Roses and Ranunculus, Delphiniums and Daisies, Lupins and Lilies and an abundance of high-end cut flowers will not be blooming at a budding new business thanks to ‘Your Waverley’s’ planners.
The Southern Area Planning committee has REFUSED to allow applicants on land owned by the Countryside Restoration Trust to set up six polytunnels in which to grow flowers on agricultural land in the green belt.
Seventeen letters of objection from residents and insufficient information from the applicants about the “modest” enterprise was enough to wilt councillors’ enthusiasm for the project.
Although objectors argued the development in the countryside should not be allowed, the applicants argued –
where else would you set up a small-scale agricultural type business other than – in the countryside?
Residents, including neighbours, claimed there would be a loss of their “visual amenities” in other words, their views of the countryside.
Perhaps they should consider themselves fortunate? Most of our views are presently being obliterated by bricks walls, some of them 3-storeys high.
The applicants claim the proposed development was “modest” and flowers needed the protection of polytunnels to cope with the vagaries of the British climate and every effort had been made to site them as far away as possible from neighbours. Hedges would be planted along with a swathe of wildflowers.
Officers explained the produce would be for local and London florists, florists through a wholesaler visiting once a day and would employ two full-time local people and some casual labour during the flowering season This would produce minimal traffic.
However, neighbours think differently and listed a host of concerns including the poor access, dangers on Green Lane for cars, pedestrians and horse-riders. The poly-tunnels would cause light pollution (despite the fact there would be no lighting) would reflect sunlight and could attract thieves.
No attempt had been made by the applicant to address their concerns and there was no provision for a workshop, washrooms or toilets. No provision had been made for composting, recycling or general waste. And, no provision for storage of chemicals and fuel.
However, the applicants maintained…
Despite officers supporting the business, they received a few veiled slaps on the wrists for not ensuring Surrey highways provided robust traffic information.
The Waverley Web couldn’t help wondering when did SCC highways ever provide “robust traffic information?”
Officers should not have advised applicants to put in three separate planning applications, each for two poly-tunnels, six in total – to save the applicant planning fees! And, for supporting an application with insufficient detailed information.
Oh dear! Waverley’s CEO is going to get a letter from Cllr Robert Knowless (who thinks he knows more) asking him why the applicant was advised by officers of ways to save money when Waverley’s planning function was running at a 60% loss!
Ye Gods! Planning Officers trying to give a helping hand to get an embryo local business off the ground – perish the thought!
The scrappy voting procedure on three identical applications, which was almost impossible to hear or understand, was 4 votes in favour, 4 votes against and one abstention so were ALL REFUSED on Chairman “Oh dear” Beaman’s casting vote.