The Berkeley Bunnies bid to build hutches, ​not burrows has failed – spectacularly.

Waverley Planners has booted out a Phase of 130 homes destined to be part of a 425 swathe of housing between Knowle Lane and Alfold Road, Cranleigh.


You may ask – would one of the most prestigious housebuilders in the country want to construct the affordable home element of its development, below the National minimum space guidelines?

This IS Cranleigh Phase 2.2 130 Homes with 77 Homes  = 59% below Government Minimum Space Standards 

Even Worse- Why?

Having acknowledged that a number of the proposed units would not accord with space standards. Did Waverley’s planning Officers dare to tell members of the Joint Planning Committee that? 

‘Officers nevertheless consider that an appropriate standard of accommodation would be provided on site.’

The Government Technical Housing standards – nationally described space standards (2015) requires dwellings to meet certain internal space standards in order to ensure that an appropriate internal standard of accommodation has been provided for future occupiers.

 How duplicitous of Waverley’s so-called ‘planning experts’ to attempt to dupe the councillors they are there to serve, into believing there was some sort of increase in the number of affordable properties being offered by the developer. When it was patently obvious that there were not?

But councillors from across the borough were UNANIMOUS in their condemnation of Berkeley Homes’ attempt to shove up the size of more lucrative market homes and stuff vulnerable families, now and in future, into small units, below Government space standards, some in three-storey blocks!!

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 18.47.45.png

Alfold’s Councillor Kevin Deanus lambasted the developer saying it was putting …

‘Profits before people.”

“Of the 130 homes, 75 fail to meet space standards (57.7%) Berkeley’s should be ashamed how it has treated affordable homes in this matter. It is shameful that it has pushed up the 4-bed by 40sq m. This is something to do with profits. This after it promised it would build something of which Cranleigh could be proud.”

This week Berkeley’s announced that the ‘Executive homes,’ adjacent to Knowle Lane were going on the market at £1.3+m. 

One after another – including Cranleigh councillors Liz Townsend, Mary Foryszewki slammed the scheme. With Councillor Foryszewski claiming this BIG developer which history had shown had plenty of money to throw at even more planning appeals, could do it again! But her attempt to seek a deferment for talks failed.

Others, from across the borough,  claimed the scheme was so flawed it had to go…

“back to the drawing board.” 

There were also very serious concerns about the Phasing and part phasing of the project which councillors believed could lead to dangers for people living on the parts of the site already developed. It is an open secret in Cranleigh that the developer is transporting thousands of tonnes of spoil from its Rudgwick site to build up land levels and that ancient woodland has been damaged. 

My my! – What high manhole covers the BB’s are building in Cranleigh.

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 10.30.12.png

Now you see it! Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 18.40.02.png

Now you don’t!

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 18.47.00.pngScreen Shot 2018-11-14 at 18.46.09.png

Berkeley Homes Space Standards

10 thoughts on “The Berkeley Bunnies bid to build hutches, ​not burrows has failed – spectacularly.

  1. It really was a triumph for the JPC – Best one I have ever watched and I hope it sends a strong message to the Developers that Reserved Matters means there is some scrutiny and trying to Squeeze in Rabbit hutches for the affordable homes is simply not good enough.
    You really must share with us how you manage to get the Webcasts saved I note this one IS Actually up there – and I think I know why – But the one from Monday is not and that was just as important as you said they tried to drop the affordable housing from 35% to 21% (with the rest coming … a later stage)

    Come on Cranleigh – start supporting your Local Councillors – they Really Supported you on Wednesday!

  2. You know what Denise. Over here in Farnham, Halemere and Godalming the voting fodder are standing up and they are SHOUTING! Over there in the East they are sitting back quaffing their Prosecco’s and most , are ignoring what is going on around them!
    Where was the Cranleigh Society – the so-called outfit ‘Speaking Up for Cranleigh?’ Too busy supporting certain development – we undestand from some of our followers!?! It began with a roar and is now not even a wimper. Presumably it was quite content to see the whole character of their village change – four storey blocks – of below the national space standard homes? And not a word?

    It is high time they started marching on the streets – because taking a vot of no confidence – hasn’t got them anywhere – except according to their webite – nice little chats with the Potty One and the CEO at Waverey Towers over tea and biccys?

