Landscape and Heritage

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Impact on views from  Hascombe Hill – part of the Surrey Hills Area of Natural Beauty (AONB)

The proposed drill site is 1,650 m south of Hascombe Hill.  A rig of 37m height and tall security lights will be visible from Hascombe Hill in the Surrey Hills AONB.

Hascombe Hill is the site of an Iron Age hill fort; at a height of 644 ft and with a network of footpaths (FP533 & 279), it is a popular place for visiting walkers and locals alike. At present there is a wonderful 180 deg vista as far south as the South Downs, west to Blackdown Hill near Haslemere and east to the Surrey Hills.

The purpose of an AONB designation is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the designated landscape. There are two secondary aims: meeting the need for quiet enjoyment of the countryside and having regard for the interests of those who live and work there. This quiet enjoyment will be compromised with a drill site 1.6 kilometres away. Whilst this planning application is for a ‘temporary’ exploratory licence, this will last up to 3 years with the prospect of a permanent planning consent being sought lasting 25 years.

It’s important to ensure the special beauty of Hascombe Hill and its surrounding countryside is protected and preserved for the public to enjoy.

Impact on Area of Great Landscape Value

The access route across the fields to the site for all the traffic and HGV tankers, with 4.75 m high security fencing, will be inappropriate for an Area of Great Landscape Value.

Impact on Bridleway

This bridleway runs for approx 500m along the perimeter of the open field where the proposed drill site is to be situated. It is a well-used bridleway going from Dunsfold village green, to High Loxley Lane and then through fields and woodland to Cranleigh, via Stovolds Hill. It’s used regularly by riders and walkers, who enjoy the pleasant views and peaceful surroundings. If UKOG’s application for drilling is successful, this path will lose all its rural tranquility; the view will be of a semi-industrial site with high security fencing, machinery, HGVs, security lights, noise and air pollution. Not only will our view be compromised, but the chances of watching birds and wildlife will be seriously harmed. The area has been historically farmed for generations, so has given opportunities to spot native lizards, grass snakes, bats, birds of prey and many other species.

The overall aspects of this proposal to drill are totally unacceptable in such a peaceful part of the Weald. We should be preserving our natural landscape rather than despoiling it for the sake of fossil fuel extraction.

Archaeology

The proposed access runs through a recognised archaeological site. 

Listed Buildings

The rig, which is 37m high, will introduce an industrial element and have a detrimental impact on the listed buildings in the immediate area, including High Loxley Farmhouse and its listed barns.