Witley’s draft Neighbourhood plan goes under the microscope​.

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Residents of Witley and neighbouring Hambledon have an opportunity to view how their neighbourhood could look over the next decade.

Sections 1 -3 are introductions and overall vision and as such merely state known facts.

In  Section 4: 4.9 the parish council wants 30.5% of new housing to be 4+ bedrooms but at the same time,  will actively resist planning applications from people wishing to extend their existing 2-3 bedroom homes saying that this needs to be justified.

(Some may remember that Government once had an ‘extensions policy’ to retain smaller properties, particularly in rural villages.  Two years ago the Government bought in a ‘temporary policy’ to allow an extension on detached properties up to 8 metres, slightly less for semi-detached properties. This had now been made ‘permanent.’

So sorry Neighbourhood Plan – no can do?

Here at the Waverley Web we would put the boot on the other foot and ask why build such a large proportion of 4+ bedroom homes if the requirement is for smaller homes? Couldn’t be because the developers want more executive homes could it?

4.10 What do the plan’s authors mean by social and intermediate tenures? Would that be a few rental and part ownership “affordable” homes? Affordable homes in Surrey are surely an oxymoron. As for “part rent part buy” – ask some of those poor young souls who have been trapped in properties, they now cannot sell! Why? Because devious developers who over-value properties to line their own pockets are making the lives of the young almost impossible.

4.17  States that gardens must be at least 10m deep x width of the house (= 50-60sm) or in the case of flats a balcony of 3sm but in Policy ND8 it states that balconies should be 3sm and gardens 5sm either there is a typo or no garden is required?

4.23 & 24 There is no comfort to be found here as to whether there will be sufficient water and sewage supply being available as this is left for the developer to discuss with Thames Water.  Presumably, they will look only at the development before them as they have in Cranleigh with little improvement made. Developers, there are currently disposing of sewerage into holding tanks, and letting the affluent’s effluent out slowly into the system!

This is unacceptable. Large developments tacked on to existing, and in some cases elsewhere in the borough ancient, sewage and water supplies have proven to be insufficient leading to overloaded systems unable to cope, and breaking down.

Section 6 includes a new Medical Centre of 12,500sq.ft. but no mention of where this new centre will be? This new centre will include a new pharmacy but what will this mean for the existing service provided by independent pharmacies such as Milford Pharmacy who provide excellent service?

It appears that there is little space to increase the size of the existing infant schools but no mention is made of how the increased numbers will be catered for. This should not be a problem for the senior school as Rodborough is on a 25-acre site and either rebuilding or expanding existing premises are options providing the funds are forthcoming from Surrey County Council?  Without assurances of funding for the provision of education space no permissions for building 480 new homes should be given.

Our Witly reporter says she hopes that something more substantial than proposals for a travel plan is in the offing. Too often problems like this are kicked down the road, the expansion takes place but no buses are provided leaving parents living further out left with no option other than to use a car.

Section 7. While it is true that there are good links via main roads and the railway the reliance on cars remains overwhelming because of poor bus services. The objective of improving the experience for pedestrians and supporting a steady flow of traffic while mitigating the impact on the environment is pie in the sky. There is no public transport to speak of and approx 480 new homes with 2-3 cars each means at least 1000 more vehicles just in Milford as most of the new homes will be there.

Neither are there plans to improve or repair the existing road system so congestion is inevitable. There is much talk of new footpaths but where are the guarantees they will be built.

7.12 specifically mentions the much-needed improvements to the Station Lane/Church Road junction. Other than traffic lights there is very little that can be done to improve a junction that is already a problem before the 200 new homes are built on Milford Golf Club. If there is a solution it would have been spelt out in the Plan. Unless new wider roads are planned (and they are not) then traffic exiting the new developments onto existing roads will be a problem.  Talk of New Highway Design in Policy T2 (page43) is wishful thinking.

7.14 States that requirements for charging points will be a necessity. Recent planning consents given by Waverley Plånners have included more of these, but earlier developments have not?

Travel policies T4, 5 & 7 are laudable and would that they could be achieved but we saw all these types of proposals in Farnham and we know what a mess that is. Wishing for funds sufficient to mitigate traffic congestion, providing sustainable travel modes to reduce pollution levels and accessible transport for the disabled will require far more money than the developers can, or will, be prepared to contribute.

SCC is responsible for providing good safe roads and has proved it cannot keep up with the rising number of potholes.

It appears that the majority of the 480 homes will be built in Milford on two large sites.

The development of the  Milford  Golf Course land has been granted so nothing can be done about that. Unless of course legal covenants covering the site are challenged in the Courts? Last night Waverley Planners gave developers the go-ahead to build homes on Milford Golf Course.

The Secretts’ land is a brownfield site and therefore preferable to any greenfield site. The combined development on these two large sites should also prevent any development in the smaller villages/hamlets of Enton, Wormley, Brook and Sandhills.

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