Fighting to save the green fields of Shere, Gomshall, Peaslake and Abinger.

“This land is yours, and you can make it what you will. If you want to ruin our Surrey fields and woodlands it is easy to do, very easy, and if you want to save them they can be saved. Look into your hearts and look into the past, and remember that all this beauty is a gift which you can never replace, which no money can buy, which no cleverness can refashion. You can make a town, you can make a desert, you can even make a garden; but you can never, never make the country, because it was made by Time”.

EM Forster – “The Abinger Pageant” (1934)

The Surrey Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Set within it are the villages of Gomshall, Abinger, Peaslake, Holmbury St Mary, Farley Green and Shere.

Shere has been described as one of the most beautiful villages in England. Our villages are enjoyed not only by our residents. People from all over the South East use this area as a playground, for cycling, rambling, walking and to get out of the city – and tourists come here from all over the world.

There are proposals to extend the existing boundaries of the villages to include a wider margin. So not only any open space in the existing village, but some of the land adjacent to it would be available for building since these open spaces would be in the new “village” boundary.  There are risks to other villages in the area too, many of which will be expanded hugely, and there are plans to site new towns not very far away in the borough.

The Local Plan may also allow some building in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in open country outside the villages – so if you love any of this countryside this may affect you. This is not just affordable homes for local people (although “rural exception sites” are dressed up as this – these include homes for sale to make the proposal “viable”, and anyone on the Guildford Borough Council housing list).

This would add new homes that our small, rural villages cannot sustain. Our roads, our schools, our doctors and our drains could not cope. The character of the villages – and the surrounding countryside – could change forever.

This group has been set up by local residents who are trying to protect these glorious landscapes. This is not only for those who love the villages now, here and throughout the world, but for future generations.

We have called ourselves Save Shere, Gomshall, Peaslake and Abinger because otherwise the name would be too long – but we are concerned for the plans regarding the whole Parish of Shere, all its villages and all its countryside. That includes Farley Green, Holmbury St Mary, Burrows Cross and the hamlets and the countryside between them, Anyone can support us. We just want to know that you care about our beautiful countryside.

Below is a list of links for other groups in Surrey who are campaigning to protect the Green Belt.















http://covop.org Community Voice on Planning – an umbrella organisation of other greenbelt groups around the country who are facing the same issues – both Save Shere Gomshall & Abinger and Guildford Greenbelt Group are affiliated to this

http://www.sheredelight.com/A website dedicated to Shere village

http://planninglawblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/inappropriate-development-in-green-belt.html – legal notes – planning law blog

http://guildfordplan.com/–  useful, but note this is NOT the official Guildford Borough Council website but is the blog of the Guildford Society/Guildford Vision Group

http://www.gefweb.org.ukGuildford Environmental Forum website

http://www.shereparishcouncil.gov.ukShere Parish Council official website

http://guildfordlocalplan.info the official Guildford Borough Local Plan website – sometime the info here is limited so we have tried to give more info elsewhere


7 thoughts on “About

  1. It is worth having a look at the Bookham and Leatherhead website too as they are also fighting the good fight. Their web address is http://www.handsoffthegreenbelt.com. Below is a quote from their site which I found particularly illuminating:

    “In July 2013, the Department for Communities and Local Government recognised that in some cases the Green Belt has not always been given sufficient protection. The Secretary of State made it clear that the single issue of unmet demand is unlikely to outweigh the harm to the Green Belt and constitute the “very special circumstances” to justify Green Belt development.”

    I would argue that this is more significant than whether a village is supposedly ‘closed’ or ‘open’ if indeed anyone understands the rationale behind such wording!

    Sheilagh Menzies

  2. As the son of a one time Clerk to Shere Parish Council (1950s), I am appalled at the GBC proposals for Shere and Gomshall. I am now Vice Chairman of Chapel-en-le-Frith Parish Council, an area within High Peak which was singled out for special treatment as a trial for a production of a neighbourhood plan -not Local Plan,-as permitted under the localism act. We are not a planning authority. Half the geographic area of the Parish is within the Peak District National Park. As our neighbourhood plan was expected to be completed before the High Peak Borough Councils Local Plan, developers, who had been quietly buying up surrounding farmland over the years, have pounced and approx. 800 dwellings have received planning permission within the Parish in the last two years, over twice the total amount that will be required for the whole of the Borough in the same period. Our neighbourhood plan fortunately very shortly goes to examination stage, when it becomes a material consideration in planning terms, and we then expect the rest of the borough to get the pressure until the local plan for the whole borough becomes operational sometime next year. Details on our web site http://www.chapel-en-le-frithparisgcouncil.gov.uk
    Speed is of the essence, both in your responses- which seem to have been very adequately covered, and in ensuring no avoidable delay in getting a plan agreed and approved. I wish you well,

    John H Brook

  3. A developer intends to apply for planning permission to build semi-detached and terraced houses on the awful industrial mess that is Kings Yard, Gomshall. Good news, perhaps, on initial consideration, but extremely bad news for the field behind, which separates Gomshall from Shere village.

    The developer is planning to turn the field into gardens, or, in effect, allotments, according to the age range of the house purchasers, because there will not be enough utility space surrounding the proposed number of properties if he is to maximise development potential at Kings Yard. The proposed properties are valued by Terracotta, house agents at around £650,000.

    A 12 month option to purchase has just been completed, subject to PP, however, the developer has purported to a close-by local resident, that he is the new owner of KIngs Yard and the field in front of her home, but this is untrue, according to Terracotta.

    If agricultural planning restrictions are successfully removed, it’s easier to gain PP on a garden than upon agricultural land within green belt, a conservation area or an AONB.



    Bryan Gibson.

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