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Green Belt Farmland and Land/Woodland in Riddlesdown
Mitchley Wood and Dunmail Drive (White Path)
Some residents recently contacted the RRA about tree work that the 19th Purley Scout Group were undertaking by the scout hut in Dunmail Drive. Following a recent visit by the Council's Planning Tree Officer it was stated by the Council Officer that the Scout compound was outside of the TPO areas. However, the Council Officer has now written back to the Scout leaders on 26 October to say he made an error in his previous assessment of the plans and available maps and has discovered that the scout site is within the protection of the TPO. The Scout Group are now working with the Council to regularise the situation.
The RRA have been made aware of surveying currently being undertaken to the farmland in Rectory Park/Mitchley Hill. The RRA do not know what this is about. The surveyors when questioned by the resident as to the purpose of their visits, gave no indication as to what they were doing, or who they were working for, but that they are there to conduct a survey.
We know the land was up for sale by Wineham's with any offers due in by end of September (see below), so it could be a prospective purchaser and/or new land owner having a survey done.
The land is Metropolitan Green Belt. The owners (or anyone else) are perfectly entitled to submit a planning application (if that is why they are surveying) but the Government, from what has been said lately, are committed in protecting Green Belt land. We may hear more about this tomorrow in the budget. We can only wait and see.
The RRA have made the Sanderstead Ward Councillors and our MP aware of this latest development and this is a response from Chris Philp MP, dated 21 November 2017.
Farm and Woodland For Sale
The RRA have received a number of enquiries from concerned residents that the farmland and some woodland in Riddlesdown has been put up for sale.
The land has been advertised with Savills and offers were due in by 29 September 2017. Much of the land is let to local farmer.
This land is being sold by Wineham Investments, who bought much of this Green Belt land from Taylor Wimpey in 2009. Wineham's in 2016, entered into an Option Agreement with Bovis Homes.
With an Option Agreement, the buyer has the “option” to buy the property subject to certain conditions being fulfilled. This is attractive mainly to developers who wish to buy land to build/develop upon. Once any planning permission has been granted, or a condition has been fulfilled, the buyer then has the right to serve a notice upon the seller requiring the seller to sell the site to the buyer. This would be within a time specified in the option agreement, at either an agreed price, or at market value. Option Agreements are normally registered against the title of the property at the Land Registry, so any other parties can see that the developer/buyer has an interest in the land. It doesn't mean they have bought it.
All this land is Green Belt land and in theory it can't be built on for homes (which is probably why Taylor Wimpey sold it!). Croydon Council have designated all the land in the current and proposed Local Croydon Plans, as Green Belt. However, that doesn't mean it will change at sometime in the future, if Government policy changes. It is again, probably another speculative sale by an owner. Hopefully local residents shouldn't be too concerned.
The RRA will keep a watching brief on this. If anyone hears anything more, will they please let us know.
Public Footpaths across the farm fields in Mitchley Ave
As some residents may have noticed, the local farmer (Church Farm Services) who have taken on the tenancy of the fields in Mitchley Ave and Rectory Park/Mitchley Hill have started to plough the farmland in preparation for sowing, “for long term grass leys this autumn and to cut it for hay and haylage next summer” (see our post below of 20 May 2017).
A number of residents have contacted the RRA to say that Public Footpaths have been ploughed and are now uneven. This is particularly so, on the Public Footpath between Mitchley Ave (opposite shops) and Derwent Drive.
“So what does the law state and what do farmers/landowners have to do?
• In England and Wales, those that own or maintain the land are required to keep public rights of way “open and useable”.
• To provide and maintain stiles and gates, keeping them safe and easy to use.
• Cut back overhanging vegetation that may obstruct the route – at least 3m of headroom is required on bridleways.
• Ensure field-
• Reinstate cross-
Can Farmers plough up across Public Footpaths?
