Residents in Epsom are voicing their disapproval after plans for a new development on a conservation area were submitted to the council (EEBC) recently.

The proposal seeks to build 14 flats and and "one three to three and a half storey terrace comprising nice three-bedroom houses".

To do this requires the destruction of "two dwellings and one outbuilding", plus more than 20 trees in the area, according to the accompanying documents on the EEBC website.

Your Local Guardian: Drawing of proposed development at Clayhill Green. Image via EEBCDrawing of proposed development at Clayhill Green. Image via EEBC

The planning proposal was submitted on January 17 and will be reviewed by the council's planning committee.

A group of residents have banded together to oppose the plans under the title Friends of Clayhill Green.

A spokesperson for the group described their opposition to the proposals in conversation with the Comet:

"It's in a conservation area and I live adjacent to that.

"Why do they think they can put all these houses and flats here? It's maddening.

"We understand the need for housing and that the council need to meet their quota, but this seems to contradict with a lot of council policies," the spokesperson said.

Your Local Guardian: Clayhill Green in Epsom. Image: Google MapsClayhill Green in Epsom. Image: Google Maps

The campaign will likely have considerable support from other residents in the area.

On the EEBC website, the planning application's comments section has already garnered over 140 comments expressing their objections to the plans.

"I wish to express my dismay at this proposed development.

"It is totally inappropriate for its setting, surrounded as it is by traditional, mellowed architecture in a beautiful area of Epsom.

"l am also very concerned at the loss of twenty trees," Epsom resident Elaine Raven commented.

Jodie Brown meanwhile described the plan as "totally out of character, in a conservation area and will place even more strain on already inadequate public services."

Your Local Guardian: Screenshot of planning document showing the proposed destruction of trees (circled red) included in the plans. Image via EEBCScreenshot of planning document showing the proposed destruction of trees (circled red) included in the plans. Image via EEBC

The Friends of Clayhill Green said they were reaching out to their parliamentary representatives and seemingly with some success.

Avoiding explicit opposition, Epsom and Ewell MP Chris Grayling suggested on Tuesday (February 11) he could oppose the proposals on the grounds they interfered with a conservation area.

Responding to a request from the Comet, he said:

"It’s vital that the provision of new homes in the area is done in a way that protects the historic areas of Epsom.

"There is no point in having conservation areas if we don’t conserve them."

That sentiment echoed the central point now being made by the campaign group hoping to halt the plans:

"What's the point in having a conservation area if you're going to knock down historic properties and trees?"

"It doesn't seem to fit in with anything that the council have listed in their various policies," the Friends of Clayhill spokesperson said.

Your Local Guardian: Image via EEBCImage via EEBC

They referenced EEBC's recent statements on their forthcoming Local Plan for future development in the borough.

Previously agreed principles that will inform the plan include the "desirability maintaining an area’s prevailing character and setting" and an emphasis on protecting green spaces in the borough.

EEBC declared a climate emergency recently and last month announced its ambition to become carbon neutral by 2035.

A spokesperson for EEBC confirmed that the proposals at Clayhill Green would impact a conservation area and described the proposal as a "major" planning application that required serious consideration:

"This is considered a major planning application and will be referred to the Planning Committee – at this time it is estimated that this will be considered at committee in late spring," the spokesperson said.