MVDC Modest expansion of villages – explanatory note

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Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) is preparing a new Local Plan, called ‘Future Mole Valley’. The plan will guide development in the District over the next fifteen years, up to 2033.

Following a public consultation in the summer of 2017, MVDC agreed to the ‘Modest Expansion of Existing Villages’ as one of the options to take forward as part of Future Mole Valley.

This option received generally positive feedback as a means of meeting localised housing needs and supporting community resilience, as well as making a small contribution to meeting the overall housing demand in Mole Valley.

Earlier in 2018, parish councils and village associations were invited to consider how their villages might accommodate a modest amount of new homes. At the same time landowners were invited to indicate where land might be available, suitable and viable for development. Responses to these invitations have been taken into account in developing development options.

Expansion Proposals

Each village has been reviewed to assess the scope for modest additions or expansion in one or more of the following ways:

Defining new or extending village boundaries

Village boundaries have been drawn to include compact, substantially developed areas. Boundaries exclude low density residential areas and isolated or loose knit groups of dwellings, even if they are on the edge of more compact development. There are some smaller villages in Mole Valley that do not exhibit any compact or substantially developed areas of development and therefore have no defined village boundary.

National planning policy advises that village boundaries should be defined using physical features that are readily recognisable and likely to be permanent. Revisions are proposed to realign settlement boundaries with defined physical features on the ground and have been incorporated in proposed changes to village boundaries.

Villages with defined boundaries are capable of accommodating ‘infilling’ development without detriment to their character or causing harm to the Green Belt and countryside. ‘Infilling’ is defined as the development of a small gap within an otherwise continuous built- up frontage, or the small-scale redevelopment of existing properties within such a frontage.

Insetting from the Green Belt / countryside

In the Green Belt, national planning policy guidance specifies that villages whose open character makes an important contribution to the openness of the Green Belt should be included in the Green Belt. In all other cases, villages should be inset (removed) from the Green Belt. Particularly important or special characteristics of a village can be protected through other means, for example a conservation area. This guidance has been taken into account in deciding whether land within a village boundary should be inset or continue to be washed over by the Green Belt or countryside.

On land within a village boundary which is also inset from the Green Belt / countryside, limited residential development is allowed in principle. ‘Limited residential development’ includes development constituting more than just infilling, including development in depth.

In some cases a village may exhibit varying characteristics that mean that within the village boundary some parts are inset and other parts continue to be washed over by the Green Belt or countryside designation.

Allocating Sites for Housing

Specific sites have been identified that could accommodate additional housing. In all cases allocated sites are within a village boundary. One advantage of allocating sites is the type and scale of development can be more closely defined through accompanying policies. There may also be opportunities to provide other forms of development or facilities needed by the village if justified and viable.

The detailed form of residential development on allocated sites has yet to be determined, but the size, type and tenure of houses will be informed by discussions with parish councils and village associations. The Council will seek a proportion of affordable housing in accordance national and local planning policy.

There may be more than one allocated housing site proposed in a village. In some cases these can be considered in combination or as alternative options.

Next Steps

The ideas for each village will be discussed with the respective parish council or village association. Our intention is to work with parish councils and village associations to incorporate as far as possible their aspirations and wishes for their communities, within the context of the wider planning objectives of MVDC and national planning policy.

It should be stressed that at this stage the individual proposals are presented for discussion purposes with parish councils and village associations. They may be subject to modification and for that reason it should not be assumed that they will appear as currently drafted when the Local Plan is published.

Wider public consultation will take place as part of the Preferred Options Local Plan in due course. If members of the public wish to comment on the ideas presented here, they should direct them to the relevant parish council or village association.

All published documents associated with the emerging Future Mole Valley Local Plan may be found at: If you wish to be kept informed of progress on the Plan, sign up to the Future Mole Valley mailing list at: