As lead consultant and project manager, we devised and implemented a Planning Strategy to secure permission for the redevelopment of Shackleford Mushroom Farm in Surrey. The project was made difficult by the Site’s location within the Metropolitan Green Belt and Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The situation was further complicated by the existing agricultural use of the Site, its proximity to the Shackleford Village Conservation Area and the fact that the Site straddled the boundary between Guildford and Waverley Borough Councils.
Given that the Site was located in two different jurisdictions, we submitted two identical planning applications consisting of 26 specialist reports each. This involved negotiation with two planning authorities, engagement with two Parish Councils and the need to obtain two planning permissions.
Critical to the success of the project was extensive engagement with the local community and Borough Councils. This involved four public exhibitions of the proposals, a survey of local housing needs, mail-drops and regular information bulletins. This enabled the local community to be involved in the evolution of the scheme, resulting in the majority of local residents supporting the proposals.
Detailed planning permission was granted by the two Borough Councils following the Secretary of State’s decision not to “call in” the applications, having been satisfied that the applicant had demonstrated the “very special circumstances” required to justify an exception to Green Belt policy.