Waverley Planners could have a riot on its hands if it allows the removal of heritage trees developers claim could blight Blightwells.

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Letters from angry residents are pouring onto ‘Your Waverley’s’ planning portal opposing a joint application by Crest Nicholson (CN) & Surrey County Council (SCC). 

The furious townsfolk of our beleaguered town are calling on Waverley councillors to – “stand up and be counted” to prevent three heritage trees facing the chop.

They are calling on councillors to throw out plans by  “unprofessional and deceitful” developers hellbent on destroying a part of Farnham’s heritage as they “wantonly attempt the destruction of anything that stands in the way of development”

The duo of CN and SCC wants to remove three mature trees near Brightwells House in East Street. 

Here’s one – other pictures will follow tomorrow.


Here today – gone tomorrow? 

The pair have put in an (NMA) a ‘non-material amendment’ to their planning application to vary Condition 20 to remove a further three trees – one of which is a memorial to Farnham resident Mr R Bide.

A Copper beech – a Cedar – and a London Plane Tree – all face the chain saw axe if the dynamic Duo get their evil way. Because, the reason given for the trees removal, all factored into the original development scheme – in their words not ours…

Tree No 30no doubt better to give it a number than a name?

‘Will not adjust to the changes around it and will become a maintenance concern and that tree 31 is of a species that is fragile.’

WW: Of course it is fragile – because the development made it so!

And – wait for it – yes you guessed

‘Why trees 30 and 31 should be slashed and burned?  `No 32 – will be incongruous in the new setting inhibiting a suitable landscape for the future.”

FUTURE?    Exactly what future does Blightwells have as a retail and restaurant hub may we ask?

But fear not the developer duo (DD) has all the answers.

 In their words.

Tree 31 – Cedar

 ‘Is of compromised form now that the adjoining horse chestnut has been removed. It is a typical Cedar with long lateral branches. These branches are highly prone to failure, especially in summer months. Failure in their proposed setting could result in harm to people and property.’


The developer is…  ‘rightly mindful that placing people and property at harm from trees should be avoided if possible, especially when the risks are well known as in this case. 

Consideration was given to crown reduction of the tree however that only leads to onerous maintenance over the coming decades. Again, replacement of the tree was thought to be the most prudent course of action. It removes the risk of failure but secures long term tree cover in this important landscape feature.

Its replacement will permit the extension of the proposed avenue of small-leaved lime trees to provide a complete avenue feature within the central gardens. These trees will be planted at a semi-mature size of 40-45cm girth and will make a significant contribution to the landscape.

As for Tree 32 the London Plane?

– well that can face the chop because lots of them are dying from the dreadful Massaria disease – so one more won’t hurt – will it? And its replacement...Their words:


“Its replacement will also permit the extension of the proposed avenue of small-leaved lime trees to provide a complete avenue feature within the central gardens. These trees will be planted at a semi-mature size of 40-45cm girth and will make a significant contribution to the landscape.”

Screen Shot 2020-04-21 at 22.22.08.pngWell – we have news for you DD’s – Farnham will not sit idly by and watch you take over our town and turn it into a disaster area.  You may have  ‘Gone too far this time Sir Percy.’   Because enough is enough – and this picture sums up what we all think of your Bum idea.


Just one objection taken from the reams on-line  David Howells.OBJECTION to NMA/2020/0045: Brightwells, Land centred East Street, Farnham
Amendment to WA/2016/0268 for amending the wording of Condition 20.

We strongly object to the content of this application to fell these three trees, and to the use of an NMA as the means of achieving this end. The three trees are an intrinsic part of the historic appearance of Brightwell House and are much-loved by Farnham residents. The Condition requiring their retention was set for a good reason.

The main explicit argument put forward by the applicants appears to be a concern with safety because of the species of tree involved. But the trees have not changed species since 2016 when planning permission was granted including Condition 20.

