Update – Why WGSPG object to this planning application

08/03/2021

Woodhatch Green Spaces Preservation Group (WGSPG) detailed objections, with supporting evidence, have been submitted. The full response and supporting evidence can be viewed here.

Planning Reference: 21/00192/F 

Below is a brief overview as to why WGSPG object to this proposal.

May I begin with a reminder that the group is not against development where development is fully justified, satisfies planning law and the very special circumstances test in law. In addition, the group appreciates that local authorities are having to make very difficult decisions, as a result of cuts to local funding from central government, local authorities are finding it necessary to explore opportunities to generate a revenue stream which can then be reinvested in other services. Whilst it is right that services should still be invested in and improved, the fundamental of whether a local authority should be providing a service or running a business needs addressing.

There is no statutory duty to provide crematorium, where a local authority decides to provide such a service, the Federation of Burial & Cremation Authorities (FBCA) state in their guidance: 

'it is assumed that before any organisation proceeds with the formulation of plans and the submission of a planning application, the local authority and residents would have been consulted first to establish the business case for a new facility. '

RBBC states

' 'we are always looking for ways to improve services for our residents and have identified a clear need for a crematorium ...... '

However, we consider the planning application fails to demonstrate a clear need, in addition as the need has not been identified, we consider the alternative site assessment is flawed. In addition, the application appears to lacks evidence of a business case for a new facility.

The proposed site is a highly valued countryside and open space, it provides multiple benefits for the community:

  • Informal recreation
  • Allotments
  • Access to the countryside
The site is partly within flood zone 3, close to a housing estate, and local schools. The site is also a Site of Nature Conservation Importance, within an area of Bio-Diversity Opportunity, and has previously been managed under a Countryside Stewardship Scheme. 


The importance of access to the open countryside is well recognised, people should have the opportunity to access the countryside, to explore, connect with nature and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. Access to the open countryside and ability to escape hectic lives also provide huge health benefits.

This site is different in nature to Earlswood Lakes, Earlswood Lakes attracting visitors from further afield, whereas New Pond Farm open space primarily serves the local community.

The requirement for open space near large residential developments was identified as important in the 2005 plan:

Land allocations for Public Open Space 8.3

A survey of open spaces undertaken by the Borough Council during 1985 revealed deficiencies in many parts of the Borough in both formal and informal recreation facilities, when assessed against acknowledged standards of provision. The distribution of facilities also gives rise to deficiencies when assessed against accessibility criteria. Some deficiencies are also being exacerbated by additional housing developments.

8.4 To help meet these deficiencies provision will be made to allocate land as open space for the first time, although in the majority of situations enhanced provision will be made by changing the function of existing open spaces, dual use and improvement of existing facilities and/or by management agreements.

Open space may also result as a requirement in respect of large residential developments, or from other large-scale developments. Detailed consideration of the provision of facilities on individual sites is outside the scope of this Local Plan.

Site No. Location Area Category 5.

New Pond Farm/ Felland Copse, Woodhatch Road, Reigate (Site completed as countryside open space)

There are many reasons why this proposal causes us concerns.

TODAY WOODHATCH OPEN SPACE - WHERE NEXT?

We maintain our single objective to prevent inappropriate development and to preserve this open space for future generations to enjoy