  3. A triumph for the JPC? I don’t think so, delaying the granting of permission for a year, whilst costing the taxpayer yet more money is not much of a win in my opinion.
    Unfortunately for the JPC, they have likely just scored another own goal (in terms of the credibility of their decisions, likely the third for this site alone).
    This application is the third to come before the JPC for this development and like the previous two, the officer recommendation was to allow permission. However, just like with the last two, the JPC decided they knew better and refused permission.
    It’s pretty much guaranteed that Berkeley Homes will appeal. And likely win, as they did with their last two appeals. So far for this site both JPC decisions have been overturned.

    The story so far:
    2015 – JPC Refuses Outline Planning Application
    2016 – Appeal Allowed, Outline Application Granted
    2017 – JPC Refuses Phase 1 Reserved Matters
    2017 – Appeal Allowed, Phase 1 Reserved Matters Approved

    The officer recommendation is not some afterthought that can be freely ignored, it’s based on a thorough analysis of the legal planning merits. If the JPC wants to disagree then they very need good reasons and preferably a recommendation that is only just in favour.
    Whenever the officer recommendation is to allow, the committees hands are tied, if they refuse then they have to make up grounds, which the councils offers must then attempt to defend in the appeal. Instead they should focus their efforts on adding conditions to improve the development (as done recently in Farnham).
    At the end of the day, lambasting an application and refusing against the recommendation is likely to result in full approval on appeal, with potentially inferior conditions, compared to if it had been allowed. Refusing permission when this is so clearly futile does the community a disservice by squandering an opportunity to improve a (sadly) inevitable development, and makes a mockery of the committee, which can only serve to make future successful appeals more likely.
    The Waverley ratepayer will be paying the planning department for their extra time, preparing an appeal they know they will lose, and the slight cost to Berkeley doesn’t really compensate for this. They might even apply to costs, given that this is the third appeal.
    I don’t want this development any more than anyone else, but the JPC need to recognise that as much as they might hate it, some developments are better off being allowed with extra conditions, than being allowed on appeal without any influence from the committee at all.
    Phases 2.1,3 and 4 are yet to come before the committee. Perhaps they will have a more constructive response to these…

    • Rubberstamp (really – Why don’t people have the courage of their convictions and comment with their own name?)

      I am afraid I completely disagree with you. If the Planning Officers think it is acceptable to allow for 100% of the Affordable homes to be below the Governments own Technical Standards then there is something seriously flawed with the Planning system. They are the ones who go through the Plans with the Developers – Perhaps if THEY ensured that Plans proposed at Reserved Matters met those standards then the JPC need not have had to Refuse this application.

      Maybe you are part of the “System” and that is why you defend their position? It is all good and well saying that their recommendations are “based on a thorough analysis of the legal planning merits..” on many occasions their lack of Local knowledge means that the Tick-Box exercise they seem to go through is fundamentally flawed,

      I can mention one such application in Alfold where the developer put forward a reasonable Application for housing in Alfold – but was told in no uncertain terms that they would have to go back and rethink and increase those numbers significantly – which they did – It was Lost at appeal and a smaller development was granted – Who is wasting Tax payers money in this instance?

      Surely the whole point of having Local Councillors on the Planning committees is that they do have the local knowledge that Officers do not, and in some cases (not all) I would say they also perhaps have some greater experience than some of the Younger Planning officers. I am not dissing the Officers – But they are paid to do a job and they should do it properly. In this instance I got the impression that they felt that Cranleigh should be grateful to Berkeley Homes for giving them Affordable housing..Unlike some of the other Developers who try to reduce the number allocated in various Phases with the promise that they will be made up for at a later date TBC…. If they actually Build out the whole Development.

      So I for one am glad that we have the JPC and Area Committees and that now that we do have LPP1 they finally have the “Teeth” to stand up against some of these applications and to inform when Developers breach Conditions which as I am sure you are aware is becoming a more common occurrence.

  4. Looks like my last comment has been censored/blocked. I too have found that the livestreams appear only once while they are streaming and are not always available later. Worse still the archived videos are only uploaded in 240p quality, very poor for 2018. The actual livestream is higher resolution and much better, it’s actually possible to read the text some of the time!

