What Next For Orchard Farm?

The proposal to build affordable homes at Orchard Farm has been rejected on appeal and developers English Rural Housing Association must now decide whether to re-apply with a scaled-down application or sell the site on.

The ERHA had applied to demolish the existing farmhouse and outbuildings and build 12 affordable homes together with five larger market-price houses and provision of open space for village use.

After much local consultation, and with concerns expressed over the size of the proposed development and drainage issues, the application went before Waverley Borough Council in May last year where members voted to reject the scheme.

The nine-acre site between Petworth Road and Wormley Lane is within the Green Belt and the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Waverley councillors said that no special circumstances existed in the application to outweigh the harm to the Green Belt and the AONB.

After considering the outcome for several months, ERHA decided to lodge an appeal to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate. This appeal has now been considered and dismissed, upholding the original decision by Waverley Borough Councillors.

Sheila Holden, the inspector appointed by the Secretary of State to consider the appeal, said in her ruling: “Notwithstanding the continued need to provide affordable homes, the supply of housing land is not a factor weighing in this scheme’s favour”, adding that the proposal would be an “inappropriate development within the Green Belt”.

She accepted that there would be “very significant benefits arising from the provision of 12 units of affordable housing and limited benefits associated with the proposed public open space.”

But she concluded: “However, these benefits do not clearly outweigh the harm by reason of inappropriateness and the other harms I have identified.  The very special circumstances needed to justify the scheme do not, therefore, exist.”

The ERHA, which is a registered provider of social housing in rural areas, has not commented on what it will do next. It bought the site on the open market and had hoped that the provision of market-price houses in the scheme would help pay for the affordable homes, which would have been available for rent or shared ownership at below market costs.

It may return with a smaller scale development of affordable homes only as the inspector’s ruling seems to indicate that market price properties are unacceptable and do not meet the criteria for exempting the site from Green Belt and AONB restrictions.

Or it could consider putting the land, together with the existing farmhouse, back on the open market.

Hambledon Parish Council remains committed to attempting to find suitable sites for affordable housing in the village in accordance with wishes expressed by residents and contained within the published Parish Plan.

 

Orchard Farm Planning Application Refused

Waverley Borough councillors have rejected a planning application to build 17 houses – 12 of them designated as “affordable” – at Orchard Farm, Hambledon.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the council’s Central Area Planning Committee on Wednesday evening (May 17).

The application had been submitted by the English Rural Housing Association (ERHA) which had proposed a mixed development of 12 affordable homes, together with five market-price properties to help finance the project.

This followed ERHA’s purchase of the nine-acre Orchard Farm site between Wormley Lane and Petworth Road, Hambledon, in 2014.
Orchard Farm name

Hambledon Parish Council has a long-standing commitment to provide more affordable housing for local people. However, the proposed development, on land within the Green Belt and the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty raised many issues. Drainage and its proximity to Listed Lutyens buildings were among other concerns.

The parish council initiated widespread consultation including public meetings. Although there was general support from the wider village there were many concerns expressed by those living close to the site.

The decision on whether to approve or reject the application is the responsibility of the local planning authority, Waverley Borough Council. Its officers had recommended approval of the scheme, subject to a raft of conditions.

However, after listening to officers and several other presentations, councillors decided overwhelmingly to reject the recommendation. They resolved that permission be refused for the following reasons, as published on the Waverley council website:

  1. No very special circumstances exist to outweigh the harm to the Green Belt, contrary to Policy C1 of the Waverley Borough Local Plan.
  1. No very special circumstances exist to outweigh the harm to the AONB, contrary to Policy C3 of the Waverley Borough Local Plan.
  1. The less than substantial harm to the setting of the Grade I Listed Building is not outweighed by public benefits. Therefore the proposal would conflict with Policy HE3 of the Waverley Borough Local Plan, and guidance contained in the NPPF.
  1. The applicant has failed to enter into a legal agreement to secure the provision of affordable housing within the meaning of the NPPF, appropriate to meet Waverley Borough Council’s housing need. The proposal would therefore fail to create a sustainable, inclusive and mixed community, contrary to the requirements of paragraph 50 of the NPPF. The applicant has also failed to enter into a s.278 agreement.

 

 

Orchard Farm Planning Application – Waverley To Decide

The planning application submitted by English Rural Housing Association to build 17 affordable and market price homes at Orchard Farm is expected to be considered by Waverley Borough Council next month.

ERHA is seeking permission to build 12 affordable houses – which would comprise a mix of shared ownership and rental properties – and five open market houses on the site at Lane End between Wormley Lane and Petworth Road. The site is within the Green Belt and in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Waverley must decide if the site meets the criteria to be regarded as a “rural exception site”, a policy which allows for limited development on Green Belt land.

