The Dunsfold Airfield redevelopment is not a “done deal” yet. In October there will be two High Court challenges to the legality of parts of the Waverley Council’s Local Plan and to the Secretary of State’s decision to rely on that Plan to approve the Dunsfold Park redevelopment.
Residents’ group Protect our Waverley have written an open letter to Waverley’s CEO asking him to justify their expensive defence of the Local Plan and the Secretary of State in court. You can read that letter, the CEO’s reply and a BBC radio interview with POW on the their website: POW website and Open Letter
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.
The developers of Milford Golf Course are holding an exhibition with an outline of the proposed 180 home re-development of the Golf Course on the South side of Station Lane. With Station Lane and Milford crossroads already congested at peak times, such a development will put pressure on the infrastructure in our area. With the prospect of the doubling of traffic on this road once Dunsfold Park is built it is vital that residents make their views on record at this exhibition. All are invited to view on Tuesday 22nd between 3pm and 8pm at the Golf Club in Station Lane.
Following the spirited discussions at Thursday’s Parish Meeting about the Secretary of State’s approval of the Dunsfold development for 1800+ homes on the airfield, here is some additional information.
address some of the questions voiced at our meeting, particularly the 3 Court Challenges on the Waverley Local Plan, the issue of infrastructure money to cope ( or not ) with the traffic from Dunsfold, and the approach that Guildford BC are taking with their Local Plan (in relation to Woking’s unmet need for extra housing ) that is different to Waverley.
The Waverley Local Plan, which was subject of a Public Planning Inquiry earlier in the year, has been revised following the Planning Inspector’s report. This revised plan is now open for comments from the public – a deadline has been set for the 20th October.
The Local Plan revisions are on the WBC website, HERE although it is confusingly displayed and commenting appears cumbersome. A summary of changes is shown on the Protect Our Waverley website, with guidance on how to comment by post or email.
The Dunsfold Planning Inquiry will convene for the final hearing at 9.30am on Thursday 3rdAugust when the three parties – Waverley Borough Council, Dunsfold Park and POW & the Joint Parishes – will make their closing statements before the Planning Inspector.
This is your opportunity to attend the Waverley Borough Council Offices and sit in the public gallery and show your support for the respective parties.
Tuesday is the start of possibly the most important Inquiry for the future of Hambledon and surrounding villages.
For those who are interested in the upcoming Secretary of State’s Public Inquiry into the planning application for 1,800 houses on Dunsfold Aerodrome there is an opportunity to make your views heard. The Public Inquiry starts at 10am on Tuesday 18th July in the Waverley Borough Council Main Council Chamber. If you wish to make a personal statement on behalf of yourself or an organisation then Personal statements are currently due to be heard this coming Thursday PM from 2pm and Friday AM from 10am. The Inquiry is due to last for three weeks and will sit from 10am until 5pm Tuesday to Friday each week.
You can learn more at the Alfold Parish Council Website: www.Alfold.org
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.
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.
This is possibly the most important issue facing Hambledon residents. The Government’s Housing Paper headline of “the right homes in the right places” has been ignored in the granting of planning permission for 1800+ homes at Dunsfold – without any road or rail infrastructure to cope with the resulting increase in population. Not least of the issues, our roads can not sustain the increase of 1000’s of commuters travelling to Witley and Milford stations and to the A3. It will have an overwhelming impact upon Hambledon and surrounding villages on these routes. So residents have more to lose should these homes be built.
As you may know, Waverley Borough Council’s Planning decision to approve the development has been referred to the Secretary of State for consideration. Likewise WBC’s Local Plan is also being reviewed by a Planning Inspector. The combined local Parishes and the Protect our Waverley Campaign (POW) are the official invited parties to put forward the case to the Secretary of State that the Dunsfold aerodrome is the wrong place for such development. Redevelopment at the aerodrome is not a done deal and there is a good case to present in rejecting the planning approval AND the local plan – but it needs professional representation. I am confident that POW and the Parishes have a professional team in place and are our best option for defeating the impending redevelopment. This is imminent and the Joint Parish Councils and POW have issued a “call for funds” document (below) , and an appeal to residents to support this most important matter.
Paul Osborne, Hydestile
URGENT CALL FOR FUNDS
POW and the Joint Parish Councils succeeded in our requests for the Secretary of State to call-in the planning application for 1800 houses at Dunsfold Aerodrome (Dunsfold New Town). This means that he will decide whether planning permission is granted after a full Public Inquiry. We now urgently need funds for the forthcoming Public Inquiry, which is scheduled to start on 18th July
As Rule 6 parties, POW and the Joint Parish Councils will be taking a leading role in the Public Inquiry to persuade a Planning Inspector and the Secretary of State that Dunsfold Park is the wrong place for the proposed development and this application should be refused. The Secretary of State’s decision will be final.
