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 – 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.

 

 

Housing Needs Survey

The latest Housing Needs Survey, carried out across all households in Hambledon, has just been published and full details are available here:

hambledon HNS

housing needs JW report

The first is a copy of the survey and the second is an executive summary.

The survey was carried out by Surrey Community Action at the request of Hambledon Parish Council and it follows the acquisition of Orchard Farm by the English Rural Housing Association.

Of the 314 survey questionnaires sent out 261 households responded – an 83.12 per cent return. Across the country a 10 to 35 per cent return rate is common, so the Hambledon response has been described as “outstanding” and demonstrates how engaged the village is.

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Orchard Farm Open Meeting Tonight At 8pm Village Hall

Tonight there is an important opportunity for Hambledon residents to express their views – for, against or anything in between – on the proposal to build 17 new homes, 12 designated as affordable, on land at Orchard Farm, off Wormley Lane.

The meeting has been arranged by Hambledon Parish Council so that it can hear the opinions of residents before it responds to an anticipated planning application by the English Rural Housing Association, which has bought Orchard Farm.

altThe ERHA presented its plans at a display at the Village Hall two weeks ago. Now is the chance to let the parish council know what you think.

As yet no planning application has been submitted and feedback from tonight’s meeting will be passed on to the ERHA before it does so.

The council will open the meeting with a briefing on Affordable Housing and on the Housing Needs Survey, currently in circulation in the village.  ERHA will not be in attendance, nor will representatives of Waverley Borough Council, the planning authority.

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Parish Council visits Orchard Farm

Hambledon Parish councillors have visited Orchard Farm for an inspection ahead of the public meeting on Wednesday to hear the views of villagers about the proposal to build 17 homes – 12 of them affordable – on the 9.5 acre site.

The meeting, at the Village Hall starting at 8pm, is an opportunity for Hambledon residents to express their views on the proposal, which has been put forward by the English Rural Housing Association. ERHA acquired Orchard Farm last October. It had been on the market for several years.

ERHA displayed it proposals for the site, off Wormley Lane, at a presentation 10 days ago in the Village Hall. It has not yet submmitted a planning application to Waverley Borough Council. The parish council wishes to hear the views of villagers before it makes a formal comment when an application is submitted.

The site visit was offered by ERHA and photographs taken during the inspection can be seen on the “Photos” section of this website. Click on http://www.hambledonsurrey.co.uk/hambledon-photos.html

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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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