Action Needed to Protect Our Open Green Space. Statutory Consultation Now Closed

The statutory consultation period has now closed and over 70 Letters of Representation have been submitted to MVDC Planning Department. A big “thank you” to everyone who submitted a Letters of Representation.

If you would like to see the submissions you may do so on the MVDC Planning Application page:

MVDC Planning Application MO/2020/2070

Letters of Representation are found under the Documents tab.

We look forward to hearing the result of the Application in the near future and the go-ahead is given to go to the next stage in the planning process.

Local people working in conjunction with the Bookham Community Association (BCA) and the Bookhams Residents’ Association (BRA).

Planning Application MO/2020/2070 – Asset of Community Value – The Garstons Triangle.

Update – December 2020 – Message from Doug McCann

Earlier this year a joint appeal from Bookham Community Association (BCA) and Bookhams Residents’ Association (BRA) was made to Bookham residents requesting support to help safeguard the Open Green Space that’s shown, with green hatching, in the map opposite/below.

The BCA submitted separate planning applications to have two parts of the Open Green Space designated as Assets of Community Value (ACV). These parts are the Mead Rectangle and the Garstons Triangle, as indicated on the map. We were very pleased to see that over 170 residents submitted Letters of Support in relation to these applications.

The application for the Mead Rectangle was considered first and, sadly, it was refused on the grounds that the application and the Letters of Support focused on the land providing a convenient route to get to other places – and that use, perhaps surprisingly, works against getting the ACV designation. ACV applications and Letters of Support need to show that the land itself is used for the social well-being or the social interests (including cultural, sporting and recreational interests) of the local community – and being used as a route to get to other places is deemed not to fall into this category.

With this clearer understanding of the criteria, the BCA withdrew the application for the Garstons Triangle, before it was formally considered, for fear that this application might be rejected too.

The BCA has now submitted a fresh application that places a more balanced emphasis on the uses of the Garstons Triangle. This now needs Letters of Support because the ones submitted earlier do not carry forward to the new application. If we all submit fresh Letters of Support, saying something about the cultural, sporting or recreational uses of the land, and not focusing on it being a route to other places, then we believe there is a high likelihood of success.

Why is the BCA Making an ACV Application?

If the ACV application is successful, this designation can be used by the planning authority as a factor to justify refusing planning permission to build on the land.

Additionally, the owner isn’t allowed to sell the land without allowing six months for the local community to see if they can arrange funds to bid to buy it.

What are the Criteria for an Asset of Community Value?

To be designated as an Asset of Community Value, we need to explain that the main use of this land is furthering the social well-being or social interests (including cultural, sporting and recreational interests) of the local community.  Being used as a walking route to get to other places is not considered to be one of these uses.

Further, it needs to be clear that the land has been used in this way by local people for some years.

The New ACV Application for the Garstons Triangle

There are two ways in which you can submit your Letter of Support.

1) Visit the MVDC Planning page website: Comment on MVDC Planning Application MO/2020/2070 (This requires comments to be submitted as an attachment in DOC, PDF or JPG format).

2) Alternatively you can send an email direct to the planning department: planning@molevalley.gov.uk  (The text can be in the body of the email or, alternatively, in an attached file).

Some Advice on What to Say in your Letter of Support

Essential:

  • Quote Planning Reference: MO/2020/2070.
  • Give your name (but signature not needed).
  • Give your full address including Post Code.
  • State that you support the application for designation as an Asset of Community Value, or have a heading that says “Letter of Support”.

Background (optional):
You can say something general about living locally, and/or having lived here for xx years (especially if a significant number of years) and/or being familiar with this land and/or knowing what happens on the land and/or having observed what happens on the land.

Desirable:
If you think any of the following apply, it would be a good idea to mention the points that you consider most important:

The land helps the social well-being of local people and/or it helps with social interaction amongst people from the Bookham community and/or it provides somewhere for recreation and/or it helps with sport and exercise and/or that it’s sometimes used in conjunction with other parts of the Open Green Space for exercise and sport and/or that it’s enjoyed by the community and/or that it contributes to our sense of community and/or other points along these lines.

You can add a comment about how this has been happening for many years/decades/60 years/since the late 1950s and how this ought to continue for the benefit of Bookham/the local community.

Extra Details (optional):
You could mention, by way of examples, any specific activities you’ve personally seen taking place on the land. Here are some possibilities to jog your memory:

Congregating and socialising with other villagers during the Bookham Village Day festival (as the Barn Hall Field is too noisy for conversation); taking dogs for walks; having a nice place for children to play; children playing amongst the drooping branches of the big willow tree [for many decades but now removed]; children climbing on the fallen tree bough [for years but now removed]; going for short walks for exercise; having informal family sports; going jogging; enjoying being outdoors with others; having a place to socialise; being used for teenage socialising; being used by schoolchildren socialising after school; going for a stroll with friends; playing frisbee with children; playing with a football; having a picnic;  having snowball fights; making snowmen; having COVID-safe outdoor meetings etc.

You can include photos if you happen to have them, but that only helps if they actually show people on the Garstons Triangle!

Thank you.

Closing date for Letters of Support: 6th January 2021.

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