Yes, they can disturb a path surface when ploughing or cultivating the field, but if they do, they must make good the path surface within 14 days of the first disturbance if a crop is being sown, or within 24 hours in other cases. The surface must be returned to at least the minimum width, which is 1m for cross-
No. A minimum width of 1.5m for field-
We have noted the farmer has ploughed up to and across the line of the Public Footpath from Mitchley Ave (opposite shops) to Derwent Drive on the field edge. The problem with this Public Footpath is that because all the bramble/ shrub vegetation that has been allowed to grow behind the houses, the path has been allowed to be become established some metres away from the true line (and the sign post on Mitchley Ave) and it has encroached into the farmer’s field. The RRA have spoken to him (2/8/17) and he has promised to rectify this as situation as soon as possible and re-
It is also needs to be made clear that the Public Footpath that runs from Mitchley Ave (opposite the shops) up to Derwent Drive (which comes out beside houses Nos 37/39) is the correct Public Footpath. The Public Footpath (130) that runs from the end of Grisedale Gardens (beside the end house -
The photo below (taken from the Ordnance Survey map) gives a clear indication of the Public Footpaths over this land. The thick green pecked lines are the Public Footpaths. The footpath between Derwent Drive and Grisedale Gardens that runs along the edge of the field and behind the houses in Grisedale Gardens (shown in thinner black pecked line) is not a Public Footpath but a permissive path.
We have also been made aware that a gate has been erected behind the “car parking” area in Mitchley Ave. We have been asked if this is allowed. Yes, a farmer is perfectly entitled to gate a field and fence it (at a sensible height). There is no Public Footpath entrance at this point. As long as the Public Footpaths are accessible, this is allowed.
What the farmer is trying to do, is make people walk on the Public Footpaths, rather than across the fields and his crops!
UPDATE 27/5/17 -
The RRA have been contacted over the last few days by some residents concerned about GL Hearn (Property Consultants) who spoke at the Croydon Local Plan hearing on Tuesday morning (23/5/17), on behalf of Bovis Homes.
Bovis were asking the Planning Inspector that Croydon Council remove the Green Belt status on the farmland in Riddlesdown (Mitchley Ave, Rectory Park/Mitchley Hill).
The RRA have been attending a number of the hearing sessions but we were not made aware this subject would be discussed on Tuesday morning, as these sites had not been listed for discussion. However, Sanderstead Ward Cllr Yvette Hopley was present and she gave evidence to the hearing defending the Green Belt. Bovis say exceptional circumstances allow for schools to be built on Green Belt land (i.e. Riddlesdown Collegiate) so why not houses!
The RRA are of the view that Bovis are taking a shot in the dark with this. National Planning Policy is very clear that Local Planning Authorities (LPA) can only consider Green Belt de-
UPDATE 20/5/17 -
It has been established via the Council that this work is bona fide and the new tenant of the land intends taking a hay crop on a commercial basis. The tenant has been made aware by the Council, of all the Tree Preservation Orders on trees around the field.
We have subsequently found out via our Facebook page who the new tenant is. This message was posted on 19 May;
“Hello Riddlesdown residents
We would like to introduce ourselves we are Church Farm Services and we are the new tenants of the land at Mitchley Ave and Mitchley Hill if you would like to find out more about us please visit our website or our Facebook page.
We are intending to reseed the fields with long term grass leys this autumn and cut it for hay and haylage next summer.
We hope that all the local residents will find that we look after the fields in an appropriate way. Rest assured at our home farm in Woldingham we have over 100 species of birds and our farming practices take wildlife in general into consideration.”
This is good news, as the field has been left uncultivated for about 3 years now.
We also understand it is the intention of Church Farm Services to take hay crop from the other piece of farmland off Rectory Park / Mitchley Hill. The Council advise that from their records, there are no tree restrictions on this field.
UPDATE 11/4/17 -
Berkshire Homes have sold the plot of land in Dunmail Drive (r/o 36 -
The land is Green Belt and was also subject to a recent Planning Inspector’s decision to dismiss the appeal for the building of 4 detached houses in 2013 (see update 17/12/13 below).
UPDATE 6/9/16 -
The appeal by the owner of the horse grazing land in Mitchley Hill, adjoining the bottom end of Dunmail Drive has been dismissed by Planning Inspector on 2 September 2016. This now means the owner will have to remove some of the hardstand and re-
The Inspector’s report can be downloaded on this link
Planning Decision -
Background Information -
In early 2014, the owner was then granted subsequent planning permission to erect the gates and fencing and to discharge some conditions on the 2013 decision. The owner erected a wooden post and rail, and barbed wire fence all around the site, erecting gates and digging a trench for a water supply and forming a hardstand area for vehicles.
In late October 2015, another planning application was submitted by the owner for the retention of the security gates and an agricultural hardstand/turning area. This application had to be submitted because the Planning Enforcement Officer had noted the hardstand area was much larger than had originally been given permission for – 12 metres deep by 9 metres wide, compared to what has been built of 35 metres from the back edge of the pavement by 17.6 metres at its widest point on the turning area. This was a retrospective planning application because most of the works have already been carried out.
We know that some residents objected to this application and objections were also made by Croydon South MP, Chris Philp and Councillor Lynne Hale. Because the RRA’s objections were ignored in February 2013, we have made no objections on this particular application. However, we have made some observations to the Planning Department about the excessive depth of the hardstand stand and also the height of the gates fronting the highway.
We have learnt on 11 December 2015 that this application has been refused by the Planning Officer without a referral to the Planning Committee. The reason(s) for refusal:-
1. The proposal would be detrimental to the visual amenities and the open character of the Metropolitan Green Belt contrary to the NPPF, Policies 7.4, 7.6 and 7.16 of the London Plan 2015 (Consolidated with Alterations since 2011), Policies SP1.2, SP4.1, SP4.2 and SP7.2 of the Croydon Local Plan: Strategic Policies (2013) and Policies.
UPDATE 25/6/14 -
Wineham Investments again put the plot of land in Dunmail Drive (r/o 36 -
They also put a small plot of woodland (Lot 119) opposite 18/20 Honister Heights to the same auction and this sold for £300.
Both areas of land are Green Belt and the land in Dunmail Drive was also subject to the recent Planning Inspector’s decision to dismiss the appeal for the building of 4 detached houses (see update 17/12/13 below).
UPDATE 7/2/14 -
Wineham Investments put the plot of land in Dunmail Drive opposite Riddlesdown Collegiate gates, to a Barnard Marcus Auction on 5 February 2014. Lot 87. This land previously went to auction on 6 February 2013 but did not reach the reserve price (see update below of 24/1/13).
The Auction details state that “a planning application has been submitted to Croydon Council for the erection of 4 detached houses.” This part is correct but Croydon Council did refuse the application on 20 March 2013, the applicant then appealed and the Planning Inspector dismissed the appeal on 16 December 2013. The Auction details are therefore not up to date! This Green Belt land is also subject to a blanket Tree Preservation Order issued by Croydon Council TPO No.16; 2013. The guide price is £80,000.
Wineham’s also put two parcels of woodland opposite the houses in Honister Heights and backing onto Riddlesdown Common to the same auction. The guide price for each of these plots is £8,000. This Green Belt land is also subject to a blanket Tree Preservation Order issued by Croydon Council TPO No.28; 2010.
Lot 30 -
Lot 31 -
The RRA have been advised by Croydon Council that most of the woodland in Dunmail Drive, Mitchley Ave and Honister Heights are now covered by blanket Tree Preservation Orders (TPO’s). The Council have made these new TPO’s following the felling of many trees on land opposite the Collegiate gates in Dunmail Drive in August 2011 and May 2012, and the two subsequent planning applications on this Green Belt land for housing, both of which were refused by Croydon Council. One of the planning applications for 4 houses was then dismissed by Planning Inspector on appeal in December 2013. This is indeed good news and one that the RRA, local residents and the Sanderstead Ward Councillors have been campaigning for, for some time.
Some of these TPO’s are historic but most are recent. The Plans can be viewed by clicking on the links below.
TPO No. 46; 1958 relates to Mitchley Wood off Dunmail Drive -
TPO No. 4; 2006 relates to Mitchley Wood and part of Ragged Grove -
TPO No. 28; 2010 relates to Woodland opposite 16/60 Honister Heights -
TPO No. 8; 2013 relates to Woodland r/o 36 to 46 Honister Heights -
TPO No. 16; 2013 relates to some land in Dunmail Drive and r/o 1 to 21 Grisedale Gdns -
TPO No 9; 2014 relates to woodland in Dunmail Drive & opposite 135 to 159 Mitchley Ave -
If any resident now sees any tree felling occurring on this land they should contact Croydon Council’s Planning Enforcement Officers immediately on 020 8726 6000. These TPO’s now mean it is now an offence to fell or lop any trees on these parcels of land without prior approval from the Council.
The RRA also understand that a Tree Felling Licence is also required from the Forestry Commission, if more than 5 cubic metres of timber is felled, although exemptions do apply -
UPDATE 17/12/13 -
The RRA have learnt the planning application that was refused by Croydon Council on 23 March 2013 for the erection of 4, two storey detached houses, rear of 36/60 Honister Heights has now had the appeal dismissed on 16 December 2013, by the Planning Inspector. This land is Green Belt.
This is indeed excellent news and is welcomed by the RRA and many local residents.
The Inspector rejected the appeal, mainly for three reasons. These briefly are that:
A full transcript of the Planning Inspector’s decision can be viewed on this Link
UPDATE 24/1/13 -
Wineham Investments have put the plot of former woodland in Dunmail Drive opposite Riddlesdown Collegiate gates, to a Barnard Marcus Auction on 6 February 2013.
