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Welcome to the Copthorne Village Association (CVA) Website, brought to you courtesy of our website sponsor Gary Burfield Wallis of Rogue Interactive

The CVA is a campaigning voice and information conduit for a majority of our village households. We have no statutory or decision making powers but are able to exert a powerful influence on statutory bodies such as the Parish, District and County Councils, the Police Authority and Health Trusts by speaking for a significant majority of Copthorne residents and directing your concerns to the relevant decision-makers in those authorities.

With this Website our primary objective is to improve the flow of information to our members, in addition to our normal Newsletter. 


Land at Hunters Moon Allotments, Copthorne Bank, Copthorne RH10 3JF The application to Tandridge District Council proposes the loss of our allotment land to meet alleged housing need in Burstow Parish, the population of which is primarily resident in Smallfield village some 2.6 miles to the north of Copthorne.

This proposal is highly controversial; coverage in local and national press and social media sites has generated widespread interest and concern for the threat to the Hunters Moon allotments at Copthorne - a community amenity much valued by Copthorne residents for 159 years, since the land was created Field Garden Allotments by an Inclosure Award in 1855.

Support and advice has been given to the Copthorne Village Association and the Allotment Tenants' campaign to save the allotments by HRH, The Prince of Wales, the Rt Hon Francis Maude MP, Mr Guy Barter, Principal Advisor to the Royal Horticultural Society, Liz Bunting, the Legal Advisor to the National Society of Allotments and Sam Gyimah, the MP for Tandridge.

Please send in your objection letter within the next week

Make yourself a cup of tea and settle down to consider these statements and reasons why Tandridge District Council (TDC) should refuse the application, and feel free to use any of all of them in your objection letter.

- The site is within the Metropolitan Green Belt.

- The application ignores Local Green Belt policies and is contrary to Development Plan policy.

- To build on Green Belt land the applicant would need to show very special circumstances (eg a rural exceptions site). We say the applicant failed to do this and the application does not comply with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF); Paragraph 88 sets out the "very special circumstances" test for development.

- The NPPF requires "that substantial weight is given to any harm to the Green Belt", and Paragraph 89 says that new buildings in the Green Belt are inappropriate in general.

- The use of the land as allotments is undoubtedly an appropriate Green Belt purpose and one that preserves Green Belt openness.

- The applicant says the “potential harm to the Green Belt by reason of an appropriateness, and any other harm, is clearly outweighed by other considerations”. The applicant fails to demonstrate what these "considerations" are, and we say the damage would significantly and demonstrably outweigh any benefits of the development.

- Houses on the site will adversely impact on the presently open views across the Green Belt land.

- The application ignores the importance of the allotments as a resource for Copthorne residents living in both the West Sussex and Surrey areas of the village, and indeed in the wider community. The Hunters Moon allotments are included in both the Mid Sussex District Council and the Tandridge District Council's stock of allotment land.

- The wider sustainability of the proposal must be taken into consideration; new housing where a site is permanent irreversibly removes the potential of the land for allotments. Using land for growing fruit and vegetables is inherently sustainable and assists in building community through the allotment holders' association, encourages participation in village life and educates the younger generations. Encouraging people to grow crops for food increases knowledge about healthy eating etc, and has positive health benefits.

- The properties at Discovery Mews - adjacent to the allotment land – lack sufficient garden space and would benefit from access to and use of the allotment land.

- There is no objection to affordable housing per se, but this is the wrong site to choose. It is simply the fact that the Burstow Parish Council own this site that it is being put forward for housing in this way


- The applicant refers on numerous occasions to the assessment of local need carried out for Burstow Parish in 2008, and to the Tandridge Affordable Housing Register. The applicant also states that “cross boundary utilisation of resources cannot be underestimated and the duty to cooperate across arbitrary administrative boundaries is a key objective of the NPPF” (Planning Statement page 14). The applicant therefore acknowledges that the boundary is “arbitrary” and that the needs of the settlements in the area (including Copthorne and Smallfield) ought to be considered in that context. However, the applicant’s assessment is entirely one-sided. The evidence referred to housing need within Burstow Parish, eg Smallfield village and the hamlet of Burstow, and not Copthorne.

- In the information document given out at the Burstow Parish Information Day on 1st December 2010 Burstow Parish Council said:

'many people had concerns that young people were leaving the village'. The CVA says: this statement is misleading to the reader as the village referred to is Smallfield village not Copthorne village

Concerns 'about the impact this could have on the future sustainability of the village'. The CVA says: this statement is misleading to the reader as the village referred to is Smallfield village not Copthorne village

'the Parish Council commissioned a Housing Needs Survey in 2008 to obtain a clearer picture of the housing need of the village'. The CVA says: this statement is misleading to the reader as the village referred to is Smallfield village not Copthorne village

'What is proposed - a small development of 10 homes - on a small area of the allotments at Hunters Moon'. The CVA says: this statement is misleading to as it does not inform the reader the Hunters Moon is in Copthorne village, not Smallfield village.

'The housing is to meet local need'. The CVA says this fails as cannot be met sustainably by a separate village 2.6 miles away.

'The housing is justified by a Parish or settlement housing needs survey'. The CVA says this fails as the survey is flawed and misleading to the reader.

'The development is small scale and respects the setting, form and character of the settlement and surrounding landscape'. The CVA says this fails as the settlement to be considered should be Smallfield village, 2.6 miles away from Copthorne.

- The residents of the West Sussex part of Copthorne village will have no right to live in this development proposed to be sited within their village. The applicant proposes that the houses will be ONLY available to people living in Burstow Parish or Tandridge District.

- The application ignores the potential availability of other sites for affordable housing which do not displace an existing community use.

- The applicant acknowledges that the best means of meeting housing need in Burstow Parish is to develop a site at Smallfield and says there are no suitable alternative sites adjoining Smallfield. However, the Planning Assessment reproduces an extract from the Tandridge Local Plan Proposals Map for Smallfield (page 11) which identifies a number of sites but it is impossible to read what is said about them. No further information is provided in relation to the sites in or near Smallfield, nor anywhere else within the Parish, yet the claim is that there are no suitable available or deliverable sites anywhere. This claim is simply not backed up by any evidence that can be properly and independently assessed.

- In TDC's Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment a number of sites are considered. Here Smallfield is categorised as a larger rural settlement and is excluded from the Green Belt (Policy CSP4). The Core Strategy for Tandridge notes that development for local needs may be proposed at Smallfield and that there is likely to be some redevelopment. Indeed, in the past there have been redevelopment proposals within Smallfield for affordable schemes. Simply put however, there has been no assessment of the availability of alternative sites or if there has, it has not been evidenced. Certainly, it does not provide sufficient justification for looking to meet need 2.6 miles from the centre of need in designated Green Belt land.

- Policy CSP5 of TDC's Core Strategy Policy states “Exceptionally, land adjoining or closely related to the defined rural settlements which would otherwise be considered inappropriate for development, may be developed in order to provide affordable housing in perpetuity”. Policy CSP5 relates to “land adjoining or closely related to the defined rural settlements. By no stretch of the imagination can the application site be regarded as adjoining or closely related to Smallfield. In other words, the application proposal fails at the first hurdle in terms of compliance with Development Plan Policy CSP5. There is no suggestion that this policy is in any way inconsistent with the NPPF.

- Policy CSP13 is not even mentioned by the applicants. This policy requires that existing community, recreational, sports facilities and services and open space will be safeguarded. Clearly the loss of the allotments represents the loss of such a community facility.

- Copthorne's emerging Neighbourhood Plan has identified the Hunters Moon Allotments as a valuable community asset and Worth Parish Council has submitted an application to TDC to have it designated as an Asset of Community Value under the Localism Bill 2011.


- Tandridge MP Sam Gyimah was quoted in the local press in 2013, saying: "The Green Belt is a wonderful asset and, alongside Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it's essential that we maintain these protections for our magnificent countryside. Development on Green Belt land in Tandridge is completely unnecessary as Tandridge District Council have allocated enough land to meet its housing needs, including affordable housing".

- The site is within the village of Copthorne. It is disingenuous of the applicant to call the site "Hunters Moon, Copthorne Bank, Burstow" which suggests there is no relationship between the site and the village of Copthorne in which it sits. Burstow is actually a hamlet to the north of Copthorne village. The "Hunters Moon" was demolished many years ago and replaced with Discovery Mews. The correct address is Hunters Moon Allotments, Copthorne Bank, Copthorne.

- The village of Copthorne is divided by the West Sussex and Surrey County Boundary (which is actually the southern boundary of the allotments land). The village is administered in West Sussex by Worth Parish Council and Mid Sussex District Council, and in Surrey by Burstow Parish Council and Tandridge District Council.

- The Office of National Statistics recognises that Smallfield is the prime residential settlement in Burstow Parish and has a total population of 4301 including those living in Copthorne on the Surrey side.

