Leatherhead Bypass Potential Development Site
Mole Valley District Council and Merton College of Oxford have entered into a development agreement with Barratt Homes which allows Barratt to promote this site for residential development.
Whilst the Green Belt Review initiated in 2014 is currently on hold, it is expected that Barratt will continue to promote the site as and when this exercise restarts. The Barnett Wood Lane Allotments are not in the green belt however the adjacent land owned by Merton College of Oxford is.
The development of the site is dependant upon planning permission being granted, and if such consent is forthcoming in the future the allotments will be relocated to nearby sites where MVDC will re-provide facilities as good as those currently provided.
The approximate housing numbers that are planning for the site are around 500 new homes including approximately 200 affordable homes.
MVDC has consulted with the local residents and allotment holders throughout the initial stages of the marketing of the site and will continue to do so as and when the work re-starts to promote the release of parts of the site from the green belt.
Q. What improvements will be made to the road networks as the road can't cope with current levels of traffic let alone the definite increase any development will bring?
A. As part of any planning application a developer would have to demonstrate an effective transport solution for the site.
Q. The local infrastructure, resources e.g. schools, hospitals and parking are already stretched. If the site is to be developed as housing then how will this be improved?
A. Development of the site will be considered like any other in that it will be assessed in the planning process for contributions towards public sector infrastructure.
Q. Will Links Road be used for vehicular access?
A. Depending upon the use to be developed on the site, road changes and infrastructure changes may be required. A developer will have to address these issues through the normal planning process.
Q. The relocation site is isolated and the proposed access route unsuitable. It is too far from public transport links if you don't drive and buses aren't suitable when carting heavy goods and equipment to and from your plot.
A. The Council has taken the concerns of the plot holders into consideration and is now looking to re-provide the allotments on split sites on both the Leatherhead and Ashtead sides of the M25. We are looking at ways of making these as good a sites as possible which will include looking at how people access the sites.
Q. The ground at the relocation site is polluted due to its close proximity to the M25. Has a soil analysis been done at the new site?
A. No soil analysis has yet taken place. The Council is aware of allotments and agricultural use in similar proximity to major roads and therefore believe there is a potential solution to the issue raised.
Q. Badgers and other wildlife are found on the proposed development site.
A. A detailed assessment of the flora, fauna and wildlife will be required as part of any development proposals.
Q. What measures would be introduced to prevent vandalism and ensure the security / safety of allotment holders?
A. The Council will work with the allotment holders to design the site and provide adequate features. As yet no details have been drawn up for discussion.
Q. The site is thick clay and water locked. What provision will be made to prepare the ground so it is suitable for growing immediately?
A. From talking to Merton College the Council is aware that the site is capable of being cultivated. Improvements in the drainage and soil quality will be looked at as part of the package of enhancements for the site.
Q. What provisions will be made for the sheds, relocation of plants, trees, cages etc to the new site?
A. The developer will be required to undertake considerable work to the relocation site to a standard agreed with the Council. This will include addressing such issues as improving the soil, providing sheds, moving mature plants or replacing them. A developer will be required to mitigate these problems which may include areas of re-landscaping, community transport and security fencing.
The developer will be required to put significant time and money into ensuring that the allotment relocation is a site that is comparable if not better than the current site.
Work on creating the new site would start ahead of any development in order to provide continuity. A developer and the Council would want to work with the allotment association to develop the new allotments.
Q. When is the earliest any development might start?
A. The earliest it is anticipated that development might start is 2016.
Q. The town centre needs rejuvenating why is the Council considering putting retail on the site to conflict and potentially damage what is currently there?
A. The marketing process is designed to ensure that any bidder proposing retail on the site will not damage any town or village in the Mole Valley Area, and in particular Leatherhead Town Centre. Economic regeneration is a factor in the evaluation of bidders.
Q. What financial gain will be passed on to Leatherhead residents? What is the long term financial gain by developing this site for the Council and the residents of the district?
A. A developer is expected, through the planning process, to provide a "community investment levy." The amount of this levy will depend upon the type of development being carried out. We would expect the community to see significant contributions if this marketing resulted in a high value development.
The financial gain to the Council will depend upon the use developed on the site. The Council would prefer to receive an annual income which would enable us to maintain the services we currently provide though it would also consider a capital agreement.
The Council needs to find alternative income streams to support and protect the services it provides. Future cost funding is linked to new homes being provided or additional opportunities for business.
