Backward Point, Ewhurst.

Despite huge local objection- Waverley Planners recommended approval of an additional nine homes – three of which are “affordable” added to 32 already granted to  Miller Homes in ‘Cherry Tree Lane’ Ewhurst.

Hey, Ho, where did localism go? Certainly not to Ewhurst!

However, Members of its joint planning committee said an emphatic No to the scheme.

Despite the fact that the access road has already obliterated a mature hedge screen between the new development and bungalows in Gransden Close – Waverley Planning ‘so-called experts’ are “satisfied’ that another nine homes can be built. So there could now be 42 homes on the site of a single-storey bungalow at Backward Point, Cranleigh Road. Ewhurst.

Carole Cockburn said: “Quite frankly I think this is awful and I remember going to the site visit, standing in the road and thinking – really – but we lost the first phase on appeal, this is a poor design, is cramped and overlooks nearby homes. This is overdevelopment of the site trying to squeeze in another nine.”

A suggestion from officers that obscure glazing could be used to prevent overlooking brought a fierce response from Cranleigh’s pocket rocket Elizabeth Townsend.

“If it overlooks other properties, then we shouldn’t approve it, not rely upon the use of obscure glazing!”

She wanted to know? Why wasn’t play space included, why should the village recreation ground provide the play space? Had the impact on the public footpath been assessed?  Where were the pedestrian refuges the narrow access road? What about the damage to mature trees?

Why are we being asked to approve something that doesn’t meet the county council’s parking standards asked Cllr Steve Cosser? On and on, members’ objections rolled, why were huge properties overlooking small bungalows causing loss of light? And why was this developer cramming even more properties onto the dangerous access onto the Cranleigh Road?

The ward councillor Val Henry said: “You would have thought county highways might have raised an eyebrow over this 45 homes to the hectare development, but it appears to have washed its hands because Cherry Tree Lane is a private road!”

Objections like these below counted for nothing when officers recommended approval of the application on Wednesday.

  • Ewhurst is served by a reasonable road from Cranleigh but only small track roads from Shere and the road to Horsham and Ockley are not up to standard for additional units.
  • –  Water supply unreliable
  • –  Power supply unreliable.
  • –  Inspectorate has turned down other developments in Ewhurst at appeal due to local housing density
  • –  All the development in Ewhurst is in one area.
  • –  The Council refused a 13 unit scheme on this site due to poor access.
  • –  The site access is totally unsuitable.
  • –  There is no passing place on the access track.
  • –  Many vehicles will have to park on the road.
  • –  The track is named Cherry Tree Lane which could encourage drivers to try to use it as a cut-through when it is, in fact, a cul-de-sac.
  • –  The access track is also a public footpath.
  • –  Overdevelopment
  • –  This development will result in demand for a new school, doctors surgery, waste tip and road rebuilding.
  • –  Loss of privacy and light to neighbouring dwellings.
  • –  Emergency vehicle access is not suitable.
  • –  Out of character development.
  • –  The allocation of houses for Ewhurst has been met and exceeded.
  • –  Thames Water has already stated that they cannot supply water to the proposed development of 58 homes at Firethorn Farm.

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Two of the “affordable homes” with gardens of 10 metres are smaller than the National minimum space-standards – but this standard has not been adopted by ‘Your Waverley.’

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Ewhurst Parish Council has raised “Serious concerns over the restricted access to the site from Cranleigh Road, believing that by adding another nine units to those already consented would generate even more traffic onto a bell-mouth where conflict already exists. It believes the development is “cramped” and out-of-character with the density of properties in Ewhurst, and will overshadow the property “Sixpenny Buckle.” The tree cover will be compromised and there is inadequate parking, which could lead to cars parking elsewhere on the development making it difficult for emergency and delivery vehicles and which could lead to vehicles parking on the recreation ground.  The one-bed property has NO amenity space.

The application was refused by 17 votes to 5.

Then,  Chairman Richard Cole,  who voted for the application, asked the officers: “Are you content with the reasons?”

WW asks – have we another Isherwood in the making?

