Developers can grab as many gardens as they like in Cranleigh, Bramley – in Godalming, even in Haslemere – but in Farnham, councillors are telling developers – to keep their earthmovers off Farnham’s lawns.
Despite ‘expert’ advice from council officers to grant a host of applications Farnham councillors lined up at the Western area planning committee to refuse all but one. Including an application by Waverley Borough Council for two flats on an unofficial car park in Ryle Road! One Farnham wag even asked officers if the council could appeal the decision made by itself for itself?
They argued that the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan, The Farnham Design statement and the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework all oppose “garden grabbing.” Because squeezing a property or two, or three or a dozen or so, spoils the character of towns and should be resisted.
Well, surprise, surprise, garden grabbing is alive and well in and around Cranleigh New Town and all the nearby villages. Even the garden centres are throwing in the trowel and joining the cash and grab brigade.
So WW asks – why is it ok to grab every garden in the East, North and South of Waverley but not in the West?
It couldn’t possibly be due to the wight of objections from Farnham residents and neighbours of these proposed development sites – with an election in the offing – could it?
Because garden grabbing – mainly called windfall sites – has its own section in the Local Plan Part 1 and Part 2 which is the adopted policy of ‘Your Waverley.’ So will those disgruntled developers be reminding Inspectors when these sites all go to appeal – that is happens everywhere in the borough except here in Farnham?
But it was quite a different story this week when the Eastern Planning Committee determined a Bramley application. A site in the Green Belt, which councillors refused, went to appeal, was granted by an Inspector and has now come back for a much larger property in the garden of Mill Farm Cottage, Mill Lane. A scheme that removed hedges changes the character of the lane, creates another entrance – despite the Appeal Inspector refusing one – and is 25% larger than he allowed. So what sort of a signal does that send out to developers?
Oh! And By-Pass Byham voted for it!