There we were – Oh Waverley Web of little faith! – thinking that yet another Green Field in the East of the borough over there in Ewhurst was about to bite the dust – and then, would you Adam and Eve it… it was REFUSED by 16 votes to two – by Waverley’s Joint Planning committee.
After the severe drubbing it was given for approving 51 houses on a green field in the little village of Alfold just two weeks ago, it would have been a brave, a very brave, committee to have incurred the wrath of Ewhurst people too.
Sing along with Mary – a campaigner against building on green fields.
In the face of strong support from WBC planning officers’ led by its newly appointed Chief Planning Officer Elizabeth Sims. (Shame on you Liz, and you in your first week in your new job, and your colleagues, all determined to see another green field go under concrete – doesn’t say much for the boroughs future under your leadership does it?)
However, there were no holds barred when Miller Homes’ application to build on fields behind Backward Point, Cranleigh Road, Ewhurst, went before the committee last night!
Almost to a man and a woman, councillors came out guns a’ablazing to oppose the development. Despite officers’ advice that it was a “sustainable site” close to the village, with good transport links, and advice from Surrey County Council Highways “experts,” that the access onto the Cranleigh Road and the access road to the site behind were safe.
This was rubbished by almost everyone – including Bypass Byham (Con, Bramley,) who only a couple of weeks earlier was perfectly happy to grant 51 homes on the dangerous Loxwood Road, in Alfold adjacent to a dangerous bend where a ~Loxwood family, including two children, died! Where there is no school, no transport links, and not much of anything really!
He called the Ewhurst access, “bizarre,” and the Cranleigh HGV expert Stewart Stennett sited a dozen reasons why the access would not work. “If a refuse truck travelling from Cranleigh had to drive into that access road it could not do so without crossing to the other side of the road, which it must not do” he warned his colleagues.
Councillor Mary Foryweski (Con Cranleigh East) said the scheme was,
Unimaginative, SHE doubted whether it was viable, the density was too high on yet “another” green field, that would urbanise a lovely village. “I know some of us are getting a bit of a reputation for being anti-development, but we are not, but we are constantly faced with this type of boring development on green fields and it is becoming very – “BORING”
Councillor Carole Cockburn (Con Farnham) agreed. “Ewhurst is a beautiful village and urbanisation is the one thing this pretty village just does not need.” To build on this tranquil site would be a step too far.”
The local member Councillor Val Henry said – building on a Green Lung adjacent to the Ewhurst Recreation Ground would be wrong. The density – twice that of surrounding properties – was too high, the access unsuitable, and the roads within the development too narrow. Others echoed her concerns, and took issue with the Highway Authority’s support for the scheme. However, they were warned by Officer Sims – not to challenge the opinion of the experts!
Others claimed that a similar – but much smaller application for 13 houses on the same site had been recommended for refusal by officers, and councillors claimed the advice they were now being given was, “inconsistent.”
So…the desecration of a green field site has been avoided … but for how long? With no Daft Local Plan, a new Chief Planning Officer determined to support development on green fields, even though the application was introduced by an officer saying it was the Council’s “strongly ” preferred policy that future housing should be built on brown field sites rather than green fields, – they then proceeded to recommend approval! Why! Because WBC’s cannot demonstrate that it has a five year land supply!
Well! Get one then! – on all the brownfield sites you have that you have in Waverley Ms Sims – or you will have more than angry folk here in Farnham in the West and Cranleigh in the East to contend with!