Here we go again.. but be Careful what you wish for?


Eleven parish councils in Waverley have written  to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (SoS), requesting he calls-in the 1,800-home “new town” application at Dunsfold Park.

But be careful what you wish for! Here’s how the Secretary of State ruled this week when this application in Northamptonshire was called in!

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1 March 2016 by Susie Sell 
Outline plans for a sustainable urban extension of up to 1,000 homes in Northamptonshire have been allowed by communities secretary Greg Clark who ruled that the adverse effects would not outweigh the benefits.

Northampton Borough Council had refused outline consent for the urban extension on land to the east of Hardingstone, Northampton, in May 2014.

Under the plans, submitted by housing and regeneration quango the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA), up to 1,000 homes would be delivered alongside a local centre with up to 1,320 square metres of space for retail, professional and financial services and restaurants/cafes. The proposals also included plans for a pub, primary school, community uses and infrastructure improvements. Read the rest of this report  at the bottom of this post…

Getting back to the parish councils letter:

Strange really Cranleigh of course with its 15,000 residents is supposedly “The largest Village in England” – whereas Dunsfold Park will be a “Town” with 4,500 inhabitants…

The councils represent 21,000 residents from Waverley, Guildford and Chichester.

Do they now! Well has your parish council conducted a referendum among you? Have you been asked which you would prefer – houses on green field sites, some of which flood and with little or no accompanying infrastructure – or houses and infrastructure – school, Surgery; shops; etc on a brown field site – which if not used for houses will become one great big employment site – generating even more traffic?  Well…have you? 

The letter was sent on March 1 by Alfold , Bramley , Busbridge, Chiddingfold , Dunsfold, Hambledon , Hascombe and Wonersh Parish Councils, which are in Waverley. Shalford in the Guildford Borough, and Loxwood and Plaistow and Ifold in  West Sussex.

Within the letter to the SoS, MP Greg Clark, the parish councils claim  the application “breaches policies of the expectant local plan” and “flies in the face of previous decisions that Dunsfold Airfield is an isolated and unsustainable site”.

Not of course so isolated – that all the green fields  around it , some within 100 yards, are under threat of development, and not so isolated that over 1,000 people are employed there and WBC  granted planning permission for another 100,000 square  feet  of commercial space in January 2016.

The SoS has the power to call in a planning applications  referred to him for determination after a public inquiry, instead of being dealt with by the local authority. Once called in, referred to the SoS and agreed upon, he may inform Waverley that, if they are minded to approve the application, they cannot grant the permission without his consent.

So – in other words take the power away from our locally elected representatives in whom we have invested our trust – and let the Government decide! And – use the taxpayers’ money to fight another public inquiry – costing millions – but then it is only money!

The 11 councils are also supported by Guildford district committees, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England and by Protect Our Waverley campaign body. They say  “The proposal flies in the face of previous decisions, made at local, regional and national level, consistently to the effect that the application site is an unsustainable one for a new settlement.

“The proposal is being promoted, notwithstanding all of the above, to meet asserted housing needs, and is deliberately timed to come forward in advance of the Waverley Borough Council’s impending new Local Plan, pre-empting the ability of the Council to determine the extent of its objectively assessed housing needs.

Nothing to do with the fact that Waverley has dragged its heels, was shoved kicking and screaming by Guildford and Woking Borough Councils to come up with the Housing Needs Assessment figure  of 519 p.a. despite being advised by its consultants that the figure should be over 600 – and has now delayed its Daft Local Plan …yet again!

The councils’ claim, “new settlements in rural areas are extremely rare and have had mixed success. The four eco-towns,  approved by the Government  currently being developed, were based on a framework of conditions imposed by the Government.“For a new settlement to succeed it must be in the right location, with appropriate infrastructure and the right environment for social sustainability.

“It should not be left to Waverley Borough Council to decide this planning application without an overriding Government framework, similar to that which applied to eco-towns. 

Presumably  none of the parish councils  trust  “Your Waverley” with your future!  Neither does the Waverley Web!  NO LOCAL PLAN – NO CONTROL! 

“The promotion of new settlements of the right size in the right locations will be damaged if an inappropriate settlement is allowed.”This is of national importance.”It added: “It is quite clear that the proposal will have significant traffic and highways impacts beyond the site’s immediate locality.“We refer again to what the Inspector at the previous Inquiry stated at paragraph 372 of his Report.“The evidence before him on this issue was stark: development of this site for significant housing would cause very considerable congestion on strategic routes, with traffic jams up to 4km long on the A281 (which joins Horsham to Guildford and passes Dunsfold).“That is plainly an effect which is more than local.

