Letter to Editor: Planning committee 'short sighted' with Grasshopper Inn application refusal

By Kevin Black in Planning

Those of you that that know and have visited and eaten at the Grasshopper Inn at Moorhouse on the A25 will know what a superb establishment this has become under the ownership of Faucet Inn.

This now has a multi function use of Restaurant, Pub, Rooms and function Rooms. Because of this they are offer jobs within the district and their future plans will offer more hotel space for their wedding function. So it is a great disappointment that I was advised that their recent planning application to knock down and improve these facilities were refused by a majority of the Conservative Councillors on the Tandridge District Council planning committee.

Having had the plan accepted by the usually tough AONB Planning Adviser who stated that the form and design of the replacement wing are in character with the main hotel/restaurant and would not detract from the character of this part of Surrey the councillors then went on to disagree with this statement as part of their objections.

The government has asserted through the NPPF framework that it is committed to securing economic growth in order to create jobs and prosperity and further states that it is committed to ensuring that the planning system does everything it can to support sustainable economic growth. Planning is supposed to operate to encourage and not act as an impediment to growth.

Significant weight should be placed on the need to support economic growth through the planning system. Yet despite all of the above this planning application was surprisingly refused by the short sighted actions of some of the committee. I have since had a meeting with the Leader of the Council and asked him to review the events behind this refusal, having heard from him and his fellow Conservative councillors many times about the need for action to ensure Tandridge does not wither and die. There is a lack of hotel accommodation in this general area and the application should have been supported and it is beyond me why these councillors who profess to be working for the good of Tandridge made this decision.

I will continue to work with the applicant to get this planning application resubmitted and passed and in doing this I would like to thank the Conservative, Liberal and Independent councillors that clearly understood better the needs for this application to be permitted.

Councillor Martin Allen

Tandridge District Councillor for Tatsfield and Titsey.

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