Thakeham Homes was given short shrift when its representatives rocked up at Alfold Parish Council’s Zoom meeting to unveil its latest cunning plans for the Care Ashore Land. Despite still smarting from the Government refusal of a scheme for up to 500 homes it received in December 2017 the Billingshurst developer isn’t giving up. It is now taking a softly, softly approach by seeking permission for 99 new homes.
The developer was emboldened by this one sentence in the Government Inspector’s decision letter:
Waverley Borough Council does not have a five-year land supply!
In true pre-panto mood, Chairman Penni Mayne said, Oh yes it does. Waverley’s assures us it has a land supply of 5.3 years.
Oh No, it doesn’t say Thakeham. Appeal decisions on the Wyevale Garden Centre said it only had 3.9 years supply and on land east of Loxwood Road – (Sweeters’ Copse) only 4 years. So Waverley cannot demonstrate a five-year land supply!
So is Thakeham hell-bent on testing that assumption with Waverley planners and no doubt yet again with the Government too? Yet more cash rattling down Waverley’s drain!
Thakeham’s Tristan Robinson maintained the scheme behind Loxwood Road after demolishing a bungalow it owns, was necessary to meet Waverley’s housing shortage. It would meet the needs of the young, with 30% affordable homes – and downsizers.
But, Alfold councillors asked?-What’s in this for us?
- money towards local education – presumably he was referring to primary education at Dunsfold’s new garden village. Plus contributions towards senior schools in Cranleigh.
- A leisure area – and community recycling.
- Bird and bat boxes
- electric charging points
- 178 new trees
- Last but not least – A Hedgehog hotel!
Despite the fact that Alfold’s toilets regularly overflow and it has a frequent flooding problem after heavy rain, Mr Robison assured councillors that the lead flood authority had – no objection to building more homes in Alfold.
Well – that must come as a relief to the poor Alfold souls who regularly watch the water in their lavatories overflow. Not to mention the unmentionables floating in their gardens? Portaloos at the ready folks?
Waverley Borough Council would also be a winner in the Thakeham stakes they are promising 2.4m in Community Infrastructure Levy if they get permission.
But what about us – Alfold Parish councillors cried? “You will get £360,000 to spend on whatever you like, said a smiling Mr Robinson waving his good fairy wand and sprinkling stardust all over everyone.
After councillors reminded Mr Robinsons that a great deal more was offered to the village in the previous much larger application – a school – shops – etc – he reminded them that the smaller scheme wouldn’t be quite so advantageous. However, it had already received support from young people.
Not according to our reckoning said Alasdair Denton-Miller: “Waverley’s planning portal shows 140 objections and four in support!”
It was villager Denise Wordsworth who put Thakeham representative under the spotlight. After her questioning session – he began to resemble the wicked witch of the North as she slowly disintegrates.
After reeling off a list of the amenities that Alfold didn’t have, she reminded him of all the recent consents given, appeal decisions – and latest appeals in the pipeline.
“Why 99 homes opposed to 100 homes?” Quite simply because neither you – nor the other developers in this village have had to provide much infrastructure have they? No schools, no GP surgery. Giving us a bus shelter, bat boxes and a couple of other bits and pieces are of no benefit to this village. There is something fundamentally wrong with this.”
Ah! But if the village had accepted the larger scheme it would have had a school, said Mr Robinson?
Does white man speak with forked tongue? At the public Inquiry, Thakeham admitted it was hitching its trucks to nearby Dunsfold’s major garden village scheme. A development of 1,800 homes – 2600 in the Local Plan which included major infrastructure – including GP surgery, a school and public transport.
On a roll, Mrs Wordsworth continued said: “You intend to knock down a bungalow to create one access from the busy Loxwood B Road impacting the homes of numerous local people.”
Was this current application Phase `One of a larger development to come later – perhaps 99 and then another 99 and then… she asked?
Startled by her continuing interrogation Mr Robinson said: “I will give you an honest answer every application has to be considered on its merits – and this is the only scheme Thakeham is considering …“At the moment.” or later – “At the present time.”
Gotcha! So Alfold people, who have now endured living on a building site with 250 of its 125 quota of Waverley’s housing allocation already under construction, can rest easy in their beds. Until the next planning notice pops through their letterboxes for yet another phase on the Springbok land?
Well – said Cllr Adrian Erricker – we are here to represent the public – and the public is saying No! This scheme is unsustainable and we have exceeded our limit for new housing. Cllr Denton-Miller said the access would affect the lives of many villagers in adjoining homes – and the loss of countryside and agricultural land was unacceptable.
“Our countryside is being sacrificed for just another middle-of-the-road housing estate. That, following the previous refusal, is coming through the back door”
Cllr Chris Britton said the scheme was:
Everything that Alfold’s Neighbourhood Plan wanted to prevent. Developing countryside – just two fields away from the proposed new Dunsfold Garden Village
“This is just a speculative opportunistic building opportunity. We have so much development going on here – it’s coming out of our ears.
Ending on a fragrant note. Chairman Penni Mayne said nearby Loxwood wouldn’t be happy either when it had to deal with more of Alfold’s sewerage!
The council’s strong objection will now be forwarded to Waverley Council.