The Auction details state that “a planning application has been submitted to Croydon Council for the erection of 4 detached houses.” The RRA have now been informed by Croydon Council’s Planning Department that this is correct and an application 13/00181/P was registered with them on 23 January 2013. Planning Link
A previous planning application for 9 houses (12/00999/P) Planning link was refused on this land by Croydon Council in September 2012, as the land is Green Belt. However, the fact that the land is Green Belt is not mentioned in the Auctioneer’s on line details!
The RRA will keep residents advised on this application and we will be opposing the planning application, in order to protect the Green Belt, which Croydon Council have stated in their Core Strategy, which is due to be effective from April 2013, that “the Green Belt will be protected.” Residents are advised to make their own representations to the Council on this application.
UPDATE 18 DECEMBER 2012 -
Lot 109 -
Wineham Investments have put a further woodland plot, opposite the even numbered houses in Honister Heights (roughly mid way along), to a Barnard Marcus Auction on 18 December 2012.
Again, just for clarification, this land is Metropolitan Green Belt and is also a Site of Metropolitan/Borough Importance for Nature Conservation and is also a site of Archaeological Importance. There is also a blanket tree preservation order, for all species of trees (No 28; 2010) made on 25 May 2010, on this woodland strip, opposite 16-
Land r/o 36/60 Honister Heights & Fronting Dunmail Drive
As many residents will be aware, the owner has felled many trees on this site. The RRA and a number of Councillors have been requesting the Council to do something to preserve the remaining trees on the site and we are pleased to report the Council did act and in May 2013 they put TPO’s (Tree Preservation Orders) on all the remaining trees on this land. This is indeed good news and preserves what remains of this woodland.
If any resident now sees any tree felling occurring on this land they should contact Croydon Council’s Planning Enforcement Officers immediately on 020 8726 6000. The RRA also understand that a Tree Felling Licence is also required from the Forestry Commission, if more than 5 cubic metres of timber is felled, although some exemptions do apply. If residents notice tree felling on this land, or in other woodland areas of Riddlesdown, as well as contacting Croydon Council, enquiries should also be made with the Forestry Commission in Bristol, on Tel: 0117 906 6000.
UPDATE 6 SEPT 2012 -
A planning application to build nine residential properties has been submitted to Croydon Council’s Planning Department, for this Green Belt woodland on 10 April 2012. This application has now been refused by Croydon Council on 6 September 2012
APPLICATION REFUSED Woodland in Dunmail Drive, (R/O 36-
The RRA again argued against this development on Green Belt Land and we also had the support of all the Sanderstead Ward Councillors. Councillor Tim Pollard, made a referral, which means that if the Planners had agreed to the application, it would have had to be taken to the Planning Committee for their decision. However the Planners decided to oppose it on the following reasons:
1. The proposal would constitute inappropriate development, detrimental to the open character of the Metropolitan Green Belt and would thereby conflict with Policies SP5 and RO1 of the Croydon Replacement Unitary Development Plan (The Croydon Plan) 2006 Saved Policies and Policy 7.16 of the London Plan 2011
2. It has not been sufficiently demonstrated that the development would not compromise the retention of a number of visually important trees. The potential loss of these trees would be detrimental to the character of the area and the proposal is, therefore, contrary to Policies UD 2 and NC4 of the Croydon Replacement Unitary Development Plan (the Croydon Plan) 2006 Saved Policies and Policy 7.21 of the London Plan 2011
UPDATE 1 JUNE 2012 -
A planning application for two residential properties has been submitted to Croydon Council’s Planning Department, for this Green Belt woodland on 10 April 2012. This application has now been refused by Croydon Council on 1 June 2012.
APPLICATION REFUSED Land South of 13 Honister Heights -
The RRA argued against this development on Green Belt Land and we also had the support of all the Sanderstead Ward Councillors. Councillor Tim Pollard, made a referral, which means that if the Planners had agreed to the application, it would have had to be taken to the Planning Committee for their decision. However the Planners decided to oppose it on the following reasons:
Schedule for Application No:-
Decision: Permission Refused
Reason(s) for refusal :-
1. The proposal would be inappropriate development and detrimental to the openness of the Metropolitan Green Belt and is likely to harm the Site of Nature Conservation Importance and would thereby conflict with Policies UD2, SP5, RO1, RO6 and NC1 of the Croydon Replacement Unitary Development Plan (The Croydon Plan) 2006 Saved Policies.
