Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
New proposals to include Chipstead, Farthing Downs and Happy Valley.
Areas of Natural Beauty represent some of England’s most treasured landscapes, whose unique qualities are safeguarded in the national interest.
The present area covers over a quarter of the county of Surrey - the hills stretch across the North Downs from Farnham in the west to Oxted in the east, also including the Greensand Hills which rise in Haslemere and stretch east to Leith Hill, the highest point in South East England.
Natural England advises the Government on the natural environment in England. They have launched a consultation on proposals that could see parts of Chipstead, Caterham Woods, Woldingham Valley, Limpsfield and Godstone Hills into the expanded Surrey Hills AONB. This proposed expansion would include Farthing Downs and Happy Valley in Coulsdon, an area I've had the honour to represent as a local councillor since 2014.
Farthing Downs and Happy Valley are beauty spots managed by the City of London Corporation and Croydon Council. They are popular for their rich wildlife and countryside walks and are already protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and notified as a National Nature Reserve. If they became part of the Surrey Hills Area of Natural Beauty, however, they would be further conserved in law by the “CROW Act” – the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
Why are Natural England proposing this now?
We are very fortunate to have some fantastic landscapes in the south east of England, many of which are already legally protected as National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. For some years there has been discussion about whether the Surrey Hills, a chain of varied uploand landscapes, should be reviewed in relation to their outstanding naturaly beauty.
Natural England has now produced proposals for extending the existing Surrey Hills AONB and this consultation seeks our views about these proposals.
They are keen to hear from everyone who has an interest in the area and cares about its future. If you would like to have your say, please spend some time reading the consultation document and sending Natural England your views before the closing date of 13th June.
Banstead, Chipstead and Coulsdon needs you!
We need as many local people as possible to write in support of the proposals.
The full plans from Natural England can be read on their website:
- Chipstead is page 28-29
- Happy Valley is page 30-31.
If you'd like to look at the maps and read the technical detail behind the plans, you can visit the consultation website.
To fill in a simple form and pledge your support, click this link to get to the consultation website.
The consultation closes on the 13th June 2023
- For more information e-mail SurreyHillsAONBboundaryreview@naturalengland.org.uk
- Or phone 0208 0265774. If no one is available, please leave a message and contact details and they will return your call.
- A public meeting will be at held on Saturday 20th May – 10:00-15:00 at Soper Hall in Caterham.
Natural England are hosting a series of drop-in sessions across the Surrey Hills so you can find out more about their Surrey Hills Boundary Extension project and public consultation. The dates are as follows –
Tuesday 18th April – 10:00-15:00 daytime drop in – St John’s Centre, Guildford
Thursday 27th April – 18:00-20:30 evening session – Chichester Hall, Witley
Saturday 20th May – 10:00-15:00 daytime drop in – Soper Hall, Caterham