Cobham Conservation and Heritage Trust

Painshill planning application for new car park

Whilst we are great supporters of Painshill, their planning application to create a new car park on the Goldstone Field sadly left us with no alternative a few months ago but to object because we felt that inadequate provision was being made for existing footpath users to enjoy the area and that a large fenced off carpark would destroy the openness of the field. The application lacked clarity and it was difficult to assess all the parameters of the new car park, from the plans submitted. Also, we felt it was unnecessary for there to be a blanket request for late closing of the car park till 1am.

The Goldstone Field was donated to Elmbridge BC over 50 years ago by Miss Goldstone. A number of the objections to the application referred to a covenant on the land. Although this is not per se a planning matter, we, nevertheless, carried out a freedom of information request on Elmbridge BC and found that there was a covenant that the land should not be used other than as a public open space. Although the covenant was renewed early in this century, it would now be a legal matter as to whether it is still enforceable. Nevertheless, we want to ensure that, even as a car park, the area is left as open as possible with full access to walkers and with a natural surface looking not dissimilar to the new track through the Leg o’Mutton Field.

We recently met two trustees of Painshill and I’m pleased to say our concerns have been taken on board. The Chief Executive has published a statement covering our concerns and those of others. This is shown below. Painshill are submitting a copy of this to the planners.

There are still one or two areas where we believe further improvements can be made but, subject to these, we feel we are getting close to the stage where we will not need any longer to object to the planning application.

Whilst everyone, including ourselves, would prefer the Goldstone Field remain as it is today, if this were to result in Painshill Trust becoming unsustainable because it cannot afford the payment sought by the agents of the owners of its existing car park, the community will suffer.

After you have read Painshill’s statement and this note, I hope you will agree with our approach.

Painshill logo9th September 2020

Painshill Park Trust Car Park Update

As you will be aware Painshill Park Trust (PPT) has applied to Elmbridge Borough Council (EBC) to build a new car park on the area known as the Goldstone Field for the use of visitors to Painshill.

From reading the various representations made to EBC it has become very clear to us that there is some confusion around our application.  After taking on board the concerns of local residents in this letter I would like to deal with the points raised.

Timing –.  The application was submitted to EBC in October 2019 and since then we have submitted various other documents requested by EBC, all are available on EBC planning website.  In 2018 (prior to me joining PPT as Director) when members of our Board of Trustees met with representatives of local interest groups to discuss our plan, there was support from these groups.  Local councillors were also consulted. After submitting the application, I met with a number of local residents over the winter to talk through aspects of the application that were concerning them. Some of our trustees have continued to be in contact with officers of both the Cobham Conservation & Heritage Trust and the Cobham & Downside Residents Association to deal with their concerns and, more recently, two of our trustees held a constructive meeting with Sir Gerry Acher, Chairman of the CCHT.

Need – In short Painshill needs a new car park in order to survive and continue operating.  You will all be aware that PPT is an independent charity and one which is in a constant battle to become financially sustainable.  Representatives of our landlords for the current car park have indicated new terms for extending our lease but these would not be affordable to PPT.  I am sure it goes without saying the PPT needs a car park for our visitors in order to remain open.

Public Footpaths – On the Goldstone Field there are public footpaths. Our proposal would see a series of footpaths pass around the edge of the car park, one on the boundary with adjoining properties and one alongside the River Mole, a footpath would link these two footpaths running through the middle of the car park.  These footpaths would of course be open at all hours.  There is no intention of ours to use high fences to block in these footpaths, we would simply use low level wooden fences or planting to show the footpath and the car path.  This would allow views out across the car park and beyond.  Therefore access to this area is not restricted from what there is currently in terms of public footpaths.

Hours of Use - In the management plan submitted to EBC we have proposed that the standard hours would be 7am to 10pm and then up to x60 uses per year to 1am to allow for our events business. The 10pm closure allows for our in house events that many of you enjoy such as Christmas, Painshill Summer Lates. Music in the Grotto and outdoor theatre to give some examples.

Management of Car Park - On normal days the car park would be opened and closed by a member of PPT staff (as it is currently). On days when there we are operating to 1am for an event there would be stewards in the car park to manage guests and guests for the event would use the parking spaces away from nearby residents to reduce any disturbance. The new car park would have low level lighting (when operating) and CCTV to make the area safe.

Events Parking – Currently for evening events PPT parks guests cars within the landscape (on the meadow by the Tea Room).  Guests enter/exit via the Painshill trade gate.  It is imperative that we move event parking into the main car park for safety reasons.  The trade entrance is the main vehicular entrance into Painshill estate, with guests arriving either in their own cars or in taxis this causes the trade gate and entrance road (single track) to become blocked and therefore prevents emergency vehicles from entering Painshill. Another concern is that this current parking is within the Grade One Landscape causing damage and compaction to the estate.

Future of Current Car Park - The current planning permission only allows use of the area to be the car park for Painshill, if it ceases to be this the planning permission ends.  As per the planning permission and our current lease, we would reinstate the land to its original state.

I hope that the above helps to calm concerns about the car park application but if anyone would like to discuss further then please do get in touch with me.

With best wishes


Paul Griffiths
Director of Painshill

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