TROUBLE AT MILL!
Plans for a 67-bedroom retirement home on green belt land in Godalming have been met with widespread criticism.
The development at Westbrook Mills would see 21 independent and 46 assisted living units built, a third of a mile from the town’s railway station adjacent to development already consented at Westbrook Mills.
Once upon a time even Waverley considered moving into the Westbrook Mills buildings.
Waverley’s Local Plan says the borough must deliver 11,210 more homes by 2032 – 1,520 of them in Godalming.
Yet the proposals have already drawn criticism from the town council, which has raised concerns about the impact it would have on the environment, transport pressure and safety.
A spokesman said: “The proposed development is on the green belt, with no exceptional case for removal from the green belt having been made, and it threatens the biodiversity of the adjoining meadows and countryside.”
Robert Pryer, who lives on the same road as the proposed site, said: “The scale of the development is out of character and appears to be two large buildings shoe-horned into a very small footprint.
“The space should be enhanced and more trees planted, not unnecessary destruction of existing trees and natural habitat.
“I have already noticed animal displacement from Ockford Ridge – we should not even consider this application.”
Network Rail has also objected and launched an internal investigation, as it believes the plans impose a risk to its rail infrastructure.
It noted the buildings could adversely affect rare birds such as the nightjar, woodlark and Dartford warbler, which are not just rare in the UK but internationally too.
A new vehicle access point for those leaving the site will be created, and a decision on the application is expected to be made in March.
Will we finally see in our life time an application refused on the Advice of Natural England which actually looked at the impact of development on the Special Protection Area’s rare birds! JHMoses!!