Villagers in Alfold going Wild about Wildwood.

Prompted by numerous communications from angry villagers – ‘Your Waverley’s planning officers are investigating unauthorised development on the former Wildwood Golf course on the Surrey/Sussex border.

Development they claim is resulting in the “wilful destruction of the countryside.”

The site within the village of Alfold and within spitting distance of Dunsfold’s new proposed garden village is creating a bit of a stir. Residents are now calling for the council to issue a ‘STOP NOTICE’ and issue is now!

Followers of the Waverley Web may remember the golf-course has been mired in controversy since it received planning permission for a multi-million-pound hotel, HQ for part of the Professional Golf Association – and 39 Golf Lodges. 

A new era for Wildwood. The development first granted consent in  2010  was heralded to become …

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 Wildwood Golf Club one of the principle golfing destinations in England.

Since then it has gone into the rough – changed hands several times – and become an overgrown mess. Is Wildwood in the bunker?

One villager who has been on Wildwood’s case raised the alarm earlier this month about some strange goings-on at the site. Alfold’s resident mole, Denise Wordsworth who walks the public footpaths often – spotted more than the usual wildlife – as trees and hedges were being destroyed at an alarming rate.

Thank goodness that someone out there actually keeps their eyes and their mouths open. Our team her sometimes think that COVID has had a major effect on everyone’s minds, as they prepare to reach the planet ZONK! Life as we knew it and observance sometimes appear to have gone into hibernation?

Denise told Alfold’s councillor Kevin Deanus and planning officers:

” I do read Applications that are pertinent to our Village and this one that was approved before we even moved here, seemed like something that would be good for  Alfold’s economy. 

I knew the previous owners who really believed in this – but when it went into liquidation and was taken over, all I can see is the current owners have taken out a Third-Party Mortgage for Development.

The new Developers have no regard for the Conditions imposed to protect the arboreal, ecology or architectural merits of the site. There will be other Conditions they have not adhered to – But I am more concerned about the living creatures than the dead bones despite their importance.

We have seen an increase of Bits of Carcasses (Mainly Deer/Rabbits) on the Golf course – which of course our Dog thinks is Great – I Don’t”

My main issues are:

  1. CEMP
  2. Ecology – Newts and Bats
  3. Archaeology
  4. Trees TPO
  5. Public footpaths
  6. Public safety

I don’t believe and cannot prove that they are doing this work to provide the Academy Lodges that have NO designation for Housing – as per the original Application –   But they will use the hardstanding as a means to apply for housing in order to afford any works that may or may not be carried out for the PGA – worth asking them if they are still planning on moving their HQ to Wildwood – may answer my question. – But I do think that is what they are planning to do and can find nothing on the PGA  website.

I know that most of these applications have Pre-Meetings with WBC so perhaps worth checking with the Planning Offers to see if that is the case. – If it is Just the PGA golf course as per the original Application – I will shut up – If there is something else -then with these works so far it needs to be made public so at least Alfold know what is going on. But This wilful destruction of land that obviously contains Wildlife that should be protected is appalling.

SO WHAT EXACTLY IS GOING ON AT WILDWOOD?

Officers investigating have already identified a number of potential issues that indicate non-compliance with the approved condition details associated with the permission. This principally relates to the conditions associated with tree protection and ecology (as identified and highlighted in Ms Wordsworth’s emails in respect of the matter). Due to the scale of the development and a significant number of conditions associated with the proposal officers have not yet had an opportunity to review all the relevant application documentation yet so there may potentially other issues for separate conditions as well. However, tree protection and ecology issues appear to be the most pressing at this time. I saw no evidence of tree protection measures or ecological mitigation (as stipulated within the relevant approved condition documentation) in place at the time of my visit.

A recent site established that significant earthworks were being undertaken around the ‘9 Hole’ (where the woodland lodges are proposed) in order to remove contaminated earth from the site, with the proposal to replace the soil prior to construction within this area taking place. Additionally, works to and removal of vegetation has also occurred and site hoarding has been erected around a large area north of the ‘9 holes’.

SO HAS WORK STOPPED? Or will this be yet another developer getting away with damaging our environment? A case of too little – too late?

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