Sandown Park Redevelopment Refused

17 May 2021

Planning and Environment, Property

The Secretary of State has refused permission for the Jockey Club to redevelop sections of Sandown Park Racecourse, together with the provision 318 residential units and a 150-bed hotel. The scheme was proposed to be entirely within the Surrey Green Belt.

The decision is of interest for the Secretary of State’s approach to viability, in the context of a capital-funded redevelopment project. At DL, 35, the Secretary of State agreed with his Inspector that it was not appropriate to take the cost of the redevelopment works as the benchmark land value. Accordingly, the Secretary of State accepted that the Jockey Club had failed to propose a policy-complaint level of affordable housing.

The Secretary of State also agreed with his Inspector that it was inappropriate to treat the capital generating elements of the scheme (i.e. the housing and the hotel) as “appropriate facilities … for outdoor sport”, falling with paragraph 145(b) NPPF, simply because they were designed to fund the redevelopment of an outdoor sports facility (at DL, 15). Instead, the Secretary of State found that the appropriate way to deal with a multi-site proposal was:
“… to look at the sites individually first, before drawing higher level conclusions about the scheme as a whole.” (DL,16).

The appeal was heard virtually by MS Teams over three weeks, involving nine expert witnesses.

Dr Ashley Bowes acted for the successful Local Planning Authority, instructed by Agnes Khrofah of Elmbridge Borough Council.

A copy of the decision letter and accompanying Inspector’s Report can be found here.