Immediate - Flash to all teams.

This has just appeared on the Guardian website with a timestamp of 23.58

Founded 1945


Planning Application Re Millcroft, 36 Grays Lane, Ashtead
Application No: MO/2007/0863/CU

Ashtead Residents’ Association (ARA) has received a number of approaches voicing concern about the objections submitted in relation to this application and other comments reported in the press. The ARA has every sympathy with the concerns expressed to us, based upon these articles. At no stage have we or will we endorse some of the comments submitted by individual objectors and/or quoted in press articles.

In our experience Ashtead residents are proud of being associated with the work undertaken at Headley Court and are very supportive of our service personnel, their families and loved ones. It is a matter of great regret that the Ashtead Residents’ Association has erroneously been linked by recent press coverage with comments which have created a very different impression.

The Daily Mail article which appeared on July 16th was also inaccurate in at least one respect. Mr Webb is not Chairman of Ashtead Residents' Association and is not a spokesman for it. He is Chairman of Ashtead Park Estate Management Company Ltd, a company which represents the interests of residents in that part of the village.

ARA reviews each planning application for Ashtead and considers whether a comment is appropriate, based upon our constitutional aims and what is pertinent in the context of planning law. We also aim to take full account of the views of residents most immediately affected by any application.

The Committee members present at the meeting which discussed this application were unequivocally supportive of the purpose intended by SSAFA for this property.

Is that the first time we've heard this? I'm unsure, does anyone have the original text?

The request had however caused a higher level of local opposition than almost any in recent years. In accordance with our normal practice, we consequently considered that it would be appropriate to lodge a brief letter of objection but based solely upon planning considerations which MVDC Development Control Committee might consider relevant to its deliberations. (The full text is available on the MVDC website). Our letter noted our sympathy with and support for the purpose proposed for this property, as had other letters of objection.

We recognize that this planning application has become a matter of both local and national interest.

Better late than never.

We are pleased to receive comments on this and any other planning application.

That's new.

Given these extraordinary circumstances, local residents may also wish to express their views on this application to locally elected representatives.

Those with the greatest direct interest are:
1. Cllr Hunt (Conservative - Village Ward) who chairs the MVDC Development Control Committee

2. Cllr Davis who submitted a personal objection (see MVDC website) and is the Conservative Councillor for Ashtead Park Ward, which includes Grays Lane.

3. The other Councillor for Ashtead Park Ward, Councillor Townsend (Ashtead Independent)

4. Our MP Chris Grayling , who also lives close to the relevant property.

Paul Le Versha
Comments in Italics are mine.

The grinding noise you can hear is gearbox roulette. I expect Mr. Le Versha will be looking for a smoke replen shortly too.

Does anyone have a copy of the original statement for comparison?
We know Chris Hunt is unhappy with the refusal , I don't know the stance of the other councillors.

Grayling, I hope myself and Spunky have left flapping like a Flounder.

The cracks are appearing , now we just need to find the right thread to pull.
Spunky and cashbar,

If you haven't seen this, it will make you chuckle :D . The delicious irony certainly made oi laaaarf..

Dr Liam Fox wrote:


Thank you for your letter of 19 July in support of SSAFA.

I entirely agree that, given the sacrifice that our servicemen and women have made on behalf of their country, the least they can expect is to be properly cared for in the event of injury. Given the traumatic nature of such injuries, it is entirely reasonable that they should want to have members of their families able to visit them and I believe this is part of the duty of care of the Ministry of Defence (and the government more widely) to ensure that this happens.

I understand that there is currently a dispute about the location of such accommodation at 36 Gray's Road, Ashtead but it is not appropriate for me to intervene in a planning application in another MP's constituency.

However, I have already been in touch with my colleague, Chris Grayling, who tells me that he believes it is clearly desirable for a facility of this kind to exist and that he would be happy to see it located in his constituency.

There are apparently local considerations which need to be sorted out by the local council, but I am sending them a copy of this letter so that they are aware of the strength of feeling surrounding this issue.

I have seen from other correspondence that there is some suggestion that some local opinion objects to this on security grounds. While there may be legitimate planning issues to be taken into account, the idea that "an increased threat of terror" should be used as a reason-for objection is both preposterous and offensive, given the self evident sacrifice that those in Headley Court have made.
PTP, got one in the post this morning after he "saw a copy of my email to Chris Grayling". That'd be the copy I forwarded to him then!

Nice that the ARA statement has been done as a comment on that article - it's already linked from the site, so hopefully will get good coverage. Just wish I'd had time to trap "outgoing" links from the pages - statcounter loses track as soon as they leave the site. May write my own counter for that if I have time.

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