Q. Will any compensation be given to the home owners for potential loss of market value to their properties?
A. Compensation would be payable if there is a valid claim under land compensation legislation.
Q. Will the allotment holders be compensated for any loss in goods and disturbance?
A. The Council will be looking to minimise disturbance for all relocated allotment holders. The Council and any developer would like to work with the newly formed Allotment Association and consider compensation in the future if development takes place.
Q. The car parking and location for the horticultural shop is not suitable and the shops business will be affected.
A. The Council would work with the Horticultural Society to identify needs and to provide alternative premises that would minimise the impact on trade. If the relocation goes forward then the Council will look at what initial set up fund could be granted to support the shop in the early trading period. The Horticultural Society shop will be replaced.
Q. What is the process of disposing of the allotments?
Q. If the allotments are relocated what will stop them from being taken for development in the future?
Q. What facilities will the Council be looking to provide?
A. The present allotments are field garden allotments which the Council has the power to sell under S. 32 of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 subject to complying with its duties under S. 233 Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
The Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government's consent to dispose of the allotments will be needed and it will require the land to be provided in exchange which satisfies the relevant statutory tests.
It is anticipated that the Council will take a freehold transfer of the relocation allotment site; disposal of which would be subject to relevant legislation. The new site would become statutory allotments and afforded greater protection.
Legislation can be accessed at www.legislation.gov.uk
Q. What timescale do I have to object to the release of the green belt and this development?
A. The Planning Policy Team at MVDC have just finished a 6 week consultation programme, inviting views on its initial thoughts about reviewing the Green Belt boundary around Mole Valley's towns and larger rural villages. This is being consolidated into a draft local plan to go to Executive in Winter 2013. This paper will identify sites for re-designation; following this a second round of consultation will take place before the final local plan is issued mid 2015.
All comments which have been received relevant to the green belt review at the drop-in sessions and via the Leatherhead bypass email account have been forwarded to the Planning Policy Team and have been added to their consultation programme.
The Leatherhead Bypass Site does consist of 2 parcels, owned by Merton College Oxford. It is understood that the College will be putting forward representations into the Green Belt Review.
If the Leatherhead Bypass Site is taken forward a developer will take responsibility for working through the planning process which will go through the normal channels of consultation.
Q. What will the rest of the initial 22.3 acres of land be used for? Community use and open space is vital to the area and by taking the allotments and reducing the green belt what will be re-provided?
A. Approximately 14 acres will be allocated to allotments and the Council are looking at community open space on the remainder of the 22.3 acres. The Council are still in negotiations with Merton College over this land.
Q. Did Merton approach the Council or did the Council approach Merton?
Q. Why are the Council looking at this site?
A. The Council identified potential in the site around 2008 when the Council commissioned an external consultant to review all of its land and property assets. Each land owner was approached by developers separately after this. It was then proposed that combining the sites was likely to be the best way to generate interest to secure best vale under the obligation in section 123 Local Government Act 1972 - following the decision of the Councils Executive an agent was appointed to help market the site in the best way.
The Council is looking at the site due to its strategic position adjacent to the M25.
Q. Do the Council own the allotments?
A. Yes, the Council is the registered proprietor of the Allotments with a freehold title, with no registered entries indicating any limits on the Councils' powers of disposal. The Council is subject to the statutory restrictions applicable to the disposal of allotments.
In January 2013 an advert was submitted to the Official Journal of the European Union and The Estates Gazette to indicate the marketing of the Leatherhead Bypass site inviting bidders to express their initial interest in the site. Following the close of this part of the procurement procedure on 7th March 2013, 6 bidders were invited by the Council and joint land owner Merton College Oxford to submit an outline proposal in the next part of the procurement process. There was a further stage where 3 shortlisted bidders submitted a further detailed bid (this stage was known as the invitation to negotiate).
Barratt PLC were the successful bidder at the close of the competitive tendering process and the landowners are now able to release the identity of the 6 bidders which submitted outline proposals. They included the following companies, whose names are listed below in no particular order:
- Barratt PLC
- Spen Hill Developments Ltd
- St Modwen Developments Ltd
- McArthurGlen UK Ltd
- Salmon Harvester Properties Ltd
- Value Retail PLC
The entire process was governed by the Public Contract Regulations 2006. Mole Valley District Council and Merton College were advised throughout the process by Bond Dickinson LLP.
Please send any comments, questions or suggestions you may have, including suggestions as to what facilities you would like to see at any new allotment site, to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01306 885 001