Emerging Layout for Ockley

Village Foundations have been working with Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) and Ockley Parish Council to best establish how the Land at Stane Street can come forward for development.  MVDC’s initial concerns related to the impact on the Conservation Area and also whether Friday Street could be used as the access point for any new development.

Through our technical work we have shown that Friday Street does not present a viable or safe access point for any further development along that road and therefore the creation of a new access point from Stane Street is the only option.  The benefit of this is that there may be the opportunity to create some traffic calming measures along the stretch of road through the centre of the village as it has been shown that average speeds are much higher than the posted speed limit.

Further this our built heritage consultants, Orion Heritage, have given us very useful advice on how any harm the proposed development may cause could be mitigated by careful masterplanning as the layout develops.

We have also carried out significant work on an ecological and landscape impacts any development may create and all of this has lead to the creation of the layout that can be seen below.

We would welcome any comments you may have on the layout or the development in general.  You can email your feedback to


Moving to the country ‘has become a medium-term trend’

Research carried by property search website Rightmove has found that city residents contacting estate agents to buy a home in a village rose by 126% in June & July 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, outperforming a 68% uplift from people in cities enquiring to towns

Rightmove established that this shift in more buyers looking to move outside cities began in April 2020 and is continuing, with the uplift in village enquiries most notable among people living in Liverpool, Edinburgh, Birmingham and London

Further to this whilst in some locations there are still more people looking to move within the city than outside of it, the majority of the proportion looking to stay in the city has dropped. This has most notably been seen in London, where in 2019 45% of Londoners were looking to move outside of London, but at the same point in 2020 this has risen to 54%.


Village Foundations comment:

There are many implications of this these findings and only time will tell if this is a longer term trend, or simply a coronavirus related spike.  In the short term this increase in demand may cause further house price increases that push already disproportionately expensive rural houses out of reach for local residents.  However, it may well also provide the much needed boost that rural services need to survive and therefore ensure their sustainability into the future, especially in light of the current challenges they face.

However, the most positive outcome of this will hopefully be that it encourages planners to readdress how rural areas should be viewed in terms of their ability to absorb careful and limited development, and that through continually looking to limit development they have contributed to the decline of rural areas.  If there is a demand for people to live in these areas then this should be taken advantage of to ensure that sympathetic, sustainable housing in rural areas can be provided in a way that does not cause damage to the environment or communities.  When this is coupled with the increasing trend of working from home and the governments commitment to providing robust broadband to all rural communities there is an opportunity to strengthen existing communities, and even build new ones.  All of this can be achieved without the overdevelopment of the countryside if a much longer term, joined up thinking approach is taken.

Housing for older people needs national strategy

The Communities and Local Government Committee has concluded that a national strategy for older people’s housing is needed to bring together and improve policy in this area.
The Committee calls on the Government to recognise the link between homes and health and social care in the forthcoming social care green paper. The Committee also recommends that the National Planning Policy Framework be amended to encourage the development of more housing for older people and that councils identify a target proportion of new housing to be developed for this purpose, as well as publishing a strategy which explains how they intend to meet the housing needs of older people in their area.

The CLG Committee’s report on Housing for Older People recommends that the wider availability of housing advice and information should be central to the strategy and the existing FirstStop Advice Service should be re-funded by the Government to provide an expanded national telephone advice service.

Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, said:

The right kind of housing can help people stay healthy and support them to live independently. This can help reduce the need for home or residential care, bringing real benefits to the individual and also relieving pressure on the health service. The green paper must consider the range of housing for older people, from mainstream and accessible homes to supported and extra care housing, as well as access to adaptations and repairs.

Village Foundations comment

The provision of housing for an ageing population is something that has long needed addressing. This is especially acute in rural areas where the average age in rural areas was 44.4 years in 2016, 5.5 years older than in urban areas (ONS 2016). Age appropriate design and housing can tackle both the requirement to increase housing supply but also support communities in rural areas by enabling resident to remain in the village.

The VF almshouse concept works by providing smaller homes that are more easily management by older people and provide a small amount of private garden space. In addition to this is a larger shared area of open space, often centred around a village green concept or a community orchard. Therefore, residents can benefit from both private gardens and larger open spaces, along with living in a community of similarly placed people.

Full details here: the DeZeen website.

Brick bungalows provide social housing for elderly residents

Inspired by the Almshouse tradition, this development of single storey dwellings in Barking, East London, shows how modern architecture is capable of interpreting a traditional building form. The regular rhythm of the chimneys and repeated elevation details work very well, and the surrounding landscaping is designed to provide meeting spaces for the elderly residents.

While the houses were built for the borough’s ageing population, the intention is that the scheme will have a knock-on effect, releasing larger council houses for families.

The combination of the pitched tiled roofs, chimneys, and bay windows is intended to reference typical suburban housing, while slight variations in interior layout give each household the opportunity for personalisation.

This demonstrates that thoughtful design can provide high-quality social housing on a budget, unlocking land and other properties at a time when accommodation is the biggest challenge facing all London boroughs.

The full article can be read on the DeZeen website.