Yesterday morning residents living near the Crest Nicholson site in Horsham Road, awoke to the sound of heavy demolition machinery removing number 106 and The Chantrys bungalow, these properties stand in the way of the access road to 149 new homes on the Crest housing estate in Cranleigh.
This was in clear breach of the planning consents of both the outline and detailed planning permission, which required that various conditions be executed prior to any work being commenced.
Cranleigh Civic Society, together with other residents, emailed Planning Enforcement at Waverley Borough Council requesting that they urgently investigate the matter.
According to the CCS Waverley acted quickly and sent an enforcement officer to the Crest Nicholson site yesterday afternoon and have confirmed that:
“The planning permissions indicate that demolition should not occur prior to the relevant pre-commencement conditions being discharged. This has been highlighted to Crest Nicholson on previous occasions.”
It transpires that in July Crest applied to Waverley to demolish the properties and were refused permission. However, it appears that, despite being reminded of their obligations “on previous occasions“, Crest Nicholson have carried on regardless.
Now Cranleigh people can experience for themselves just how Crest Nicholson ignores planning rules – a bit like “Your Waverley.”
They have ridden roughshod across planning rules in Farnham for years, but maybe, just maybe, with a Judicial Review pending there CN may find its wings clipped! however the developer may not find Cranleigh residents such a pushover!
This is not the first time that residents have felt completely let down by the behaviour of Crest Nicholson.
Contractors working on the Horsham Road site said that they planned to demolish both properties on Monday and only stopped because they found live electricity on the site.
If it is proved that a planning breach has occurred Waverley can issue an enforcement notice on Crest, requiring compliance with planning consent. It is extremely disappointing that a huge developer like Crest, who will be more than aware of the rules relating to the planning consent, appears to be sidestepping them.
Well, we hate to tell the Cranleigh Society, but CN has been doing this for years with Waverley Borough Council’s blessing so what makes you think the council is going to break a habit of a lifetime and rein them in now?
Failure to comply with an enforcement notice is a criminal offence and can result in a fine of up to £20,000 on summary conviction in Magistrates Court, or an unlimited fine on indictment in a Crown Court. However, it appears that this is not a sufficient deterrent for developers wanting to act in their own best interest.
The enforcement process itself is discretionary and arbitrary and developers have the right to appeal.
Please continue to be vigilant and let The Cranleigh Society know of any activity on development sites. It is extremely important that pre-commencement conditions are adhered to, without these, we can assume, that planning consent would not have been acceptable or granted by Waverley in the first place. To read more http://www.cranleighsociety.org/2016/11/02/crest-nicholson-breach-planning-cons
Want to read about Crest Nicholson when it recently had a starring role in BBC’s Rip Off Britain? Starts at 14 mins.