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We have welcomed a decision of a planning inspector to turn down a proposal for raised walkway and railings on Hare Lane Green at Esher in Surrey.
The Luminous Property Group had applied to the Secretary of State for consent to construct a raised and widened footway on Littleworth Road south of Claygate House, extending onto Hare Lane Green. The developer put forward the proposal to satisfy its obligation to improve access along the pavement of Littleworth Road, but to avoid harm to adjacent protected trees.
The society had welcomed the proposed works outside Claygate House, where the pavement is inadequate, but said that the project was over-engineered in introducing a raised walkway with protective railing further south onto the green.
Hugh Craddock, a case officer for the society, said: ‘We are pleased that the inspector refused consent for this proposal. The railings and walkway would have looked entirely out of place on the green. It was an excessively intrusive solution to the consequences of designating large numbers of trees as protected from the development. The developer was caught between a rock and a hard place, because it could not improve the pavement for entirely public benefit without risking harm to a couple of indifferent trees adjacent.’
Hugh continued: ‘We very much want to see improved access along Littleworth Road outside Claygate House. But the inspector found the pavement alongside the green already to be 1.5 metres wide, if only it had been properly maintained by the borough and county councils. And that pavement shortly terminates on two rough paths across the green. Without any proposals to address those two paths, realistically any improvements to the pavement will have minimal impact on those with limited mobility.’
Hugh added: ‘The inspector recognised that, to date, “paramountcy” had been given to protecting the trees, and minimal consideration to protecting the green. We are confident that, if all parties get round a table ready to compromise, a solution much more appropriate to the green can be identified and implemented.’