Woe-woe-and double woe!

Last night after a four-hour debate Waverley Planners granted permission for  a  scheme they dubbed as `”the most important the borough of Waverley had ever considered” and made a very simple choice. 

Should development and accompanying infrastructure be built on a Brownfield Commercial centre and a working airfield – or in the countryside.

It was a no brainer really – and the people who know the area – its commercial uses over more than 70 years – by giants such as British Aerospace, Hawker Siddeley and  Skyways the time had come to open  a new chapter in the history of Dunsfold – ‘Surrey’s Secret airfield.’

Councillors voted 10 votes to eight to allow Dunsfold Park  to provide homes and work for thousands of the young and the old in a new community that will, eventually,  embrace the villages around.  Time will tell if life for the villages of Cranleigh/Dunsfold/Alfold/Loxwood and beyond will  be improved by the creation of a new settlement.

We have heard from many villagers that  life there has been far from rosy as they witnessed  the closure of their  treasured village schools, pubs, restaurants, and shops.

The Protect Our Waverley Group was given a serious drubbing from Cranleigh Councillor Mary Foryszewski last night when she asked them?Where were you POW when Cranleigh and Farnham were thrown before the bulldozers?”

Earlier she  heard POW’s  Bobby Lee, make the case for refusal against a background of mournful violins playing- only joking – but they might as well have done. He  told  a bedtime story of the Brothers Grimm variety. Describing  a bleak, abandoned airfield where no one would want to live – we could almost see the dustballs rolling down the empty roads of Dunsfold Ghost town.

Desperate Dan  continued with this grim tale which had no place in a serious, intellectual discussion about a major planning application which, whether it failed or succeeded, will have an impact on a significant number of people. However, if he keeps this  up Jackanory may  commission him?

Nic Pidgeon Chairman of Alfold Parish Council) bemoaned the fact that he had only four minutes to speak despite the Council’s Planners having had an hour in which to make their presentation. Well thank the Lord for that!

Not only is Mr Pidgeon one of those who has happily made his money representing developers he’s now   moving out of Alfold for Happy Hampshire so why he thinks it’s acceptable for him to voice an opinion on the future of the borough is anyone’s guess.

With nothing new to say, he Pidgeon-toed harked back to 2009 despite the fact that we’re now in 2017 and a huge sea change and a housing crisis has occurred  in the intervening years.

A  man in a pin-striped suit OJ radiated what he is – a Luddite and Chairman of Hascombe Parish Council who is constantly looking to the past rather than the future. but then…….

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References  to 5000 objections to the scheme were mentioned but, somewhat deceitfully,  failed to to mention  that many  were duplicates submitted after the Council consulted twice.

Alfold  Councillor Kevin De’Anus, red in the face and bursting with so much indignation  we feared   he might  burst his buttons, cast multiple aspersions  on both Waverley and Surrey County Council officers that made the hackles rise.

 He was roundly rebutted in no uncertain terms by Chief Planning Officer Liz-the-Biz-Sims with school marmish authority. Living up to her name she  stripped  bare his objections reminding him that the Council had not made its recommendation lightly, realised its importance to Waverley’s housing and economic prosperity and was guided by Counsel’s legal opinion.

 Mike Green, of Surrey County Council Highways,  was equally robust in pointing out that without the HUGE  package of transport mitigation measures proposed by the developer the A281 would be considerably worse off.

Oh Carole (Aka Farnham’s Carole Cockburn) congratulated the Officers on their handling of the application and their diligence in keeping every one up to speed – “for years.” 

The 2009 application she said – rather bravely – might now with hindsight be considered ‘ahead of it’s time’! She showed herself  to be a woman of intellect with a very clear grasp of her subject. So much so, that – many in the public gallery held  their heads in their hands. She spoke loquaciously about the site visit, waxing lyrical about an exciting, dynamic place, both  vibrant  and  accessible.  The words ‘brownfield site’ littered her speech. She recognised  there would be some harm – but the benefits were demonstrable. 