We will be the only Rule 6 parties arguing for the application to be refused, for which we have been advised we have a strong case and every chance of being successful.
In order to put up a robust case, we will need professional help to represent us:
A traffic consultant;
A planning consultant, and
None of these come without significant cost. There is much work to be done and appointments must be made now; we need funds to enable this. We will be running fund-raising events in the next few weeks and we hope you’ll support us generously.
In addition, any donation you can make now would be very gratefully received:
Dunsfold Airfield has been nominated for designation as a Conservation Area. Local Planning Authorities are obliged to designate as conservation areas any parts of their own area that are of special architectural or historic interest, the character and appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. Waverley Borough Council Planning Department are considering an application for Dunsfold Aerodrome now and there is a consultation process concluding on April 28th 2017. If you want to support the designation then now is the time to make comments about what Dunsfold means to you via WBC’s simple online questionnaire here.
The original application for designation was made by Dunsfold Airfield History Society(DAHS) in parallel with Historic England‘s proposals for Listed status on upto 10 buildings and structures on the airfield. The history society has launched a new website this week: https://dunsfoldairfield.org/
The Joint Planning Committee of Waverley Borough Council gave planning approval to the Dunsfold New Town proposals on Wednesday. Of the 32 Councillors eligible to vote just 18 attended to vote: 10 councillors voted to approve, and 8 voted against.
Cllr David Else – Elstead and Thursley, Conservative
Cllr Mary Foryszewski – Cranleigh East, Conservative
Cllr Christiaan Hesse – Hindhead Conservative
Cllr Peter Isherwood – Hindhead, Conservative
Cllr Jim Edwards – Haslemere Critchmere and Shottermill, Conservative
Cllr Peter Martin – Godalming Holloway, Conservative
Cllr Andrew Bolton – Godalming Central and Ockford, Conservative
Cllr Mike Hodge – Farnham Hale and Heath End, Conservative
Cllr John Fraser – Farnham Upper Hale,Farnham Residents
Against (8) –
Cllr Maurice Byham – Bramley Busbridge and Hascombe, Conservative
Cllr Kevin Deanus – Alfold Cranleigh Rural and Ellens Green Conservative
Cllr John Gray, Chiddingfold and Dunsfold, Conservative
Cllr Jerry Hyman – Farnham Castle, Farnham Residents
Cllr Stephen Mulliner – Haslemere East and Grayswood, Conservative
Cllr Stewart Stennett – Cranleigh East, Conservative
Cllr Nick Williams – Godalming Farncombe and Catteshall, Conservative
Cllr Richard Seaborne – Bramley Busbridge and Hascombe, Conservative
There was strong representation from the public in the gallery and outside prior to the meeting. Protesters were from across the area including from Bramley, Hascombe, Hydestile, Loxhill, Cranleigh, Milford, Hambledon, Busbridge.
The very important planning meeting on the proposed Dunsfold New Town Development is scheduled for Wednesday 14th December at 6.30pm at the Waverley Borough Offices in Godalming. This is a meeting that is critical to the future of the villages between Dunsfold and the A3 and rail stations as the road infrastructure between will take a significant proportion of the resultant commuter traffic.
A number of residents from local villages are expected to assemble at the Council Offices in the The Burys at 5:30pm to demonstrate against the proposals and later listen from the public gallery.
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
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.
Hambledon Parish Council is to hold talks with Surrey County Council and Waverley Borough Council to press for a review of the way the village bus service operates in the hope it can be made more commercially viable.
Suggestions from villagers would be welcome, either by leaving a website comment on this article or posting suggestions in the Forum section.
The 503 route, which is the only public transport service available to residents, connects the village with Milford, Godalming and Guildford and is especially important to the elderly and infirm wanting to visit shops, banks and surgeries. It is shown here in the picturesque setting of the farm buildings at the Hydestile Crossroads as its leaves the village headed for Milford.
It is operated by Stagecoach but is heavily subsidised by Surrey County Council. Recently it faced the axe, only to be reprieved after the parish council and residents lobbied for it to continue.
The council is keen to see if changes can be made to increase revenue and prevent another cost-cutting exercise threatening its existence the next time SCC reviews its subsidised bus operations.
Currently the 503 operates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, twice in each direction, beginning at Lane End at 9.15 and 12.15. Although a vital service for older residents its timing and infrequency means it is of no use to school children or commuters, despite its route taking it past Milford Station and local schools.
Surrey County Council has indicated that it is prepared to discuss the route with the parish council and others and it is hoped this will happen soon.