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Chapter 5 Where Development will be Directed (A Spatial Strategy)

5.0.1 In line with national and regional guidance, the overarching principle for the Core Strategy, and all Development Plan Documents (DPD's) that follow as part of the Mole Valley Local Development Framework, is the provision of sustainable development. Planning Policy Statement 1: Delivering Sustainable Development (PPS1) (2005) states that the four main aims of sustainable development are:

  • Social progress which meets the needs of everyone;
  • Effective protection of the environment;
  • Prudent use of natural resources; and
  • Maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment.

5.0.2 In addition, the South East Plan states that in order to achieve and maintain sustainable development in the region, authorities should ensure that their actions contribute towards:

  • Achieving sustainable levels of resource use;
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with the region;
  • Ensuring that the South East is prepared for the inevitable impacts of climate change; and Ensuring that the most deprived people also have an equal opportunity to benefit from and contribute to a better quality of life.

5.0.3 Sustainable development is intrinsic throughout the Core Strategy. It underlies all the proposed policies and therefore contributes to meeting the objectives of both PPS1 and the South East Plan. This is further ensured through the work undertaken on the Sustainability Appraisal throughout the preparation of the Core Strategy. Achieving sustainable development through taking action to ensure communities live within environmental limits and do not contribute towards the causes of climate change is a cross cutting issue that is embodied throughout the Core Strategy. The first element of this is the Spatial Strategy, which identifies the most sustainable areas of the District towards which the majority of development will be directed.

5.0.4 Alongside ensuring that development is sustainably located, the causes and implications of climate change are then also addressed through the implementation of a number of other policies within the Core Strategy, in particular:

  • Improved Travel Options and Accessibility (CS Policy 18);
  • Sustainable Construction, Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation (CS Policy 19); and Reduced Flood Risk
  • and Environmental Pollution (CS Policy 20).

5.0.5 The Core Strategy's policies work together to ensure that development is of the highest possible standard and its impact on the causes of, and effects from, climate change are reduced. It is recognised that although individually the effect on climate change in Mole Valley from development will be minimal the Council believes that communities across the District should be making greater efforts to reduce their impact on the environment and adapt to future change.

Policy CS 1

Where Development will be Directed (A Spatial Strategy)

In order to contribute towards the delivery of sustainable development and in accordance with the Vision:

  1. New development will be directed towards previously developed land within the built-up areas of Leatherhead, Dorking (including North Holmwood), Ashtead, Bookham and Fetcham. These settlements have been identified as the most sustainable locations within the District in terms of the level of community services and facilities available, access to public transport and supporting infrastructure.
  2. Limited development (including redevelopment) and infilling will take place on previously developed land within the identified larger rural villages and infilling only on previously developed land within the small rural villages of the District.
  3. In the countryside, development will be considered in the light of other policies within the Core Strategy and the provisions of PPG2 'Green Belts', PPS7 'Sustainable Development in Rural Areas' and Policy C4 'Landscape and Countryside Management' of the South East Plan.
  4. The Council will review the existing Green Belt boundary through the Land Allocations Development Plan Document to ensure that there is sufficient land available to meet development requirements throughout the Plan period.


For the purpose of this policy 'larger rural villages' are Beare Green, Brockham, Capel, Charlwood, Hookwood, and Westcott.

'Small rural villages' are Betchworth, Boxhill, Leigh, Mickleham, Newdigate, Ockley, South Holmwood, Strood Green, Westhumble, and Woodlands Road, Bookham.

5.0.6 Focusing development in the built-up areas of the District is in accordance with national and regional guidance, more specifically Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing (2006) and Policies SP3, LF1 and LF5 of the South East Plan. Policy SP3 'Urban Focus and Urban Regeneration' states that the prime focus for development in the South East should be urban areas, in order to foster accessibility to employment, housing, retail and other services, and avoid unnecessary travel. Policies LF1 'Core Strategy' and LF5 'Urban Areas and Regional Hubs' relating to the London Fringe Sub-Region emphasise this point requiring local authorities in the Sub-Region including Mole Valley, to meet development requirements predominately within urban areas.

5.0.7 Limited development (including redevelopment) and infilling will take place within the identified larger rural villages within the District. As identified in the Settlement Hierarchy these settlements offer some community services and facilities and are within a reasonable distance of the main built-up areas. It is also believed that they are capable of absorbing limited levels of development without causing significant harm to their rural character and that of the surrounding countryside and Green Belt. With regard to housing development within these settlements the provisions of Core Strategy Policy CS 2 'Housing Provision and Location' will also apply.

5.0.8 Reviewing the Green Belt boundary in order to meet development needs is also consistent with the South East Plan. Policies LF1 and LF5 state that where it is not possible to meet development needs in the urban areas, urban extensions involving selective or small-scale reviews of the Metropolitan Green Belt boundary should take place. In reviewing Green Belt boundaries Policy SP5 'Green Belts' of the South East Plan states local authorities should ensure that sufficient land is safeguarded to avoid the need for further review to meet development needs until at least 2031.

This policy will be delivered through development control decisions, supported by the Land Allocations and Development Management Policies Development Plan Documents (DPD's).

The following indicators will be used by the Council to assess the effectiveness of the policy:

  • The percentage of all new development completed on previously developed land.
  • The percentage of all new development completed within Leatherhead; Dorking (including North Holmwood); Ashtead; Bookham and Fetcham.

Mole Valley Settlement Hierarchy (October 2008): One of the primary aims of establishing a settlement hierarchy is to promote sustainable communities by bringing housing, employment opportunities and services closer together in an attempt to reduce the need for travel, particularly by private vehicle. The Settlement Hierarchy helps to achieve this by providing the evidence for concentrating housing growth and other forms of development in those settlements that have a range of services and employment opportunities and restricting it in those that do not. The hierarchy also identifies those settlements where future development could be accommodated without significantly impacting upon the environment.

The hierarchy was established having regard to the national, regional and county policy context, a survey of the level of community facilities and services available within the settlements of Mole Valley, and the accessibility of these settlements to higher order centres. An assessment of the environment surrounding each of the settlements and their capacity to accommodate new development was also made. The Settlement Hierarchy, based on an assessment of all settlements identifies Dorking (including North Holmwood) and Leatherhead followed by Ashtead, Bookham and Fetcham as the most sustainable settlements within the District.

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