Case study

Headley Court

Mayer Brown were appointed by Angle Property (Headley Court) LLP to provide transport planning advice to support an ambitious and exciting mixed-use residential and care scheme based in Headley Court, a former Ministry of Defence rehabilitation hospital facility in Mole Valley, Surrey. Much of the site comprises Grade II listed historic buildings, presenting a unique challenge in ensuring the scheme that came forward could preserve the site’s history and reflect the local area, whilst also making effective use of this attractive but defunct brownfield site for new development.

Transport Planning
Infrastructure Design
Environmental Assessment

Details

Transport planning challenge of a site comprising Grade II listed historic buildings

Mayer Brown, working closely with the client and their architect TP Bennett, initially assisted in helping masterplan the site and were involved in extensive pre-application discussions with the highway authority, Surrey County Council (SCC). The initial proposals for the site comprised 100 residential units in the west of the site, and a care home development to occupy the historic Headley Court listed buildings in the east of the site.

Headley Court is located in rural Headley near Leatherhead, introducing a number of highways challenges to the development. The existing bus provision for the area is limited as is the footway and cycleway provision, and there were concerns from the local community about traffic congestion at the nearby Headley Road junction with the A24. Mayer Brown engaged extensively with SCC’s highways department and local residents in order to address these concerns.

The development was to come forward as two separate applications, one for the west side of the site (residential development) and one for the east side of the site (care home development). However around the time of the submission of the planning application for the west side of the site, the development was complicated further by the COVID-19 crisis, as the site was brought back into use as a temporary hospital to help patients recover after treatment.

In addition to the highways planning work, Mayer Brown’s surveying teams led by Gary Cawthorn undertook topographical and measured building surveys at Headley Court. Tree surveys and a roof plan survey were also undertaken.

Following discussions with the local authority Mole Valley District Council, SCC Highways and local residents, a reduced-size version of the first phase of the development, comprising 70 residential units, was submitted to Mole Valley District Council for planning approval. The proposals received a unanimous decision to grant planning consent for the Phase 1 scheme.

Through detailed consultation with Surrey County Council, it was agreed that a new Hopper Demand Response Bus Service (DBRS) between the site and Leatherhead Rail Station would be introduced alongside the development of the residential units. This service would operate on a fixed timetable during peak hours and act as a DBRS facility during the day. In addition to serving the development site, the bus would also serve the local village, community and a number of local schools.

The development also seeks to significantly improve many of the public footpaths, cycleways and bridleways in the vicinity of the site. This offers benefits not only to the residents of the site and local area, but also the ramblers, walkers, cyclists and horse-riders travelling through the Surrey countryside. Each improved link was discussed and agreed with Surrey County Council in order to ensure they would tie into the existing network well and reflect local rural conditions.

Mayer Brown have also proposed a number of improvements to the Headley Road / A24 junction; a key concern of local residents.

As well as the items above, Mayer Brown’s highways planning advice has informed the scale of the proposals, the internal highways layouts, and parking arrangements, in addition to preparing an extensive Travel Plan for the development. Mayer Brown also provided Air Quality Assessment services on this project.

Temporary use of the site as the NHS Seacole Centre during the COVID-19 crisis

By kind permission of the owner, the former defence medical rehabilitation centre has been used as the NHS Seacole Centre during the COVID-19 crisis - named after Mary Seacole, a pioneering nurse who set up the British Hotel behind front lines of the Crimean War to help sick and injured soldiers recover. By honouring the British-Jamaican nurse, the hospital’s name also serves as a tribute to the NHS’ BAME staff who are working on the frontline of the UK’s fight against COVID-19. The former military hospital function of the site has been relocated to a purpose-built facility in Leicestershire.

The proposals for the east side of the site have recently been revised to reflect a mixed care home and hospital use, reflecting the site’s use as a COVID-19 facility, however the proposals remain under development and are subject to further changes.


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