Waverley’s Western Planning Committee went out with a roar.


The final meeting of Waverley’s Western Planning Committee before the forthcoming May election was a shocker.

Farnham councillors accused planning officers of

“Murky practicesignoring council rules and then turned their venom on the Conservative Government’s  “Alice in Wonderland Broken Planning System, and taking developer’s donations.” 

At one point, the Chairman stopped Farnham Resident’s Cllr George Hesse from continuing to speak. You can watch it in the clip below.

Coxbridge Farm, Farnham, the greenfield site for 320 new homes.

Cllr Jerry Hyman(Farnham Firgrove) wanted to know WHY planning officers had allowed the 106 legal Agreement linked to a scheme at Coxbridge Farm, Farnham, for 320 homes to languish for more than two years when after six months,  under the terms of the 2021 consent it should have been refused.

The scheme is included in the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan and Waverley’s Local Plan.

Chief Planning officer Claire Watson Brown admitted that a series of extensions given to the developer should not have been allowed; the Chairman and vice-chairman did not have delegated powers. However, by returning to the planning committee seeking a further three-month extension until the end of June would legalise the situation. It was hoped the agreement would be signed within a month.

Good reasons were given, including the death and probate difficulties after the death of two of the landowners and complicated issues with Surrey County Council over highway improvement at the Coxbride Roundabout. where Surrey County Council was the owner of some land.

Cllr Hyman argued after the Council’s “murky background to the scheme” and the fact the developer now wished for a significant change of Phasing the scheme, it should go back out for public consultation after such a long delay. 

We agreed two years ago for a six-month time limit, and allowing the chairman and vice-chairman delegated powers to extend that time limit was ultra vires. They had no deleted powers. As the council was now in Election Purdah, it was too controversial to allow a further extension of such a controversial scheme and should be refused and Farnham residents should be given a say.

He was reminded that across the country, where developers were building large housing developments, they were being phased due to market conditions.

The extension and changes were Agreed upon by ten votes to one.

You can listen to a couple of the rants – one cut short by Chairman David Beaman here:

However, wouldn’t it be great if the next administration could find someone within the council to properly operate the Webcast so the public who vote councillors into office could actually see and hear their representatives properly and in full view?

WA/2019/0770 – LAND NORTH OF COXBRIDGE FARM, WEST STREET, FARNHAM  This application is being referred back to the Western Planning Committee as the completion of the S106 agreement has gone past the six months that the Council originally agreed as the period in which it should be completed by, from the resolution to grant at Western Planning Committee in May 2021. Officers are seeking to extend the resolution to give until 29th June 2023. Revised recommendation As a result of the changes outlined in the report, the amended resolution will be

Recommendation A

That, subject to the applicant entering into an appropriate legal agreement by 29/06/2023 (unless an alternative date is subsequently agreed by the Chair and Vice Chair of the Planning Committee) to secure the provision of 30% affordable housing (70% rented and 30% shared ownership) contributions towards SANG and SAMM, travel plan contribution, £25,000 for highways improvement works, provision of car club scheme, sustainable travel vouchers for each dwelling SuDS management/ maintenance, open space management/ maintenance; provision of LEAP/LAP; contribution towards waste and recycling containers; subject to conditions and informatives, permission be GRANTED.


Photo ID required for May Elections in Waverley.

 It is now mandatory that ID is provided to vote in the forthcoming May council elections. But it doesn’t have to be a passport.

Remember to bring yours when you vote in the parish and borough elections in Waverley on Thursday, 4 May 2023, to avoid an unnecessary trip back home. 
Missing out on your duty to vote because the Coronation celebrations begin is not an excuse. Neither is it someone else’s business. If you don’t vote, don’t complain when decisions you disagree with are made by others who care.


The UK government has changed the UK electoral system, even though councils up and down the country objected to the change, including the administration that currently runs Waverley.

However, The Elections Act 2022 contains measures that affect elections and how the residents of Waverley will vote.

The most significant of these is the introduction of photo identification at polling stations. This new requirement will apply for the first time in England at the local elections on Thursday, 4 May

 Identification and Voter Authority Certificate

The Elections Act 2022 has introduced a new requirement for voters to show photographic identification before voting in person at a polling station at elections from May 2023.

You may already have a form of photo ID that is acceptable. You can use any of the following:

  • Passport
  • Driving licence (including provisional licence)
  • Blue Badge
  • An older person’s bus pass
  • A disabled person’s bus pass
  • Identity card with PASS mark (Proof of Age Standards Scheme)
  • Biometric Immigration Document
  • Defence identity card
  • Certain national identity cards

The Electoral Commission has more information about which forms of photo ID will be accepted. 

