There is jubilation among villagers in a Surrey/Sussex border village as a Government Inspector throws out a scheme that could have tripled the size of ALFOLD.
Despite only a handful of residents showing up to warn of the dire consequences of dumping such a huge number of homes on a rural village, Inspector Richard Clegg, took on board their concerns as they gave a host of reasons why the appeal by Care Ashore should be REFUSED.
The decision is a triumph for Alfold’s Waverley Borough Councillor Kevin Deanus, who, despite being repeatedly bullied by QC David Elvin, stubbornly refused to accept the argument that Alfold village could not only absorb such a huge increase in its population, but would benefit from it!
The developers had argued at the two-week inquiry, that the benefits would significantly outweigh the harm, and that the provision of up to 500 new homes, together with a new village school, recreation and playground facilities, shops and a cafe, and a care home for seamen, would breathe new life into Alfold. However, the Inspector gave little weight to the need to improve the Care Ashore Charity’s facilities at Sachel Court or to the claim it would provide more jobs.
However, he did conclude that Waverley Borough Council does not have a five-year land supply!
Although the Inspector took into account that a viable agricultural holding would be fragmented by covering the Care Ashore land with housing, and there had been changes in the type, siting and mix of housing since the inquiry, this was not his main reason for a refusal.
He said his decision was based on the ‘sustainability’ of such a large development in the heart of the countryside.
In his opinion the site off Loxwood Road and Dunsfold Road, was, UNSUSTAINABLE.
He also said: In addition Dunsfold Aerodrome is identified as a new settlement.
Policy ALH1 specifies that in the period 2013 to 2032 at least 11,210 additional homes (within Waverley) will be provided: at least 125 homes are to be provided in the parish of Alfold (excluding windfall development and housing in the proposed new settlement at Dunsfold Aerodrome).
(A decision on Dunsfold Aerodrome – the largest brownfield site in the borough – is expected from the Secretary of State Sajid Javid on, or before, 17 January 2018).
While the Inspector argued the Springbok development would have a neutral effect in respect of the Area of Great Landscape Value and would comply with planning policies concerning the availability of infrastructure, facilities and services, and would deliver environmental and community benefits, the proposal involved major development in a rural area. The sustainability of the site’s location and the effect on the character and appearance of the area were important considerations, and he believed, the proposal would be contrary to the Development Plan when considered as a whole.
‘The appeal site is not in a sustainable location for a major residential development and would cause harm to the character and appearance of the area.’
‘I also find that the scale of housing in areas 2 and 3 would cause substantial harm to Alfold Crossways. I also attach considerable weight to the fact that it would cause an adverse effect on visual amenity at the recreation ground and on users of the public footpath.’
The Inspector also threw out Thakeham Homes application for costs. The two-week hearing is rumoured to have cost ‘YW’ £100,000 and Thakeham Homes in excess of £300,000.
Here’s the full decision: Appeal Decision 3155714
Here’s a bit of background from the inquiry Click here: