For donkey’s years, an Alfold farmer attempted to gain planning permission to build on his land at Linden Farm – even tried to convert the piggeries. NO, GO! said Waverley planners, again, and again, and is applications were…
Then following his tragic death, villagers still talk about it they tell us, his family tried. again.
Mainly on highway grounds and objections from the former chairman of the parish council WHO lives opposite.
Then along comes, Surrey County Council that doesn’t require planning permission, just consults the borough council and hey ho – here we go! Planning permission granted.
Now, parents have criticised Surrey County Council for attempting to reduce the size of an activity centre on the site of a residential home for adults with autism.
Work has already begun on the building of Linden Farm in Rosemary Lane, Alfold, but parents of adults with autism will move in there say they are concerned with last-minute changes to plans.
They have lodged a formal complaint about Surrey County Council’s handling of the build and say it is “immoral” that £360,000 raised by The Simon Trust to help fund the centre has been turned down.
Sally Lawrence, whose son Simon has severe autism and will be one of 10 residents moving into the complex is chairman of The Simon Trust.
Addressing councillors at Surrey County Council planning and regulatory committee meeting on Wednesday, (17 October), she said the size of the activity centre and removing the horticultural area would negatively impact residents.
She said: “People with autism need space. Without space and meaningful activities, both indoor and out it will not be fit for purpose.”
Husband Peter Lawrence questioned why the cash they had raised had not been accepted and used by the council and urged them to work with the Trust and parents.
He said: “All we want is for someone to listen to people who actually know and understand autism. We want Linden Farm to be a success.”
Planning permission was granted in 2017 for the former pig farm, but since then further design work has taken place and “minor material amendments” to one of the conditions has been made include reducing the size of the activity block by 45 per cent.
Social workers from Surrey County Council Adult Social Care defended the changes saying it was “a positive change which offers a person-centred and flexible space” and they said the space for gardening will be revisited once the building work has completed.
Accommodation includes five self-contained units with overnight staff quarters, a share accommodation block plus activity centre with offices and staff facilities.
Councillors deferred the application in a bid to open dialogue between Surrey County Council adult social care teams and The Simon Trust and to ensure the complex becomes a centre of excellence for adults with autism.
Mr and Mrs Lawrence welcomed the decision and said after the meeting they would be open to discussions on how the council can use the money they have raised.