- The Hunters Moon Allotment site is owned by Burstow Parish Council, and is one of the main reasons why the site is being put forward for development for affordable housing. The Parish Council own allotment land closer to Smallfield, but it seems would prefer to keep those allotments in their existing use, and make their land in Copthorne available for development for housing needs arising in Burstow Parish. This would be at the expense of a community facility much valued by Copthorne residents for 159 years.

The effect of the Local Government Boundary Commission Report 1992: Rt Hon Chris Patten, MP Secretary of State for the Environment, stated that Department of Environment were ‘minded to adopt the line agreed by the two county councils. We thought however that, as the main users of the playing field and allotment gardens appeared to be the residents of Copthorne, then, notwithstanding their present ownership, it would be logical to include them in the transfer to West Sussex. We therefore decided to adopt, as the basis of our draft proposal, both the agreed transfer of the built-up area of Copthorne and the playing field and allotment gardens.’

In making his decision in regard to the boundary change he states ‘We noted that our draft proposal had been generally supported, and that there was no opposition to the principle of transferring the built up area of Copthorne to West Sussex. The Surrey local authorities had, however, opposed the transfer of the playing field and allotment gardens. We accepted that these amenities were used - and would continue to be used - by residents on both sides of the boundary.

We accordingly decided to modify our draft proposal by excluding both the playing field and allotment gardens from the area proposed for transfer. ’He also states that Burstow Parish Council, had claimed in their statement that the allotment gardens were amenity land for the community and should therefore remain in a rural setting.’

Clearly a key consideration to the Boundary Commission change of mind in regard to inclusion of the allotments in West Sussex was based on the assurance and suggestion by the authorities on the Surrey side that the whole community would use the amenities. Furthermore, on this basis, the allotments were included in the ‘Assessment of amenities’ carried out by Kit Campbell Associates for the Mid Sussex District Council as recommended by the government under PPG17.

However, in 2011 the Burstow Parish Council stated in its submission to the DCLG in that ‘We have always had a policy that Burstow Parishioners have precedence over the allotting of plots.’ This was not conveyed to the Secretary of State at the time of the boundary commission consultation in 1992.

You can view English Rural Housing's Planning Statement and a map showing the location of Copthorne village in relation to Smallfield village on our website,, or email and we will send it to you.

Your objection will carry more weight if it avoids mentioning traffic generation, lack of local services, highways safety, overlooking, disturbance from construction, impact on property values.

Every letter counts – we are advised that one objection letter signed by two people only counts as one objection. So, please ask family members to object individually.


The CVA won't be distributing a paper flyer to each house in Copthorne, so please print a copy for your neighbours, friends and family who don't have access to the internet, and forward by email to your friends in Copthorne.


By post, send your objection to Tandridge District Council, Council Offices, Station Road East, Oxted, Surrey RH8 0BT quoting the reference 2013/1870.

Or send an objection by email to quoting the reference 2013/1870.

Or read the applicationt at:

Enter the planning application number in the box: 2013/1870. Click on "search" to go to the Application Search Results page. Click on "view details", which takes you to the page "Planning Application Summary". On the left there are various options to select. "View Application Documents" allows access to the various documents, plans, responses from statutory consultees and representations from the public. You can also send in your comment here.





In its application St Modwen makes much of "local consultation". At their consultation days in July did you ask for an enormous 15,500 sq m industrial estate, greater than the combined size of the current industrial units at Borers Yard, Pembley Green and Rowfant Business Centre? Go and have a look at them over the Christmas holiday and see what to expect in "Copthorne Village West".

Planning policy says residents' views must be taken into consideration; St Modwen certainly hasn't listened to your views. The company knows that at the Neighbourhood Plan consultation day on 21 April 2013 83% of people attending said the proposed development was "unacceptable" or "very unacceptable". In fact the St Modwen development was the least acceptable of the 12 sites presented (the Neighbourhood Plan regulations say that only sites gaining over 50% approval can be included in the Plan).

Again St Modwen ignored your views at its exhibitions in Copthorne on 12 and 13 July 2013. In a poll of people leaving the exhibitions 96% of attendees who answered said they were against the proposed development.

This is what St Modwen wants: "Outline planning application for up to 500 homes, a primary school and doctors surgery, up to 15,500sqm employment floorspace (B1c light industry/B8 storage and distribution), public open space, allotments, associated landscaping, infrastructure (including sub stations and pumping station) and pedestrian and cycle access, with a principal vehicular access from the A264 and a secondary vehicular access from Shipley Bridge Lane with all matters reserved except for access. Land West Of Copthorne, Copthorne Way, Copthorne, West Sussex"

St Modwen Developments Ltd are very clever people; having submitted their application to Mid Sussex District Council at the optimum time - just before Christmas - they are counting on you being slumped in front of the telly, or off skiing, or partying on New Year's Eve, so that you don't "have time" to write your letter of objection before the closing date of 10th January 2014.