And… after hearing that £35m (sorry it may have been mucho mucho more we couldn’t hear) for infrastructure improvements… said:

All A-roads in Surrey are congested and of course there will be more traffic; you don’t need to tell a resident of Farnham about traffic, we’re surrounded by it,”  “but WHAT A GENEROUS PACKAGE OF MITIGATION MEASURES ARE BEING OFFERED! “

 No other developer in the borough, to her knowledge, was coming anywhere remotely close to what this application offered!

Councillor Stuart ‘Stemmit’  – who recently gained is own consent to build on the Green Belt  in Cranleigh – objected to development on brownfields. Why ? Maybe because he’s a supporter of otheer developers he has been working with,or wants to build an industrial estate at Cranleigh’s Manfield Park Estate?  Developments that may not receive consent now  Dunsfold Park has the go-ahead. The Cranleigh digger driver (his description) rattled on about one of his lorries getting stuck in Guildford and how  it had cost him big bucks to get it removed! 

 Bearing a striking resemblance to Pippi Longstocking with her plait slung over her shoulder, Mary Foryszewski, reminded  everyone  what was happening in Cranleigh – and the multiple applications now sitting in Waverley’s in-box awaiting decisions on more of its green fields!  She too  dared to question 5,000 objections saying  she’d had only received 15 objections personally whereas she had received hundreds in relation to the application for Amlets Lane!

Pippi ticked off, one by one, the positives for granting permission reminding everyone s that they had voted in favour of the Council’s draft Local Plan of which Dunsfold Park was a crucial part. 

£46 million in return for 1800 homes compared to £3 million from Berkeley Homes for 425 was “totally, totally ridiculous” and it would be madness to  ignore DP’s “massive contribution towards  the borough’s infrastructure and economy. She said – “The key question is ” If not there, where? Do we open up the Greenbelt and start building there?” Dunsfold Park offers an opportunity to protect our green fields and belt in Cranleigh and Farnham and we  wouldn’t be in the mess we are in today if we had given this scheme the go-ahead in 2009!”

Councillor Peter Martin  agreed  saying he was  “impressed”  with the size and  suitability of the site,  it being  previously developed brownfield land.  It had been included  in the  emerging local plan  only recently  approved by the Council. If this site, as had been claimed,  was “unsustainable,”  then he demanded someone show him a site that was! 

All-at-Sea bourne put up a good showing for  beleaguered Bramley but By-Pass Byham, who has proudly supported the expansion of St Catherine’s 700 pupil school,  could not understand why a bus service to be provided by DP ‘in perpetuity’ was needed and wished the existing bus stop could also be … By-Passed/moved too.

Stephen Mulliner – said this  was  the most significant decision the Council had taken since he joined it in 2007 saying the site, albeit a contentious one, had rightly been included  in the list of strategic sites.  But, he wanted  the  decision deferred until the Local Plan was adopted – or not! Clearly a man who prefers to do bugger all and keep moving the goal posts until all concerned are worn down and then out! Grasping at straws he dared to suggest that his response to Pippi’s question,of, ‘If not there, where?’ he responded  – “Nowhere!”  Dear God! 

 He bemoaned the rise of White Vans on borough’s  roads  as more and more people buy on-line. How dare they? 

Councillor Grey – sadly, no Christian Grey he! – feared councillors were trying to justify a view  taken in the Local Plan. Saying –  “What’s the rush?” –  What’s the rush? Was he serious? Apparently so! No one, in their right mind, should ask that after a 10-year wait for a decision on  this site’s future! 

He claimed the site was a green site because it “looked green,” and not brown. So please stop telling him it was brownfield! OK, we give in! But sadly you’re not fit to hold the office of Councillor if you cannot grasp the facts. Only a week earlier he was expounding the merits of building two houses in ancient woodland in the countryside outside  Dunsfold village completely ignoring officers’ strong advice to – refuse! 

Councillor Jim Edwards boomed his sympathies to residents of  the East of the Borough. “But we have to build houses somewhere and this is a brownfield site! He felt  sorry for Cranleigh because the Council should have agreed to build homes at Dunsfold Park in 2009 and if they had maybe Cranleigh wouldn’t be in the position it is now. People need to stop complaining about more traffic. Farnham is a disaster as far as traffic is concerned.

