Garden centre bids to increase parking spaces in green belt land

A garden centre close to Sanderstead is planning to increase the size of its car park to meet ‘growing demand’.

Knights Garden Centre, on Limpsfield Road, has submitted a planning application to Tandridge District Council asking for its 168 space car park to be increased to 196 spaces.

The centre has made the submission due to the growing demand of customers in the last year, which sees many struggling to find a space and have no alternative but to park elsewhere.

The proposal is to develop the grass area between the main car park and Limpsfield Road, which will be made into an overflow car park.

?The centre previously had plans for an overflow car park in July but withdrew because it was to be refused planning consent, with one of the main reasons being it would result in a change of the land in the green belt.

Although the land the centre seeks to develop on is in the green belt, its planning statement stated they could be entitled to develop due to ‘very special circumstances’.

The statement said: “The site lies in the green belt where ‘inappropriate’ development will be refused unless very special circumstances apply.?Very special circumstances are many and varied covering physical and ‘non physical issues’. Knights Garden Centre is a successful garden centre employing 63 staff.

“It provides both a local shopping facility (which discourages local residents from travelling further afield to other garden centres) and a community facility (the coffee shop is a very popular meeting place and the annual dog show is also very popular).

“The garden centre car park runs out of capacity at peak times leaving visitors to park along the garden centre access road and on to Limpsfield Road.

“The proposed extension to the car park will enable customer vehicles to be safely accommodated at peak times and will allow the garden centre to continue to operate as a successful local business.”

The garden centre was established 22 years ago and recently underwent major development to construct a coffee shop to boost trade.?The centre will have to relocate the security gates if approved, to enable the car park extension to fall with the garden centre security fence line.

Knights Garden Centre did not wish to comment.

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