Remember, there is no commitment by St Modwen to actually build/construct any of the promised facilities (school, surgery, allotments, playing fields, etc), which are far larger than required for 500 houses and are too far from Copthorne's residential area to be of any use to our community, bearing in mind the limited access.


The application is in outline form only; to consider the principle of the land use and details of the accesses.

The National Planning Policy Framework sets out that planning permission for sustainable development must be granted unless the benefits are significantly outweighed by any adverse impact.

The Mid Sussex Local Plan 2004 is the current development plan (the Council is preparing a District Plan to replace this). Two "saved" policies from the 2004 plan are relevant to this application: C1, Protection of the Countryside, and C2, Strategic Gaps (aimed at preventing coalescence - in this instance joining Copthorne with Crawley - and retaining the separate identity and amenity of settlements).

Whilst acknowledging that there is a housing need, the provision of up to 500 dwellings and 15,500 sq m of employment floor space is a proposal of strategic importance and should not be considered in the context of a planning application, but through the emerging Mid Sussex District Council 'District Plan' and the Copthorne 'Neighbourhood Plan' process. The application is therefore premature.

"The Planning System: General Principles", 2005, states that it may be justifiable to refuse permission on grounds of prematurity where the proposed development is so substantial, or where the cumulative effect would be so significant, that granting planning permission would prejudice the emerging planning policies by predetermining decisions about the scale or location of new developments which are being addressed in those policies.

The benefits claimed by the applicants in relation to pedestrian, cycle and public transport access are recognised by St Modwen to be "slight".

We say the "benefit" of providing up to 500 dwellings, and the other benefits claimed by St Modwen, is significantly outweighed by

the hugely adverse impact on the strategic gap, resulting in coalescence with Crawley, and

the adverse impact on the landscape character of the countryside, which has limited capacity to accommodate development.

Creating a new roundabout on the Copthorne Way link road for the additional traffic associated with 500 houses, a school, and the equivalent of 39 factory units plus warehousing would only add to the problems Copthorne residents currently encounter. The Copthorne village roundabout doesn't adequately cope with current traffic, and approach roads to it are frequently gridlocked; additionally, traffic exiting the M23 both north and south is frequently queuing back on the motorway at peak hours.

The proposed development is not properly integrated with the existing village because

the existing Ancient Woodland and stream create a natural boundary. St Modwen intends to remove a large quantity of trees and woodland across central areas of the site, resulting in substantial, significant adverse effects on the landscape and views of the site;

the proposed new school, GP surgery and employment provision are at the furthest points away from the existing village;

there is no vehicular access between the new development and the existing village. Of the two access points to the eastern boundary and at the north western corner off Shipley Bridge Lane, one is for emergency vehicles and bus use only, and the other is a no-through route to vehicles.

The plan shows pedestrian/cycle links to the existing village; however, two of these go through privately owned land and the landowner has not been approached by St Modwen for access.

The site lies directly in the path of the prevailing south west winds and all pollution from the traffic on the M23, especially when it is queuing on both slip roads at junction10, is carried directly over the site. The application cannot therefore meet the National Planning Policy Framework environmental criteria.

Pollutants have been found in the landfill waste on the site, but St Modwen skips over this aspect.


It is vital that individual representations are made; if you are a family of four then please send four individual submissions - each and every one counts, but please don't just copy what we have said here – Mid Sussex District Council will accept representations right up to the application hearing date (possibly 6th February).

View the full application at: In the "search box" enter the reference 13/04127/OUTES. Click on "Register" to enter your email details, which will allow you make your comment online. Here you can also view the "associated documents" to get a better idea of the impact of the development - which we strongly urge you to do.

Your comments can be posted to Mid Sussex District Council, Planning Division, Oaklands, Oaklands Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 1SS, quoting ref 13/04127/OUTES. The application may also be inspected at the Council offices.

Please email to register your email address for future updates

Disclaimer: The information contained in this document is provided by the Copthorne Village Association (CVA) for general guidance only. Information provided is subject to change. Always check that it is up to date. The CVA does not guarantee or warrant the information as error or omission free. The CVA is unable to provide any express or implied warranty as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness or any other aspect of the information supplied. In no event shall the CVA, its agents, officers or volunteers be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever (including but not limited to liability or loss of use, data or profits) arising out of or in connection with any content on, or accessed by, use of this publication, copying display or other use.

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