7 thoughts on “Backward Point, Ewhurst.

  1. Crikes – talk about Shoe-horning them in….. Why couldn’t that bit of land be used to create some open space and the LEAP and provide a buffer to the neighbouring properties? As Liz T Pointed out – If Obscure glazing has to be provided to prevent overlooking from habitable rooms then there is something very wrong with the design

  2. To be fair on Chairman Richard Cole, he did whisper (before hastily turning his mic off) that the result wasn’t a surprise (or words to that effect).

    This application will, of course, go to appeal. Guess who is fighting the committee’s corner in that appeal? Waverley planning officers. The same officers who recommended its approval. Also the same officers who seem to ever more brazenly fight against the committee and try their hardest to get these developments through.

    At this point rejecting the scheme only delays it’s implementation as the officers clearly won’t want/be able to defend the appeal. After all, they agree with the appellants position!

    With the planning committee unprepared and relying on the officers to make the reasons for refusal, it’s no surprise that Waverley is losing appeals constantly.

    Last month the committee was considering an alternative plan for 3 houses in the car park of Branksome house in Godalming. Too bad that the previous application for 9 houses was allowed on appeal just over a fortnight later. This is a recent example, there are many many more.

    Changing the committee has made a difference, but at the end of the day it’s the planning officers who call the shots. For now the developers seem to have them on side.

    • There brings us onto an interesting point. A point that we are considering writing a more expanded post on.

      Perhaps someone could tell us why a Consultant who works for and with developers – namely Patrick Arthur – gets to be a senior planning officer at Waverley? And why that very same planning officer is working with developers in and around the eastern villages from his practice just outside Horsham?

      Strange old world isn’t it – no wonder we have a developer-led planning system in this borough and why it is so difficult for officers’ to recommend refusing anything.

      Everyone knows that planning officers and developers – including a former chief executive was working to bury the eastern villages in housing. The same villages where both new and older homes aren’t selling.

      If we aren’t careful we will end up as Ireland did – you know where Mr Arthurs comes from – with whole ghost towns resembling the Marie Celeste.

      • I think it might be worthwhile to make a FOI to find out the proportion of successful appeals from the committee where the officers recommendation was to allow. From what I can tell 100% of these appeals are allowed.

        Some of these such as Green Lane Farm in Badshot Lee have been allowed with an order that Waverley pay the appellants costs. That application was to remove some “affordable” homes and was recommended for approval but refused by the committee.

        Fresh from that success, the developers plan to top it up to 50 homes (from 43) in a new application. No extra affordable homes of course!

  3. Yep! Shouldn’t be called Cherry Tree Lane – should be called Shoebox Alley? Yet another rubbish development, that will either go to appeal or come back with a few less houses. What are these developers doing to our rural villages?

    And… what the hell is the Chairman on? Or has he turned into yet another planning officers’ patsy like all the other incumbants of that particular chair?

    How awful does an application have to be to get a recommendation from Waverley planning officers to refuse?

  4. You are right Rubberstamp – The Green Lane, Badshot Lea application and appeal are prime examples of why local councils might just as well put up and shut up – because it appeas central Government is the new planning authority.

    As for parish councils – why are all these dedicated volunteers giving up their valuable time when nobody listens to a word the grass roots say any more. As for Neighbourhood Plans which have a huge cost, both in time effort and money – what on earth are they for?

    Somebody tell us please? Because in most towns and villages the horse has already bolted.

    As for officers attempting to defend appeals. Perhaps the public should go along to a few public inqiries, they could be in for a big surprise. Because every Developer’s Barrister that ever there was is having a picnic!

  5. OK WW – Tell us how to apply for the FOI and I will happily do it! Alas attending meetings etc… Is just not feasible with my work etc. Only been back from London 1/2 hr and unable to even think straight! – I had no idea the Officers that had recommended Granting Approval were then representing WBC against the Developers – Sorry to my Pea-Brain that simply smacks of the ridiculous and vaguely corrupt???

    There is something Very wrong with this system and it need to be looked into

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