We hate to say we told you so – but here’s yesterday’s post and here are the posts this little four-legged friend will soon be walking on!
A TORY TRICK – proposed by The TT’s whip Cllr Michael Goodridge who can be relied upon to pull a rabbit out of the hat when the going gets rough. Proposed ‘A Planning Condition’ to approve the outline scheme for 200 homes in the hope, on a wing and a prayer, that the developer will reduce it to 180 later!
We should have put money on it at Bet Fred, but the odds were not good – because ‘Your Waverley” put the site in the Local Plan Part 1 – not the Government Inspector but ‘YW’ – he just approved it! And last night consent was granted in outline- with an informative to developer Stretton Milford – that it is unlikely to get more than 180 homes on the golf course when it seeks detailed permission later.
Once upon a time, everyone at Waverley thought it was THE perfect site close to a station, schools, the A3, Milford village and nearby Godalming. In fact, local parish councils, hundreds of residents and most councillors didn’t actually like the scheme on Green Belt, on the flood plain, and believed it may not be deliverable as it is covered by a Covenant restricting its use.
But once again Betty’s nifty boot scored from the sidelines. Oh my – we will miss her.
For nearly three hours councillors, including the ward member, slammed the scheme. Most claimed there was insufficient information, far too many unknowns including pavement improvements and bridge widening that were promised. Improvements that may not be in the developers’ gift, without the co-operation of Milford Golf Course!
But there was full support from Cranleigh Cllr Mary Foryszewski who, for the second time in just under a month, told her colleagues how much Cranleigh, with no station and very poor infrastructure, had repeatedly suffered from overdevelopment, and it was time for the rest of the borough take its share.
In other words, you stuffed us and now it’s our turn to stuff you?
She went native after Waverley’s head planning honcho threatened the council’s Planning Committee that if they refused the scheme towns like Farnham and Cranleigh, without the protection of Green Belt would suffer. As Waverley, now requires a 20% buffer – and would not have a 5-year land supply, as had been proved recently in two overturned appeals! Cllr Liz Townsend supported the scheme but called for, and highway officers agreed, too, bigger crossing points for walkers, Station Road should be wider and only 2-storey properties should be built.
Tim House, speaking on behalf of objectors lambasted the scheme calling it an “affront to common sense which flew in the face of public opinion.” He warned the land was covered by a restrictive Covenant that could prevent it ever being developed.”
He accused officers of coming up with a “cocktail of conditions” that the more realistic members of the committee should object to.
Witley Parish Council’s spokesman Cllr Gillian McCalden said the golf course was not the right place for development, and their Neighbourhood Plan had included far better locations for housing it recognised was badly needed. She predicted severe traffic congestion in Station Road, and although all the statutory consultees who had originally objected -Thames Water, SCC, Highways; Natural England; Environment Agency, had now done a volte-face, and changed their minds, saying they were “now satisfied” –
However, she Said: “we are not satisfied.”
The Ward Councillor Bob Upton said he didn’t blame Waverley planning officers:
“You are just doing your job and in the passage of time, you will have moved on to pastures new as have most of your colleagues, leaving behind many very frustrated villagers.”
Cllr Paul Follows said from the outset he would object to the application on the grounds that it was overdevelopment on a Flood Plain, off a narrow busy road, where no proper paths were provided to the station – unless, according to officers, this could be negotiated sometime in the future! The Local Plan, which he said he had not voted for, had stipulated 180 homes, and therefore 200 should be refused. Claiming the developer should be punished for its greed!
Almost every councillor agreed that The boardwalk – of an unspecified height- necessary for villagers to reach a SANG in Flood Plain 3 – was inappropriate.
Councillor Jerry Hyman argued the scheme should be refused on the grounds that it ticked all the boxes as an EIA development and under the law required a proper Environmental Impact Assessment. as the site was above the required threshold.
But as usual, politics came into play, he was slapped down again… but nobody could shut him up from warning that a time bomb could be ticking for the future of the environment and everyone should be considering the consequences of their actions would have on the borough’s endangered species.
Others said, the pavements were not wide enough and the extra traffic generated by the Dunsfold Development, Aarons Hill and others would exacerbate the situation at Milford Crossroads which was already at capacity.
Councillors questioned the County Highways’ predicted traffic flows and the size of the HGV’s from Tuesley Farm which regularly uses the narrow country lane.
Councillor Nick Holder called the scheme – “a non-starter” and when the River Ock floods at it did in 2013- no traffic would move along the road- and where the SANG – which was- ” neither Special nor Alternative; nor Natural nor Greenspace – by any stretch of the imagination. “This scheme is complete nonsense, I won’t be voting for it.”
So there you have it folks, once again the TORY JPC has caved in as they have on most major developments at the expense of the community – predominantly out of fear of appeal or planning inspectorate intervention due to appeals lost.
Full marks to Witley Parish Council which despite its objection, has wrung out of a developer a dumper truck full of money towards a host of improvements for Milford’s roads, schools, and community facilities. Some of which was squeezed out of it in the last few days!
Perhaps if the former Chairman of Cranleigh Parish Council Mary Foryszewski had done the same – Cranleigh `New Town’ might not now be almost bereft of any improvements?
However, is that another Judicial Review we spy heading over Hascombe Hill? Because there are plenty of people out there in Milford with the will and the means to challenge this development. And based on some of the admissions made last night, there could be some very strong grounds to do so.