Anal De’Anus wanted to go back to his original questions regardless of the fact that they already been roundly routed. And, ye Gods, he said he had other points he wanted to raise! Clearly the man was hoping to wear everyone down and out!

He wanted to save the runways and perimeter tracks for heritage purposes. Grasping at straws or what?!  twittered on about it being wrong to make a decision with a heritage application underway. You had to give it to him, he was certainly trying – very trying! Poor Pippi, sitting behind him, was clearly exasperated and other Councillors were suppressing their yawns!   After droning on , oblivious, of everyone  around him he quoting directly from the PoW website about the height of the Angel of the North and comparing it unfavourably with the height of the proposed buildings on Dunsfold Park. 

Apparently,  Fifty Shades of – doesn’t want low paid jobs at DP. He wants high-end jobs instead.  Is he completely unaware  that highly paid executives don’t want to commute miles to work. Captains of Industry, by their very nature, work long hours and resist  a long commute at the end of a long day. What’s he suggesting – they helicopter in and out?

No truer word was spoken than by the Councillor Hyman who wryly remarked, “We’d get no development whatsoever if we take our steer from local people!”

It must be said, Waverley and SCC’s officers – loads of them – were at the top of their game. It isn’t often that Waverley Web praises Waverley Borough Council but, credit where it’s due.

Now they must  continue to work to ensure  this historic decision provides the borough with  an exemplary home/ work settlement of which the borough  can be proud. 

7 thoughts on “Woe-woe-and double woe!

  1. I’m glad I went to the meeting last night, even though I was in a filled back-room watching it unfold on screen. Quite a night.

    I thought there were some good comments from both sides, and let’s accept the democratic vote. To my mind it makes sense to develop brown field sites first, particularly ones that also offer on-site job opportunities.

    My lasting disappointment though was that I really don’t think that the planning officers had really thought out what to do about the many infrastructure issues that the public and the borough councillors raised, and which were all known about before the meeting.

    Basics like what to do about sewage from the site should have been sorted out before the vote, not left as “reserved matters”. And the comments from Surrey County Council Highways’ traffic modelling were amateurish even to my untrained ears.

    Let’s hope these all get properly sorted out soon.

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    • Yes – we have to agree. Though establishing the principal of the development is a priority – otherwise, we believe the Local Plan could fail, leaving us open to another round of green field developments. It is now up to everyone to ensure that every promise/pledge/commitment is kept by DP. And… any further development on countryside around the towns and villages, particularly Cranleigh must halt until ALL the infrastructure is in place.

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  2. How on earth can you say that about Waverley and SCC Officers? If the SCC officer had back tracked any further he would have fallen over. The Only thing SCC care about is the fact that DP WILL be handing over a load of dosh to do the work that SHOULD be done by Government and if WBC, GBC can’t get their act together to secure better Infrastructure finance without resorting to this HUGE BRIBE – they should be ashamed of themselves. Well Trinity Can afford it so it is the easy way out

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  3. You are so right and we love reading your posts. All those developers given permission in the East now hope to ride on the back of Dunsfold Park/Trinity College Cambridge to provide the infrastructure they will require to support their developments. There are, of course, many more schemes in the pipeline – so someone has to call a halt or the East will become one great big building site! If only Dunsfold had been approved years ago when it was to have been a Garden Eco-village, all this could have been avoided. I think you all may find development at Dunsfold and its highway improvements a blessing, because none else is prepared to provide them – which is a disgrace.. If Dunsfold didn’t get the go-ahead – where will the children go to school? Country-wide the Government is cutting the schools’ budget by £3 billion!

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  4. I’d suggest that you look at the video again. This time don’t believe your own bias. But I doubt given the way you write you will be able to do that. If you can great.

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  5. ..and if you think unprofessional behaviour by a councillor who represents part of the borough is good news then heaven help us all.

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