Cranleigh New Town has become an established part of Waverley’s bid to cover the Eastern part of the borough’s countryside in concrete.
And this week another green field looked destined to bite the dust.
However, Waverley Planners unanimously refused by 17 votes to give Phase 1 of the detailed scheme consent.
Instead, deferring it for further consultation.
Nick Vrijland and Alan Spriggs’ scheme for the first 67 of 265 homes in the area now dubbed – ‘Poor Old Elmbridge.’ People living in the area say they are “sick and tired” of the endless disruption and noise.
Councillors were at one in claiming there were insufficient affordable homes – and described the design of the proposed ‘contemporary’ housing estate as Marmite – ‘you either love it or you hate it’- and most hated it!
Members claimed that there were insufficient guarantees that the Public Parkland promised as part of the overall scheme would ever be provided. Citing this, and the high provision of affordable homes offered in the outline consent, as being the prime reasons why planning permission was granted, so far from the village centre, in the first place. They were unimpressed that this was now being degraded to only 14 affordable homes – 21%. Neither were they satisfied that three homes earmarked to provide funding for the parkland’s upkeep in perpetuity would be sufficient?
However, the council’s planning ‘experts’ were happy to support the scheme despite knowing that until the 200th home was occupied in Phases 2 and 3 the public park would not necessarily go ahead.
Despite repeated requests, officers were unable to provide members with a timetable for Phases 2 and 3 of the A2 Dominion development, only to say the timing was – “fluid.”
“So what if the developer decides that 37% affordable housing granted at outline stage for all three phases of 265 homes – now reduced to 21% in Phase 1 is not economically viable? Or it’s flogged on to yet another developer. And, how could specific homes be handed to a Trust that had not been formed “ Asked Councillor Liz Townsend? How many trees would be sacrificed and why did it need metal entrance gates in what was once a rural lane?
Farnham’s Jerry Hyman asked – what if only 198 of the 200 homes were built? How long would it be before the public park was actually provided? What would happen if the developer goes bust, or cannot complete the remainder of the phases, or wants to reduce the affordable home provision in the later phases? Far too much confusion – too many unanswered questions! “Sounds to me like someone wanting to do the profitable bits first – this is could prove to be very dangerous!
The council’s officers and solicitor struggled to answer most of the questions posed by the increasingly sceptical members of Waverley’s senior planning committee. Particularly when the lawyer suggested that if the further phases did not come forward …
Waverley may have to buy the parkland – or seek legal redress from the developer!
By this time, all Cranleigh Parish Council’s worst nightmares were being played out at once in Waverley’s council chamber. Fears and confusion heightened yet further when the officer said 35% per cent affordable housing would be provided in the Phasing Plan for the remainder of the development site on the other side of Alfold Road, but revealed there was no actual phasing plan!
By our calculations, fewer AH homes (21%) being provided in Phase 1 would result in over 40% plus affordable required in Phases 2 and 3. So what guarantees did the council have that this figure would be met?
Mike Band – said Waverley needed to fire a shot across the developer’s bows, telling it to provide the required number of affordable homes they had received permission for!
Responding to officers comments that Cranleigh’s Berkeley Homes development was also phased – and only Part 1 was under construction – Councillor Patricia Ellis bit the bullet!
“That was granted by an Inspector and the phasing was agreed by him. She said Cranleigh had so many properties being built by so many developers, and she was suspicious that not all will ever be completed. “Some developers are already talking about phasing developments themselves – and that it would depend on the market whether or not they would actually ever be finished. – and who is going to fill all these homes?”
Cranleigh Councillor Liz Townsend told the Joint Planning Committee if the promised affordable homes and public parkland was not provided it would be a complete betrayal of the people of Cranleigh!
In the officers’ report, the applicant confirmed that, subject to ongoing investigations and pre-application advice, planning applications for Phases 2 and 3 are likely to be submitted to the Council for consideration in Spring 2019 and Autumn 2019 respectively. These dates are fluid and may be subject to change.