FOLLOWING A VOTE BY THE DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE OF MOLE VALLEY DISTRICT COUNCIL
On Wednesday 1st July Mole Valley’s Development Management Committee (DMC) considered the application by Angle Properties to build a housing estate of up to 70 dwellings on land to the west of Headley Road, being only part of the site of the Headley Court estate.
The Chair of the Parish Council was allowed to speak for 3 minutes and the live-streaming of the hearing was observed by more than 70 members of the public including all Parish Councillors. The 4 hour meeting was notable for the lack of balanced opinion, the omission of topics of both local and national significance and the fact that Councillors admitted to having had insufficient time to read the information supplied for their consideration. However, despite the lack of informed debate, the Committee voted in favour of the development.
There were a number of “elephants in the room” – important topics that everyone should have known about but no one wanted to discuss. “Strictly personal consents” granted by MVDC to the MOD but now used to benefit Angle Properties was one and there were also planning issues of more than local importance such as the Green Belt and lack of Sustainability.
David Preedy, Chairman of Headley Parish Council concludes:
“Overall, in the opinion of Headley Parish Council, the Application does not comply with national policies on important issues. When combined with our concerns at various aspects of Mole Valley’s handling of the application, Headley Parish Council unanimously decided at an Extraordinary Meeting on 13th July that the Application should instead be referred to the Secretary of State.
“The Parish Council has therefore formally requested that the Secretary of State (under section 77 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) call-in for determination the Mole Valley planning application MO/2020/0185 (Headley Court, Headley Road, Headley, KT18 6JW).”
Headley Court achieved world-wide recognition as the home for the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) – a centre of excellence for the rehabilitation of UK service personnel, especially for those who received life-changing injuries sustained in the UK’s military engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq. Initially it was exempt from the civilian planning processes, but since about 2006 it has been subject to local planning policies.
In 2014, the MoD announced its decision to cease using Headley Court, handing the site back to its then owners – the Headley Court Charity. They in turn announced their intention to sell the site and it was purchased on 1st May 2019 by Angle Properties who immediately sold on the part of the site to Clerkenwell Properties.
Like the rest of Headley, the site is wholly ‘washed over’ by the Metropolitan Green Belt. In Mole Valley’s planning policies, Headley is not even designated as a ‘smaller rural village’, so planning constraints are tight for all residents, reflecting the unsustainable nature of housing development in the area.
Parts of the Headley Court were recognised as a Major Developed Site in the Green Belt (MDS) and it has always been recognised that, in the event of the MoD leaving the site, some redevelopment, including some housing, would be appropriate subject to constraints to protect the Green Belt; the current application breaks these conditions. Moreover many buildings were given permission personal to the Minister of Defence reflecting the very special role played by the DMRC. Controversially Mole Valley has not resisted the new owner’s attempts to argue that this benefit should now accrue to them.
For further information, please contact David Preedy, Chair, Headley Parish Council