  5. Rubberstamp – we do not censor any comments, unless they are abusive. Though sometimes they do take a little while to crop up on the system.

    In response to your comments. Thankfully we live in a democracy and the planning system is a well-tried and tested system, which, in the majority of cases, creates development to enhance the environment and provide homes which complement our towns and villages.

    Why should this constant threat of appeals prevent councillors doing what they believe is right for the people they are elected to serve. Why should they allow affordable homes to be built below the national space standards? Why should developers ride roughshod over the local planning system time and time again? Of course an appeal will follow so the developer can force their will on this once rural village, because they can. History shows that. But that doesn’t make it right, any more than damaging ancient woodland is right.

    Many villagers embraced this development – believing it to be a neccessry evil that would provide some decent affordable, and market homes. So instead of going through another appeal, why not work with local people? Listen to their genuine concerns, provide homes everyone can be proud of?

    In this particular instance conditions would not have solved a fundamental difference of opinion. A view shared by councillors from every part of the Waverley Borough.

    Sadly, many of us who live in the borough and who care passionately about its future will not be shocked that yet another inspector will ignore local opinion. But if that threat prevents our local councillors having a different opinion, then we might just as well bin the ballot box and let planning officers and civil servants design the places, in which they rule we should live.

    • The trouble is that local councillors have simply have too little power. If refusing against advice makes for an instant win at appeal, then the ballot box is already most of the way into the bin.
      I blame central government and the impossible housing targets forced onto Waverley, Surrey and the South generally. From their perspective more homes equals more votes and in such safe Tory seats they have nothing to lose, local anger has little effect in Whitehall.

      Ideally local government would be strengthened with planning decisions by elected representatives being the final stage with no straightforward appeal. Only then would local people have a meaningful say on local development, for the time being they have almost none at all.

      My comment only appears to be a defence for developers because it attacks the futility of refusal as an option for the JPC to take. The only realisable power they have is to allow good developments against the councils wishes, as seen in Alfold, hopefully we will see more like this.
      In these cases Waverley should rename “Refused” to “Deferred for approval by Planning Inspectorate” because that’s almost all it means.

      I do agree that adding conditions is only a little better than simply giving approval, but when refusal is a non option it all seems rather a waste of time. Perhaps refusal looks better from the perspective of local people, if it promotes local debate and protest, then it might be better to forget adding conditions and just refuse every time.
      Only if local people get involved and speak out can there be even the slightest effect on developers. I imagine that even peaceful protest wouldn’t stop these developments. The system is flawed and broken, and until it’s fixed the developers top hat will continue to fly up and over the local planning system and straight passed go, with their shareholders collecting healthy dividends. For developers, Monopoly in Waverley is an easy game to play.

  6. Rubberstamp – I send apologies – You are so right – There is a degree of apathy that I find I cannot understand – But I have only lived here for 4+ years so I know I am a newbie But I am beginning to understand the local connections in our village thanks to a brilliant rare book that was recommended to me. I have no right to speak for local residents that may have their own local issues – But I do have the right to speak up for Planning applications that are just Wrong in Alfold/Dunsfold and Cranleigh and I do – Obviously just to annoy the PO’s!

    Planning Conditions are useless – as we have seen on so many occasions – and it annoys me that Developers and PO’s think they can get away with blatant disregard for them

    I am Fed up with Planning that has no relevance to local issues – but I understand your comments. You obviously know what is going on – Be brave enough to step up to the plate and say who you are – otherwise I am talking to an imoji (or something!!)

    We need more people speaking up for all of us here in Waverley – Please do

  7. Perhaps that’s the wayto go? Let the Government Inspector’s make all our local decisions? In numerous cases they do that anyway. As more and more of our green asnd pleasant countryside goes under concrete, many are bailing out of local government. Surrey County Council’s leader has just issued a seingeing attack on his Tory masters at Westminster. By cutting funding, which in turn is reducing the ability of local councils to fund services, they will simply disappear – and Big Brother will relieve them of even more control.

    As for local people speaking out – most are punchdrunk – working their socks off to pay their giant mortgages in one of the most expensive places to live in the country – after they have stood for hours on crowded trains (if they turn up?)

  8. Pingback: A pat on the back for councillors who stood firm to improve the Berkeley Bunnies application. - Waverley WebWaverley Web

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.