Written by IainB
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Thursday, 22 December 2011

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Dryaton Stately Home near Dorking, one of the sites that will become flats

Helmont Homes have been given the go ahead to build on several sites that were previously declared as being of historical significance, such as the Edwardian Folly on the outskirts of Dorking.

"Green belt land is so much cheaper than all this brown site nonsense," said Helmont's owner Terrence Holmes. "They're all inner-city and prohibitively expensive. In addition, when you do build on them, nobody wants to live there. They prefer the quiet serenity of the green belt land."

The new housing estates will be built over the next five years and will require the destruction of the existing structures to clear the way for three and four bed apartment complexes and a range of executive detached homes.

"Each of the sites has massive potential for house building," said Holmes. "David Cameron has already bought one of the plots off plan, and has given his own enthusiastic go ahead for the developments."

Campaigners for the protection of England's heritage are up in arms.

"Not only will Helmont be destroying part of England's heritage," said Teresa Field, ecologist for English Heritage, "they will be replacing them with bland boxes that will not stand the test of time."

Various groups are planning blocking the building through the courts, but aren't hopeful of success.

"We're struggling to find a judge that isn't interested in buying one of these new houses," said Field. "It smacks of corruption."

Helmont Homes are planning on rubbing salt in the wounds of the heritage protection league by launching a huge advertising campaign with the strap line: "Helmont Homes, building on English history."

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