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Opinion: The Green Belt Is There To Save The Countryside

Published on: 25 Nov, 2013
Updated on: 25 Nov, 2013
Tim Harrold CPRE 475

Tim Harrold CPRE

by Tim Harrold

Chairman of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England

Surrey Guildford District

Speaking up in defence of the Surrey countryside is my job. Last week I was at Shere in front of a packed village hall spelling out the damage that the Council’s “Issues and Options” consultation will do to villages in the green belt if we do not write in our objection.

Green belt has saved the best of our countryside from urban sprawl, ribbon development, and suburbanisation over many years. Now there is a threat to withdraw its protection from the villages in the still unspoilt Tillingbourne Valley. Albury, Holmbury St Mary, and Peaslake are, it is recommended, to continue to be protected by the green belt but not Shalford, Chilworth, Shere, or Gomshall.

Opinion Logo 2This recommendation is based on flawed and out of date “evidence” produced by a consultant firm whose main clients are developers. Openness and permanence which are the essential characteristics of the green belt are in danger. Many other villages in the Guildford Borough are also at risk.

We have to stand up and be counted to protect our heritage and that of our children. The reason people choose to visit the Tillingbourne Valley is because it forms part of the nationally important countryside of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Here the Tillingbourne stream still runs clean and clear, and there are watercress beds and trout farms. The air is fresh, the countryside tranquil, and there is no light pollution to hide the stars on fine nights. Here also you will find cricket grounds but no golf courses because 140 is surely enough elsewhere in Surrey.

No wonder so many walkers, riders and cyclists visit its footpaths, bridleways and green sunken lanes. Or that its great landscape value persuades film makers to choose this rural retreat.

If you feel as strongly about this as I do, please send your letter of objection by 17.00 on November 29 to Planning Policy, Guildford Borough Council, Millmead House, Millmead, Guildford GU2 4BB.

If you are a councillor or community leader who wishes to express your view in an opinion piece please email the editor.

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test One Response to Opinion: The Green Belt Is There To Save The Countryside

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    November 25, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Tim Harrold is bang on. We have but one opportunity to save the green belt for posterity.

    Vote ‘Save the Green Belt’ in 2015, and we will undo all and any damage perpetrated by this misguided council.

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