We all know silence is golden but there are occasions when it can give rise to the suspicion that it is deliberately designed to mislead.
Why is it, we ask ourselves, that Jim McAllister – who has never been short of something to say, we might add – has uttered not a word since selling out to Trinity College Cambridge?
The man – whom many now admit was simply ahead of his time – has spent the past 14 years lobbying Waverley to solve its housing problems by creating a new settlement at Dunsfold Aerodrome, suddenly disappears off the radar just when all the other developers start to crawl out of the woodwork with their plans to concrete over the borough’s green fields.
Was Dunsfold Park at the not-so-secret meetings between the Cranleigh Kooples (Councillors Brian & Patricia Ellis and Stewart and Jeanette Stennett), Waverley planners and developers? Not that we can discover. Is that simply because Dunsfold Park isn’t in Cranleigh? Unlikely, because Springbok isn’t in Cranleigh either but Thakeham Homes was at the party.
Maybe Dunsfold Park’s new owners, Trinity College Cambridge, have other plans. Maybe they no longer want to create a new town on their prime brownfield site adjacent to the A281 Horsham / Guildford Road? Perhaps the reason they and Jim McAllister are content to sit back and let the likes of Berkeley Homes, the Knowle Park Initiative, Thakeham Homes and all the other developers who are raring to concrete over Waverley’s greenfields, steal a march on them is because they no longer see housing as the Aerodrome’s future. Perhaps they have bigger fish to fly … ooops! Freudian slip, we meant fry!
Now that Gatwick Airport boss Stewart Wingate has challenged his opposite number at Heathrow to come clean about his funding plans for a third runway, on the grounds that Heathrow is telling porkies about how many more billions it will cost than the figures they are quoting, maybe plans are afoot for Dunsfold Aerodrome to play a role. Some are wondering if Gatwick is
talking to Dunsfold’s new owners about using the Aerodrome as a flight testing and repair centre for their main carriers, to free up space at Gatwick to accommodate a new runway and to park more planes.
Local residents living in Alfold, Rudgwick, Cranleigh and Ewhurst have noticed that planes are flying over them with far greater regularity than before; one a minute or less at peak times and with new jet routes from Gatwick opening up to fly around the world on a daily basis – Gatwick to Costa Rica; Gatwick to Peru; Gatwick to six Canadian cities (Calgary; Edmonton; St John’s; Toronto; Winnipeg; and Vancouver) – perhaps there is some truth in the speculation that the man formerly known as the Flying Scot has more on his mind than a new town at Dunsfold.
For many years, before they woke up, and it dawned on them that housing was coming, whether they liked it or not – to a green field near them – many local residents railed against any housing at Dunsfold Aerodrome but the recent consultation carried out by Waverley Borough Council revealed there has been a dramatic sea change and a staggeringly large percentage of the population now want the vast majority of the borough’s housing need met at Dunsfold. They want a new settlement with its own brand new infrastructure and an access directly onto the A281, which doesn’t involve building on green fields, clogging up the narrow lanes around their villages and over burdening the already groaning infrastructure.
The irony of it all is, if Waverley Councillors and Planners hadn’t vetoed Dunsfold Park’s first attempt to create a new town at the Aerodrome, we would not now be facing such an onslaught on our green fields because if planning permission had been granted Waverley would now be well on its way to meeting its housing need and very well positioned to rebuff the current greenfield rush!
Those who objected to Dunsfold Park first time round may well live to rue the day they ignored the old warning, ‘Be careful what you wish for …’ if, indeed, Mr Wingate has plans to take space at Dunsfold.
We think it’s time the man formerly known as the Flying Scot came clean and told us what his plans for the Aerodrome really are … Go on, beam us up, Scottie, because some of us are beginning to fear that we could be under siege from both above and below!