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.
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:
- No very special circumstances exist to outweigh the harm to the Green Belt, contrary to Policy C1 of the Waverley Borough Local Plan.
- No very special circumstances exist to outweigh the harm to the AONB, contrary to Policy C3 of the Waverley Borough Local Plan.
- 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.
- 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.