2. Having regard to the illustrative details accompanying the application, it is likely the development would be detrimental to the amenities of the occupiers of adjoining property by reason of its siting and massing and would thereby conflict with Policies UD2 and UD8 of the Croydon Replacement Unitary Development Plan (The Croydon Plan) 2006 Saved Policies and Supplementary Planning Document No 2 on Residential Extensions and Alterations.
3. The trees on this site are subject to woodland tree preservation order 28 of 2010, confirmed on 29/06/2010. The trees are important components of the preserved woodland and make a significant contribution to the sylvan character of the area. The proposal, by virtue of the illustrative siting of the dwellings and the amenity space, is likely to result in the removal of most of the woodland currently on the site. The loss of the trees as a result of this
application is detrimental to the character of the area and is contrary to Policies UD9 ,NC4 & UD2 of the Croydon Replacement Unitary Development Plan (The Croydon Plan) 2006 Saved Policies
WINEHAM INVESTMENTS PUT MORE WOODLAND IN HONISTER HEIGHTS UP FOR SALE AND ANOTHER PLANNING APPLICATION IS SUBMITTED -
Wineham Investments put a further 3 woodland plots opposite the even numbered houses in Honister Heights, to a Barnard Marcus Auction on 24 May 2012.
Lot 51 -
Lot 134 -
WINEHAM INVESTMENTS PUT MORE WOODLAND UP FOR SALE AT AUCTION ON 17 APRIL 2012
The RRA have learnt that Wineham Investments are putting to a Barnard Marcus Auction on 17 April 2012, a section of the woodland they own, adjoining 13 Honister Heights. Lot 115. Sold for £30,000 -
WINEHAM INVESTMENTS PUT FARMLAND AND WOODLAND UP FOR SALE -
Wineham Investments subsequently put to Auction on 11 October 2011, the 10.8 acres of woodland to the west side of Dunmail Drive (on the right side, going up the hill from Mitchley Hill but excluding the Scout hut). This woodland was not sold at Auction but was sold “subsequently for an undisclosed amount” to an unknown purchaser.
Six parcels of land in our area are being put up for auction on 12 September 2011 by Barnard Marcus. This sale is on behalf of Wineham Investments, the Company who purchased the land from Taylor Wimpey in 2009.
The six plots are:
Lot 72 – 16.7 acres of farmland in Mitchley Ave (opposite the shops). -
Lot 73 – 10.8 acres of woodland running up on the right side of Dunmail Drive (west) from Mitchley Hill. -
Lot 139 – 13.5 acres of farmland on north side of Mitchley Hill (eastern part) – (being split in two with Lot 140). -
Lot 140 -
Lot 143 -
Lot 144 – 1.7 acres of woodland behind properties in Grisedale Gardens and Honister Heights and Dunmail Drive. -
Although not detailed in the Auction details, all the land is Greenbelt Land and under current planning rules, cannot be built on with houses. Some of the plots also have a blanket Tree Preservation Orders on them, so no trees can be felled without prior approval from Croydon Council. Croydon Council’s Planning Department have said they will again write to the auctioneers and request that this is pointed out to potential bidders at the auction. The RRA will continue to monitor the situation and liaise closely with the Sanderstead Ward Councillors and Croydon Planning Department who are being very supportive.
Update as at 14 March 2010
The RRA has learnt that the sale to an unknown bidder has fallen through and all the land is again for sale, as one lot, via the Agents Savills. The RRA will continue to monitor the situation.
Lots 16 -
Lot 16 (A) -
Lot 17 (B) -
Lot 18 (C) -
Lot 19 (F) -
Lot 20 (G) -
Lot 21 (M) -
Lot 52 -
Lot 61 -
Lot 110 -
Lot 112 -
TAYLOR WIMPEY PUT UP FARMLAND
AND WOODLAND FOR SALE
The RRA Committee are aware that all the land owned by Taylor Wimpey, which comprises the farmland off Mitchley Hill, farmland off Mitchley Avenue, Mitchley Wood, and woodlands off Dunmail Drive and woodland in Honister Heights, is all currently on the market for freehold sale, either as one or in separate lots.
This land is all greenbelt land and subject to current planning laws and is not available for development.
The committee will be monitoring this situation very carefully.
Update 17.9.09: The RRA has learnt from the agents, Savills, that this land was subject to 'best and final offers' on Friday 11 Sept 09 and that all 6 plots are currently under offer to a single unknown bidder.