Although Hambledon Parish Council, which has consulted widely on the proposal, continues to support the provision of affordable housing in the village, it has been unable to support the ERHA application for the following reasons:

  • The development is not small in scale;
  • It is not certain that it would prioritise people with strong Hambledon connections;
  • There are issues with drainage;
  • Traffic dangers are inadequately addressed;
  • The appropriateness of locating a development of this nature on this particular site;
  • Management and responsibility for the Open Space.

Surrey County Council has also recommended that Waverley refuse the application, expressing concerns over drainage issues. The Surrey Hills Board and the Campaign to Protect Rural England are among other bodies and organisations objecting to the scheme.

Comments on the application, including those by local residents, can be found by following this link

http://plandocs.waverley.gov.uk/Planning/lg/dialog.page?org.apache.shale.dialog.DIALOG_NAME=gfplanningsearc h&Param=lg.Planning&SDescription=WA/2016/1644&viewdocs=true

A decision on the application will be made by Waverley Borough councillors. A target date of November 10th has been given, but this may not be met.

 

 

IMPORTANT MEETING TO HEAR VIEWS ON NEW HOMES FOR VILLAGE

The English Rural Housing Association planning application has finally been submitted seeking permission to build 17 affordable and market price homes on the Orchard Farm site and it is important to hear the views of villagers before the Parish Council considers the issue.

This is a reminder that a meeting is to be held this Tuesday (September 13) at the Village Hall at 8pm and it is hoped that as many people as possible will attend so that opinions from across the parish can be heard.

The Parish Council held one open meeting when the ERHA first made its proposals known after acquiring the Wormley Lane/Petworth Road site in 2014.  Now that a planning application for 12 affordable and five market price houses has been submitted to Waverley Borough Council the latest meeting is to hear from villagers before the Parish Council comments on the application.

The application can be found by clicking here.

 

Orchard Farm name

MORE HOMES…NO BUSES?

new bus stops 003 - Copy

Hambledon residents have until this weekend to write in support of the village’s threatened bus service, the 503. The consultation period ends on Monday (March 14th) at 9am.

Surrey County Council, which subsidises the 503 and other rural bus routes, wants to hear the views of villagers before making a final decision on the fate of the service. It is reviewing all bus routes in the county as it looks to make cuts to its budget.

Details of the Local Transport Review can be found at https://www.surreysays.co.uk/e-i-directorate-programme-group/ltr

Hambledon Parish Council strongly opposes the proposal to axe the 503. It is asking Surrey County Council to reconsider the issue and perhaps look to amalgamate the service with the 523 Milford Hospital service, which is also under threat. With more than 100 new homes being built beside the hospital, and a proposal to build affordable homes at Lane End, Hambledon, the council believes Surrey County Council should examine how to better integrate the service before making a final decision.

Here is Hambledon Parish Council’s submission to the Surrey County Council review.

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AFFORDABLE HOUSING – Dates and Developments

WRITTEN BY HAMBLEDON PARISH COUNCIL | 18 DECEMBER 2014 

Most residents will be aware of a proposal by the English Rural Housing Association to build 17 homes – 12 designated as affordable – on land at Orchard Farm, off Wormley Lane (see previous news items).

The village will have a chance to see the ERHA plans when it holds an exhibition of them at the Village Hall between 3pm and 8pm on Thursday January 15.

The Parish Council will then hold an open meeting at the hall on Wednesday January 28, starting at 8 pm, which will provide an opportunity for the whole village to debate the proposals.

ERHA has not yet submitted a planning application to Waverley Borough Council, which will determine the issue, and will not do so until after the village has been consulted.

In the meantime the village and its parish council will need to consider another proposal, just submitted, for four affordable homes and two market price homes on land beside the Merry Harriers car park, on the opposite side of Hambledon Road to the pub. This land is currently used as a campsite.

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Affordable homes

Hambledon Parish Council has been informed that English Rural Housing Association, a not-for-profit provider of affordable homes, has acquired Orchard Farm, a property in nine acres of land off Wormley Lane.

At a parish council meeting held on October 29, attended by many residents who live close to Orchard Farm, Nick Hughes, regional development manager of ERHA, outlined a proposal to build 12 affordable homes, four open market units and the replacement or refurbishment of the existing house.

The entire site is within the Green Belt and the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Mr Hughes said that the proposal would be brought forward under Waverley Borough Council Rural Exceptions Site policies and the affordable homes would be available to local people in housing need. He indicated that land not used for housing – approximately four acres – would be gifted to the village to ensure no further development would take place.

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