You can still use your photo ID if it’s outdated as long as it looks like you.

What if I don’t have an accepted form of ID?

If you do not have any of the accepted photo IDs and want to vote at the polling station, you must apply for a Voter Authority Certificate. This is a free photographic identification document specifically for the purposes of voting.

Alternatively, you can complete a paper application form. If you need any help with applying for a Voter Authority Certificate or want to request an application form, contact electoralservices@waverley.gov.uk or call 01483 523116.

Voters who do not produce a Voter Authority Certificate or valid identification will not be allowed to vote on the day.

Postal and Proxy Voters

Postal voters will not be affected and will be issued their postal ballot papers as usual.

If you choose to vote by proxy, the person you have trusted to vote on your behalf will have to take their identification to be issued with a ballot paper.


Another Appeal by Bewley Homes for 140 homes in Badshot Lea has begun.

Will it be the third time lucky for a persistent developer?

The controversial appeal in Lower Weybourne Lane, Badshot Lea, Farnham, has begun. The Inquiry  (via Zoom) runs for five days. The final days are on 26 and 27 April. However, this timetable may change.

Developers have been trying to obtain consent for development on a greenfield site in Farnham since first appealing in 2014, again in 2018,  and now believe that without a five-year housing land supply in Waverley, they stand a good chance of success in 2023.

If the appeal were allowed, it would result in a significant coalescence of Farnham, Aldershot, Weybourne Lane, and Badshot Lea.

The   4.8ha site is on the southern side of Lower Weybourne Lane, between two different parts of the Farnham Built-Up Area Boundary. The agricultural land includes paddocks, some currently used for grazing horses and other animals. An access track along its eastern edge leads to an existing, gated, vehicular and pedestrian access onto Lower Weybourne Lane. To the west, the site is enclosed by a railway embankment and to the east by relatively modern housing developments at Badshot Park and Glorney Mead. To the south, the area adjoins further open land.

Waverley Planners have consistently refused consent saying development there would have an urbanising impact on the area. The result contradicts its planning policies, including the Farnham Design Statement and the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan. Neither would it enhance the landscape nor protect the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside. It would lead to the coalescence of settlements and the erosion of the landscape’s character.

Upper Weybourne Lane is a priority junction with Farnborough Road;  St Georges Road is a priority junction with Guildford Road;  Without adequate mitigation, the development would have an unacceptable impact on highway safety and a severe cumulative effect on capacity at these junctions. It had not been demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Highway Authority that improvements were necessary to maximise sustainable transport modes for pedestrians and cyclists.

The proposal (in combination with other projects) would have a likely adverse effect on the integrity of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA) in that it is now widely recognised that increasing urbanisation of the area around the SPA has a continuing adverse effect on its interest features, namely Nightjar, Woodlark and Dartford Warbler, the three internationally rare bird species for which it is classified.

Waverley Cllr (Firgrove, Farnham) Jerry Hymn has already told Inspector Darren Muckcreey that it is not possible to conduct an Appropriate Assessment of the potential accumulative impact on the endangered species. Ground nesting heathland songbirds. He claimed there was a limitation on development in Waverley that was being denied. 

The presumption favours sustainable development and the ’tilted balance’ (a term used to tilt the balance in the developer’s favour.)  Parts 12 and 14 of the NPPF – do not apply to Habitat Development.

Paragraph  182 of the National Planning Policy Framework – says it doesn’t apply where the plan or project is likely to have a significant effect on the habitats site (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects.) unless an Appropriate Assessment has concluded that the plan or project will not adversely affect the integrity of the habitats site.

Cllr Carole Cockburn spoke on behalf of Farnham Town Council for the permitted ten minutes on the site planning history and its policy constraints.

DN.Planning PoE – Appendix 5a – Indicative Spatial Context Plan – Farnham



Obtaining planning permission to extend residential properties in the green belt is likely to be significantly harder following an important High Court ruling.

Court rejects green belt homeowner’s extension as disproportionate to the original building, even if not to his existing house.

So, Government inspectors are not always right and can be challenged.

A senior judge found that a planning inspector erred when he granted consent for a substantial extension of a house in the village of Normandy, representing a major victory for Guildford Borough Council.

The decision means that, in deciding whether such extensions are proportionate, planners will, in many cases, have to delve back to 1 July 1948.

That was when the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947 came into effect, establishing the modern planning control system.

The date is significant because the size of extensions in the green belt must be measured against that of “original” buildings in place at the time.

