Here at the Waverley Web we seldom put up a post completely based on a comment we have received. Here below, is an exception to that rule, because one of our followers has hit the nail right on ‘Your Waverley’s’ head! And on its head be it if this application, to build 54 houses on land that has flooded for many years, is approved!
Thakeham Homes application to build 54 dwellings on land in Elmbridge Road adjacent to the Cranleigh Waters.
You can read about it by clicking on the link below.
Peter Cleveland’s explanation following the prospect that the application be deferred is distinctly whiffy. He doesn’t quote the relevant Para of the NPPF on the flood risk sequential test because it is contrary to the verbal commentary he provides. He explains the Exception test not the sequential test in any case. If the sequential test is not passed the exception test is irrelevant. Even if he was correct his assertion that the exception test finds the site free from flood risk, this is undermined by the EA’s comments on the proposed SuDs. From watching this meeting online, I suspect Cllr’s Mulliner and Band are onto this as they want to see more evidence from various sources.
The NPPF is very clear on the matter – Para 101: “The aim of this sequential test is to steer new development toward areas with the lowest probability of flooding. Development should not be allocated or permitted if there are reasonably available sites appropriate for that development in areas of lower probability of flood risk.”
…and there are other more appropriate sites available locally.
I am concerned that Waverley officer’s understanding of sequential testing for flood risk is not fully formed. This is not a matter you can ‘argue on a pin-head’ as seems to be the case here. As an example, the WBC JPC refused the Berkeley Homes application a few years ago after much debate around the planners’ acceptance that the sequential test was passed. However, what is more concerning is that originally, the officer responsible for the report agreed with the developer that the sequential test did not need to be undertaken in the first place because no houses were to be built outside of flood zone 1 in this particular development. They did not realise that the PPG guidance to the NPPF also puts essential infrastructure, (for example, main access roads) into the criteria sequential test application. The EA had to tell them this and the application was subsequently deferred by several months whilst this work was undertaken. I know that the officer responsible did not understand the test criteria because I was copied into the email by the EA and the rolling commentary between the two parties. The applicant’s process was accepted by the officers but the members of the JPC didn’t buy it based on local knowledge and photographic evidence amongst other things.
Cllr Stewart Stennett summed this Elmbridge Road application up succinctly and simply – he has lived in the area for 50 years and “That field floods”.
I imagine going for full planning with drainage details deferred was because detailed scrutiny of the flood risk on the site will prove negative towards the application. One questions if the developer has been working so closely with the officers over such a lengthy period of time why the obvious flaws highlighted very quickly by the members had not been addressed in the report? Maybe it’s because they can’t be mitigated?
I would expect when this next returns to the JPC for the officer’s recommendation to be for refusal based on flooding and sewage odour grounds. Nothing against the developers per se…this is just a really crappy site for houses.
Here at the Waverley Web we thank the one above, that there are still people over there in the East of the borough that have the time, expertise and dogged determination, like Ms Dominique McAll, who stand up for that beleaguered village. And…we ask… why the hell hasn’t she stood as a borough councillor to represent those poor Cranleigh souls and knocked some sense into ‘YW’ before it is too late!
When are Waverley’s elected representatives going to realise they are being misled, dangerously misled, by planning officers, so blinded by the need to meet a Government imposed housing target, that they will beat them into submission on a bed of lies and distortions that generations of Waverley residents will be forced to live with!