Any potential problem should have been foreseen by the applicants back then. The Council’s Tree Officer clearly considered the position and condition of the trees as not being threatened or posing a risk. This application includes no proper assessment of the current state of the trees, far less detail than a householder wishing to cut back a protected tree would have to submit to gain approval.
Trying to use an NMA to amend Condition 20, implies, by definition, that the presence of the trees is not impeding the progress of the scheme in a material way, and that their removal would not affect the realisation of the final scheme. The latter implication is clearly not the case: the removal of the trees would greatly change the appearance of Brightwell House and its setting. If the trees are considered to be affecting some aspect of construction, a full planning application to change that aspect should be submitted.


8 thoughts on “Waverley Planners could have a riot on its hands if it allows the removal of heritage trees developers claim could blight Blightwells.”

  1. “Wont get fooled again?”
    First up, the relaxation or removal of a condition attached to an granted application should not be a “non material amendment” Crest have a long history of submitting NMAs for this in their attempts to sneak under the radar. The timing of this one really stinks.
    Unfortunately, the appreciation of our town’s beauty & history are not material planning considerations, so we can all scream and shout loudly but to no avail.
    UNLESS Waverley planners can get their act together and forensically assess and rebut the tree report that Crest submitted with this NMA. Hopefully, they are up to the challenge. But that can’t happen until they can get on site to inspect the trees (not going to happen under lock-down) So hopefully the trees will still there by the time that happens!
    This whole sorry state of affairs, represents yet another developer’s cynical attempt to cut corners to protect their profit margin.

  2. Over the past few years the WW has witnessed numerous cynical attempts by developers to pull the wool over the eyes of – Planners, Thames Water, Natural England and all the statutory agencies. Of equal importance, have tried to dupe us, the public.

    Ancient woodland has been obliterated or irreparably damaged. Waercourses have been dredged without permission and their courses altered damaging land elsewhere. Developers have used many ploys to dupe the planners, and Governnment Inspectors into believing schemes on floodplains will do little or no damage and that SUDS – Sustainable Urban Drainage Schemes will work – when they clearly do not.

    Crest Nicholson is not the only developer to chance its luck, and the numerous NMA’s and incomplete data it regularly provides, have normally worked for them. The bats have flown, trees have been felled, and most of their less than scrupulous developments sneak under the radar.

    Some residents have taken the law into their own hands. One buyer less than pleased with the quality of his Cranleigh home – left his car outside the Sales Office with a banner. This warned prospective buyers to ‘stay away.’

    But surely, sooner rather than later – ‘Our Waverley’ has to stand up and be counted, just as one objector stated in their objection letter?

    If not – then what is local government and democracy all about?

    We might just as well let the Government and developers – along with all those compliant Inspectors – ditch the ballot box and let central Government take over and continue ruining the character and heritage of all our towns and villages?

  3. Wow. This must have rattled your cage WW – so much so that you have quoted your own objection letter. You’ve been so careful in the past 5 years to never mention the Farnham Society’s planning spokesman but now you just couldn’t resist it.

  4. Oh dear – how wrong can you get! We have not quoted our own objection letter – simply because we never EVER write objection letters. Our objections and comments are, and always will be, confined to this Blog, and only this Blog. We have however mentioned the Farnham Society on numerous occasions in the past and will continue to do so in the future. If a Society has something to say, they can say it here.

    But when you say this has rattled our cage – then you are 100 per cent right. Our cage is most definitely rattled – and if Crest Nicholson get away with this – so called – NMA – then you will hear the rattle around the borough.

    1. Yes it is curious how you have no public profile and likewise David Howells has no online profile – strangely silent on both counts for one who is so fervently defensive of Farnham.

  5. Oh dear! How sad, that anyone defensive of Farnham – or for that matter – the rest of the borough – is maligned for speaking out.

    1. Now you know that is not what I said. Don’t try and deflect. You using capitals doesn’t make anyone believe your evasion EVER. You have slipped up, and outed yourself by quoting your own objection letter. Bye David.

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