The judge’s ruling represented a significant victory for Guildford Borough Council, which opposed the works proposed on Foxwell Cottage, Hunts Hill Road.

Christopher Weeks proposed converting the garage to habitable accommodation, with two-storey side and rear extensions.

Three dormer windows, to be accommodated by a raised ridge height, and a single-story side extension to the main house was also proposed.

The court heard that Foxwell Cottage and the garage were built under a planning permission granted in 2003.

They were constructed on a site which overlapped with that of a somewhat smaller bungalow which had been demolished.

The council refused planning permission for the development, the size of which it considered…  “disproportionate.”

However, that decision was reversed by a planning inspector who granted planning consent in May last year.

The council’s challenge to the decision hinged on Policy P2 in the Guildford Local Plan, which substantially reflects the terms of the NPPF.

The policy states the conventional test that inappropriate developments in the green belt, including the construction of new buildings, will only be permitted in very special circumstances.

It makes an exception, however, for the extension or alteration of a building

“provided that it does not result in disproportionate additions over and above the size of the original building.”

The “original building” means either “the building as it existed on 1 July 1948” or, if no building existed at that time, the first building that was constructed on the relevant site after that.

In his decision, the inspector measured the scale of the extension against the size of Foxwell Cottage as it was at the time of the application. He found that the wings would represent a “modest” increase in floor space of about 23-28.6 per cent.

The council, however, asserted that the long-demolished bungalow was the “original building” on the site and that the inspector should have taken its smaller footprint as his baseline when assessing the proportionality of the extensions.

Upholding the council’s challenge, Judge Milwyn Jarman KC said: “What must be considered is not the building as it existed at the time an application for extensions or additions is made, but the building as originally built.

“This is likely to be directed at avoiding the cumulative effect of extensions and additions, which may be modest in themselves but which may cumulatively amount to disproportionate development.

“Had the intention been to make the replacement building (i.e. the current Foxwell Cottage and garage) the baseline for evaluating the proportionality of any extension or addition, it would have been easy to say so.

“It is clear from the Policy P2 definition of ‘original building’ that what must be considered in the evaluation exercise is the original building as it existed on the coming into force of the 1947 Act or the first building as originally built after that date.”

The inspector, the judge ruled, departed from the “natural meaning” of Policy P2 and “impermissibly elided” two of its provisions, one related to extensions or alterations and the other to replacement buildings.

He concluded:

“Had the square meterage of the demolished building been taken into account in the evaluation exercise of proportionality, then a materially larger percentage in the total uplift (in floorspace) would have been arrived at. 

“In my judgment, therefore, the inspector’s decision must be quashed and the appeal must be re-submitted for redetermination.” 

Guildford Borough Council v Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities & Anr. Case Number: CO/2321/2022



Take a bow for services to Farnham – Mark Westcott.


Farnham Architect Mark Westcott was mentioned in despatches when the Portfolio Holder for the Blightwells development gave his final update on the scheme before the May elections.

Has one of Farnham’s iconic buildings been trashed?

The truly shocking state of one of Farnham’s heritage buildings. This situation was brought to Waverley’s attention by Architect Mark Westcott.

Andy MacLeod is featured here:


Waverley Tenants have their say.

If you’re a #Waverley Council Tenant, have your say at the Landlord Services Advisory Board Meeting next Thursday, 30 March 2023, at 10 am at The Burys, #Godalming. 📍
This is the perfect opportunity to speak to councillors/staff, ask questions and make recommendations which impact you!
What to expect at this meeting:
➡️ An introduction to the new Customer Experience Group
➡️ An update on the Tenant Satisfaction Measures Project
➡️ Details on our Housing Operations Plan
For more details, visit 👉 https://orlo.uk/PfaVp

Spring 2003 – 2023 How things have changed in Farnham!

As Waverley acts against the developers, The Farnham Theatre Association has turned its spotlight on Brightwells Yard and House – and after 20 years, finds it wanting.

On 22nd April 2003, Crest Nicholson/ Sainsbury’s signed the original Development Agreement with the Tory Administration of Waverley Borough Council for the regeneration at East Street, Farnham.

Twenty years later, these parties have managed to create the half-finished site called Brightwells Yard. The finishing date moves ever forward as yet another problem emerges with this poorly thought-through development. The latest disaster is the unforgivable trashing of the historic architectural features of Grade II listed Brightwell House – and this miserable situation was achieved at the expense of losing the Redgrave Theatre.

Tomorrow we will post the comments of Waverley’s Portfolio holder made on Tuesday at the last Full Council meeting before the May polls.