Modest Expansion of Existing Villages

Following a public consultation in the summer of 2017, MVDC agreed to the ‘Modest Expansion of Existing Villages’ as one of the options to take forward as part of Future Mole Valley.
This option received generally positive feedback as a means of meeting localised housing needs and supporting community resilience, as well as making a small contribution to meeting the overall housing demand in Mole Valley.
In early 2018, parish councils and village associations were invited to consider how their villages might accommodate a modest amount of new homes. At the same time landowners were invited to indicate where land might be available, suitable and viable for development. Responses to these invitations have been taken into account in developing development options.

Expansion Proposals
Each village has been reviewed to assess the scope for modest additions or expansion in one or more of the following ways:

Defining new or extending village boundaries
Village boundaries have been drawn to include compact, substantially developed areas. Boundaries exclude low density residential areas and isolated or loose knit groups of dwellings, even if they are on the edge of more compact development. There are some smaller villages in Mole Valley that do not exhibit any compact or substantially developed areas of development and therefore have no defined village boundary.
National planning policy advises that village boundaries should be defined using physical features that are readily recognisable and likely to be permanent. Revisions are proposed to realign settlement boundaries with defined physical features on the ground and have been incorporated in proposed changes to village boundaries.
Villages with defined boundaries are capable of accommodating ‘infilling’ development without detriment to their character or causing harm to the Green Belt and countryside. ‘Infilling’ is defined as the development of a small gap within an otherwise continuous built-up frontage, or the small-scale redevelopment of existing properties within such a frontage.

Insetting from the Green Belt / countryside
In the Green Belt, national planning policy guidance specifies that villages whose open character makes an important contribution to the openness of the Green Belt should be included in the Green Belt. In all other cases, villages should be inset (removed) from the Green Belt. Particularly important or special characteristics of a village can be protected through other means, for example a conservation area. This guidance has been taken into account in deciding whether land within a village boundary should be inset or continue to be washed over by the Green Belt or countryside.
On land within a village boundary which is also inset from the Green Belt / countryside, limited residential development is allowed in principle. ‘Limited residential development’ includes development constituting more than just infilling, including development in depth.
In some cases a village may exhibit varying characteristics that mean that within the village boundary some parts are inset and other parts continue to be washed over by the Green Belt or countryside designation.

Allocating Sites for Housing
Specific sites have been identified that could accommodate additional housing. In all cases allocated sites are within a village boundary. One advantage of allocating sites is the type and scale of development can be more closely defined through accompanying policies. There may also be opportunities to provide other forms of development or facilities needed by the village if justified and viable.
The detailed form of residential development on allocated sites has yet to be determined, but the size, type and tenure of houses will be informed by discussions with parish councils and village associations. The Council will seek a proportion of affordable housing in accordance national and local planning policy.
There may be more than one allocated housing site proposed in a village. In some cases these can be considered in combination or as alternative options.

Next Steps
The ideas for each village have been discussed with the respective parish council or village association. Our intention is to work with parish councils and village associations to incorporate as far as possible their aspirations and wishes for their communities, within the context of the wider planning objectives of MVDC and national planning policy.
Village proposal maps and the indicative capacities of each are published below following initial presentation to the respective parish council or village association.

Explanatory Note

Abinger Common
Abinger Hammer
Beare Green
South Holmwood

The responses of each parish council or village association will be published below, as we receive them.

Abinger Parish Council – response
Betchworth Parish Council – response
Betchworth Parish Council – further response
Brockham Parish Council – response
Buckland Parish Council – response
Capel Parish Council – response
Charwood Parish Council – response
Holmwood Parish Council – response
Leigh Parish Council – response
Mickleham Parish Council – response
Newdigate Parish Council – response
Ockley Parish Council – response
Westcott Village Association – response
Westhumble Residents Association – response

It should be stressed that at this stage the individual proposals are presented for discussion purposes with parish councils and village associations. They may be subject to modification and for that reason it should not be assumed that they will appear as currently drafted when the Local Plan is published.
Wider public consultation will take place as part of the Preferred Options Local Plan in due course. If members of the public wish to comment on the ideas presented here, they should direct them to the relevant parish council or village association.
If you wish to be kept informed of progress on the Plan, sign up to the Future Mole Valley mailing list here.