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Caterham community forces planning re-write

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A local authority has given assent for a redevelopment of the disused Caterham Barracks in Surrey which far exceeds the amount of accommodation included in its structure plan, as the result of a community-planning exercise. The original structure plan was also drawn up as the result of a consultation exercise. Architect John Thompson said: 'It is an example of how consultation can come up with the wrong answer.'

The proposal he produced for developer Linden Homes includes 348 homes, nearly 30 per cent of which is affordable housing. This compares to fewer than 100 homes in the original plan. The new proposal has extensive community facilities, ranging from a gymnasium to an urban farm, and opens up an area that was previously closed to the public. Thompson estimates the community asset to be worth £6 million and that the proposal will generate 800 jobs.

The planning approval has been forwarded to the detr, which is expected to decide whether or not to call it in for a public enquiry by July.

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