HERE WE GO AGAIN…
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!
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.