Surrey County Council has been seeking developers to build on the three-hectare site
By Jennifer Hardwick firstname.lastname@example.org
ALL CHANGE: The land off Randalls Road in Leatherhead which could be developed
Surrey County Council has been seeking developers to build on the three-hectare site between Randalls Road and Cleeve Road since gaining planning permission for the land in August 2013.
Now a scheme including a care home, “living units” and “family housing” has been proposed by retirement specialists Beechcroft Developments.
A public exhibition on the plans will be held by the developer on Tuesday at St Mary and St Nicholas Church Hall in Leatherhead.
Outline planning consent for 70 dwellings to be built at the site was granted by Mole Valley District Council in 2013 despite strong objections from neighbouring residents concerned about traffic and parking, flooding, and the loss of habitats for wildlife.
Falcon Wood resident John Moyer said: “Most people living nearby are aware the site is due to be developed and it is about the detail and the housing mix, height and layout.
“On first impression a retirement community sounds a preferable option to apartment blocks and tight rows of two-bed houses. It would probably generate less traffic. But there will be a lot of interest in the details.Will it just be for retirees? Will there be some family housing?”
Penny Down of nearby Tudor Walk, told the Advertiser: “We feel the site is likely to be overcrowded and traffic will be a problem. We’re also concerned about whether there would be adequate parking space on site, because we have ongoing issues with people parking their vehicles in our road and then visiting nearby premises where there isn’t enough parking. Some people even park here and walk to the station, to avoid paying the fees.”
The site was identified as one of five reserved housing sites in the Mole Valley Local Plan, created in 2000. These are to be released for development if a housing land shortage in the district is identified.
But the area was badly hit by the floods at the start of 2014, with Randalls Park Crematorium on the same road left under two feet of water when the River Mole burst its banks.
Mole Valley district councillor Howard Jones said: “One of the things we’re trying to do with Transform Leatherhead is to create more town centre housing by looking at sites near there and hopefully creating a more vibrant centre which is lively all the time rather than in short bursts.
“This [site] is close to the town centre and close to the station. If we could have put a school there that would have been great but the fact is that Therfield is undersubscribed and we don’t seem to have a need for it there.
“We know we have an aging population in the north of the district.
“We have an increase in property prices because people are staying in their houses for as long as they can. If you have retirement apartments the idea is people downsize, freeing up the market for others.”
The public exhibition on the plans will take place between 4 and 7pm on Tuesday.
Beechcroft Developments declined to comment on the proposal when contacted by the Advertiser.