Waverley councillors have approved a scheme to bring Chapel Fields into the heart of Alfold despite objections from planning ‘experts.’
As outrageous as it may seem it took a determined developer to devise a housing scheme that would fund basic highway safety measures!- Vital road improvements have been called for but ignored for decades by the county highway authority! But it is partly due to Surrey County Council’s own development on Lindon Farm adjoining Chapel Fields that prompted councillors to overthrow their planning officers advice to … REFUSE!
Thanks to the landowners – and a determined Agent – Alfold will get now get 8 new homes – from two to four bedroom, a shop and cafe, a play area, and a central village green – but more important than all those put together – a safer highway through the village.
Waverley councillors, some of whom have a personal connection with the tiny Surrey/Sussex border village were able to recount their own personal experiences of one of the most dangerous country roads in the borough.
The Loxwood Road is a popular route for lorry traffic from the Shoreham Docks, and a busy link into the A281 Alfold Crossways a scene of numerous accidents. One several years ago, saw a female motorist die outside the village shop. Her death brought appeals for the highway authority to provide safety measures.
Alfold Councillor Kevin Deanus said his village had recently been bombarded with development. Development both “inappropriate and insensitive” and which had provided the village with “absolutely no benefits.” The application before the eastern committee offered numerous benefits welcomed by many, including the parish council. He claimed SCC’s development nearby had, “changed everything.”
Cranleigh, and former Alfold councillor, Mary Foryszewski said the scheme would “enhance the Conservation Area,” and here, at last, was a developer putting something back into the community.
Cranleigh’s Jeannette Stennett predicted the scheme would open up the village – give it a new heart and anyone who had ever driven from the bottom of the Loxwood Road past the sharp bend on the hill, would welcome with open arms the traffic calming measures. Saying, It was what Alfold had needed for a very long time. Alfold had lost pubs, a fine restaurant and with the Development at nearby Dunsfold now approved, this thriving community deserved more. “I am giving this all my support.’
Councillor Stewart Stennett said he had personal experience of his own traffic accident there, saying the extra 20 car parking spaces for the Chapel, and residents parking would be welcomed by all.
Bramley’s By-Pass Byham who always welcomes traffic improvements, said in all his time at Waverley he couldn’t recollect Alfold Parish Council ever supporting “anything” – so would definitely supporting this application.
However, Wonersh’s Grouchy Goodridge didn’t believe the shop or the cafe were viable and the scheme was just a ploy to get housing development onto the site. The councillor who regularly reveals he is permanetly joined at the hip of planning officers with superglue argued against. “The developer has dangled a carrot in front of us? So what happens when these facilities are unviable? I certainly won’t be voting for it.”
After Ewhurst’s Val Henry spoke of her “excitement” about a scheme bringing with a raft of benefits for Alfold people. It was then left to Chairman David Else to call for a vote?
Despite a bit of confusion, which was not helped by officers seemingly completely disinterested in advising members on important conditions to be imposed on the scheme it was agreed by 10 votes to two. With Groucho and Chairman David Else voting against.