Activists celebrate after land that could have been turned into a crematorium was given an extra layer of protection from further development.
Hundreds of people last year spoke out against Reigate and Banstead Borough Council’s proposals for the facility off Woodhatch Road in Reigate, citing concerns over the crematorium being developed on greenbelt land , the potential increase in traffic and the impact on wildlife in the area.
The council’s planning committee later refused permission on the grounds that it was not a suitable development on the green belt.
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Today, the Woodhatch Green Spaces Preservation Group successfully campaigned for housing estates near Earlswood Lakes to be designated as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), meaning they are better protected from future development. to come up.
President Amie Vaccaro said she was “extremely pleased” with the council’s decision to grant special status to the area, which includes housing estates, playgrounds and a campaign site.
It’s “the right decision,” she said.
She continued: “Listing means that should the site ever come up for sale, the group would have time to formalize an offer. Although this does not preclude future planning applications, listing can be taken into consideration if other planning applications arise.
“We are delighted that our nomination has been successful and that the value of this site to the community has been officially recognized.
“Our members and the wider community were completely shocked when council proposed development on this site over a year ago. Many have been tending their plots for several years, and others on the waiting list patiently waiting.”
She added: “The inscription not only recognizes the value of the site to this community, but also the community’s desire to preserve it for future generations to enjoy.”
Ms Vaccaro said many residents told her they were delighted.
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“So many people have told me how happy they are and I’ve even been sent thank you cards,” she said. “It’s a really positive result for the community.”
She added that Woodhatch Green Spaces Group will continue to work to protect and preserve the site for future generations and hopes to engage soon with the council regarding the long-term site.
Councilor Paul Chandler, South Park and Woodhatch Ward, added, “This is a very positive step forward in preserving green space for the community.
“There are opportunities to improve the area, such as better walking trails, and to improve the natural environment.”
The decision means the land will receive additional protection from development and will remain on the council’s VCA list for five years.
Proposals for a crematorium on the site were rejected at the end of September, with Reigate’s planning committee and Banstead Borough Council deciding it “would be inappropriate in the Metropolitan Greenbelt and detrimental to its opening”.
They also felt that the proposed development “would have an unacceptable negative impact on the site’s biodiversity and ecological potential”.
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