“The proposed development will impact upon the convenience of a large number of people travelling between settlements, and on the economy of those settlements, and potentially have an impact in public health and safety terms also.”

And..of course development on the green fields all over Waverley particularly over there in the East will not have any impact at all…will they?

Under the plans, submitted by housing and regeneration quango the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA), up to 1,000 homes would be delivered alongside a local centre with up to 1,320 square metres of space for retail, professional and financial services and restaurants/cafes. The proposals also included plans for a pub, primary school, community uses and infrastructure improvements.

The council’s decision was appealed by the HCA and recovered to be decided by the secretary of state in December 2014. 

According to the inspector’s report, the application was originally refused because the proposed highway mitigation measures failed to demonstrate that the development would not have a residual cumulative impact on the A45 trunk road and associated junctions.

It was also refused owing to concerns that the development would have an urbanising effect and be of a scale and density that would be detrimental to the rural character of the surrounding area, it said.

Now The Secretary of State Greg Clark has  ruled that the development in Northamptonshire should be allowed, in line with the inspector’s recommendation.

4 thoughts on “Here we go again.. but be Careful what you wish for?”

    1. Where is the URBAN in Alfold and Dunsfold?? I just Do Not get it… We are a rural Village

  1. Dear WW
    Talking of URBANISATION
    There is something disappointing when a Town of some 16,000 Homes (Farnham), suggests that A New town of 3,400 homes (Dunsfold Park) should be built next to two Tiny Villages of about 450 Homes each (Alfold and Dunsfold) (900 homes)

    This amount of NEW homes in Farnham would equate to about 22% Increase in Farnham. This would equate to 378% Increase for Alfold/Dunsfold

    Can ANYONE say this is FAIR or Sustainable? Even Farnham Folk have to recognise this is NOT! And I am shocked that you even raise this as being SUSTAINABLE this is Out and Out NIMBYism and I would ask you all to question your support

    YES we need WBC to sort out a Local Plan that is acceptable to ALL – this is NOT.

    Alfold has just had Outline Planning for 55 New Homes at Sweeters Copse – (Plus 12%)
    With another 20 – 40 Odd in the pipe line and Springbok of 225 – 425 in the Offing..(Plus 94%)

    Cranleigh has many 1000’s in the offing..

    Come on You Farnham Joint Planning Committee (all 7 of you out of 22) Members – Stop Trying to throw all of this OUR way! You should be ashamed of yourselves – You have rail links and a decent (But not Great) Road Infrastructure – We have the A281, Minimal Bus services an overstretched Health Service and Over crowded Schools. Don’t Think that this development is going to provide everything…. It ISN’T
    Job Opportunities?? are they only going to be available to those living On-Site or will folk have to travel in from Guildford/Cranleigh? WHEN are they going to be delivered? Medical Centre – it has already been pointed out that nothing has been raised with NHS England as yet to substantiate this – (See HORSHAM)
    The Mott MacDonald Report has raised Many points but two of the most important lie in
    1. Bramley – Nothing in the DAL 2015 PTA even if they did do the new traffic Light System to replace the Mini Roundabout
    2. Shalford Improvements – would rely on the taking of COMMON LAND (owned by GBC) that would require permission from Government and could take up to 5 years and cost a huge amount of money) – Will it happen??? or will the A281 – Just be subject to years of Gridlock whilst the wrangles go on???
    I am sorry if it sounds as if I am having a Pop at Farnham – But I guess I am – You are the biggest Town Council in the Borough and have the biggest say – But it does not justify this passing the Buck to the little parishes that have neither the numbers or voice to support themselves
    I do hope Farnham – have lots of youngsters that want to come and live in Dunsfold New Town – after all they will only be an hour or so away from you in Farnham (with the traffic) and they will be living in what will eventually become a Domitory -Town with the only real means of entertainment being to drive to the nearest Towns, Cranleigh and Guildford – That’s a “Fun Night out – when you have to Drive…)and despite Cranleigh’s Claim to being the Largest Village – Is a Town…

    If the larger Towns have any Conscience they will think about what is best for all the generations in the Borough and will push for a new Local Plan that is equal for ALL and not for just the larger Towns – It will maintain Green spaces for our Leisure , it will provide affordable housing for our younger families and provide a peaceful retirement for the older ones.
    Please think about the bigger picture this is not Us & Them – this is ALL OF US! and one day it will come back and bite us all on the Butt if we don’t sort it now!

    If Farnham Folk honestly believe their kids would want to live here – May I suggest they drive to Dunsfold with them and let THEM decide!

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