Who got out of the wrong side of the bed before popping down to ‘Your Waverley’ to chair the Joint Planning Committee?
Carole Cochburn – The member for Farnham Bourne.
From the moment she called members to order – and Councillor John Ward (Con Shortheath & Blundstone) … dared to say he couldn’t approve the minutes as they had – not been available for him to read before the meeting – so wasn’t prepared to sign them as a true record!
So… it did not auger week that Cranleigh councillors Liz Townsend and Patricia Ellis had been substituted for two other Joint Planning Committee members – to consider the reserved matters for Phase 1 of the Berkeley Bunnies scheme in Knowle Lane.
Officers warned the committee that the principle of development for 426 homes had already been established and the Reserved Matters before them were the landscaping and details of Phase 1 of the scheme for (55 executive homes.) In other words – just get on and approve it – regardless!
As one member followed another and slated the scheme – saying it was:
- Would do nothing to enhance Cranleigh!
- Building described as two and a half storey – were in fact three.
- There was inadequate parking.
- Million pound homes would back onto Sainsbury’s Loading bay.
- The design was mediocre and totally unsuitable for a rural location.
- The developers’ original idea for a gated development was – out of character – and would be more ‘Weybridge than Waverley.’
When officers explained that a Government Inspector at appeal had granted permission for five storey houses in that location, there were gasps of incredulity among members – except of course our Farnham councillor who is happy to stuff Cranleigh regardless of size or suitability.
The more opposition the scheme received, the more angry Cllr Cockburn became, almost snarling at her colleagues as they dared to overrule the officers’ advice.
One said the estate was similar to the Evesham Estate in Fleet, and something you would see on a Reality Show on TV.
Cranleigh Councillors, claimed they knew “nothing” of the 106 Agreement signed up with the Developers for £3m which included £173,000 towards an all -weather football pitch for – would you Adam and Eve it… .
and which, it is suggested by officers Cranleigh people will have to pay to use!
Said Councillor Mary Foryszewski: Cranleigh School is a private School with superb sporting facilities – Park Mead School is a local school which is looking for just £25,000 to improve its facilities, why are we supporting private schools?
Angry Cranleigh Councillors asked WHY? they had not been consulted, before legal agreements had been reached with developers, and WHY? were officers recommending approval of a scheme that so so out of keeping with Cranleigh, and ignored the Cranleigh Design Statement?
Some councillors believed the detailed scheme for all 425 homes, should have been presented to them for consideration together, and they asked why there was no roundabout in Knowle Lane which was proposed in the original application? Saying if, a scheme for a private nursing home was agreed immediately opposite the Berkeleys site this would signal traffic chaos!
Here’s what a Cranleigh parish councillor Brian Freeston had to say: