The Bentley Action Group was formed in December 2018 in response to the publication by EHDC of its Local Plan Consultation which included a proposed new settlement at Northbrook Park in the Parish of Bentley. The new settlement is for 800+ houses, plus employment, retail and communal facilities within 1 mile of the Bentley Recreation Ground.  


The Bentley Action Group is led by Bruce Powell and Richard Leonard, both longstanding Bentley villagers, and is supported by a wide range of concerned members of the local communities within the Northern Wey valley which will be directly and indirectly affected by the new settlement, eg Bentley, Binsted, Froyle and Dippenhall.

Bruce Powell’s family moved to Bentley in 1952. Three generations of the Powell family currently live in Bentley. Bruce was trained as a chartered accountant and has worked professionally in the IT and Medical Devices industries. He was a Trustee at Treloars for 25 years and is currently Chairman of two Multi Academy Trusts. In Bentley he has served as chairman of the Fete Committee and internal auditor to the Parish Council.  Lizzie Powell has served as chair of the Bentley Flower Show and as chair of Bentley Primary School.

Richard Leonard’s family moved to Bentley in 1983. All 3 of his children attended Bentley school where Catherine Leonard was a teacher for 16 years.  Richard Leonard was trained as a chartered accountant and served as a professional accountant during his working life. He is now retired. Richard served on the Fete Committee for 20 years and on the Parish Council for 26 years, including recently as its chairman.


The Bentley Action Group has the principal purpose of opposing the proposed new settlement at Northbrook Park, which it believes to be a wholly inappropriate housing allocation. It is also prepared to oppose any other major inappropriate housing allocation in and around the Parish of Bentley. Northbrook is considered inappropriate because of its sheer scale, its location in the beautiful Northern Wey valley and the implied threat of further unsustainable ribbon development along the A31 which would threaten the rural way of life.  It is recognised that opposition to Northbrook could be a long-term project given the protracted, multi-stage nature of the planning process. 


The Bentley Action Group commissions professional advice from experts such as Carter Jonas, planning consultants, who submitted an Objection on its behalf to the EHDC Local Plan Consultation. It has also commissioned a QC's Opinion from Mr Rupert Warren QC, from the leading Landmark Chambers. Armed with the relevant professional guidance Bentley Action Group supporters seek to inform local opinion, raise awareness and garner support for opposition. It lobbies the local Parish Councils and EHDC planning officers and councillors.


To date the Bentley Action Group has raised money from its supporters by making direct approaches for donations. With the launch of the website it is planned to broaden the network of supporters more widely.  It has so far received more than 45 donations from members of the local community.  No single donation accounts for greater than 5% of the total funds raised.