Moorhouse Tile Works planning application – REFUSED

Posted on Mar 8, 2019

Thursday 7th March saw a large number of Westerham residents join with their neighbours from Oxted and Limpsfield in protesting against the application to develop a DPD depot at Moorhouse.  They – and their placards – were at the meeting of Tandridge District Council’s Planning Committee at which the application was to be decided.  Arguments both for and against were heard, and disappointment and disbelief was expressed that both Kent and Surrey Highways had not objected to the application.  But the most cogent argument against the development was the damage that such a large building would do to the openness of the  Green Belt.  It was this that proved the deciding factor and by a narrow margin the Planning Committee voted to refuse the application.

Westerham Town Council were not permitted to speak at the committee meeting, but had sent a statement to its members. Its statement was read out on its behalf by Cllr Catherine Sayer, whose interventions in the debate were instrumental in the committee reaching its conclusion to refuse.

The developers have the right to appeal, which we should expect them to exercise.  However they have received a very clear message from the communities of Westerham, Oxted and Limpsfield, that their development is not welcome here.

Some further amendments have been received from the applicant and final comments need to be made by 20th February 2019 to Tandridge District Council to be taken into account.

Organisations from both sides of the Kent-Surrey border have come together to oppose the building of a distribution centre for DPD, the parcel delivery company, on the site of the old Moorhouse Tileworks.

Covering an area equivalent to 4 Olympic size swimming pools, and 11 m high, this huge building is proposed for our Green Belt and our precious Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty between Oxted and Westerham.

Although situated in Surrey, the extra traffic it generates is – more than 2,000 journeys a day by HGVs and delivery vans on our already overcrowded roads – will affect roads and create traffic chaos in both Kent and Surrey. And we know the numbers will only grow.

‘That’s why organisations on both sides of the border have come together to oppose this proposal’ said Alan Wesley, Chairman  of Westerham Town Council.  ‘We have already enlisted the support of our MPs, Sam Gyimah and Sir Michael Fallon, and are working together to object in the strongest possible terms to this application on which Tandridge District Council will make a decision before the end of this year.

Working together are, Save Oxted Roads and Environment (SORE), Oxted and Limpsfield Residents’ Group, Westerham Residents Association, Westerham Town Partnership and Westerham Town Council.

‘And we know other groups and Councils are as concerned as we are’ added Mr Wesley.  We want as many people as possible to register their objections at by 20th February.