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.
Care Ashore and Thakeham Homes’ boat sunk by a Government Inspector!
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.
3 thoughts on “Thakeham’s battle to build in Alfold has begun.”
This Application goes against everything in LPP1 and the emerging LPP2. CPRE have made their views known in no uncertain terms:
Erection of 99 dwellings (Including 30% Affordable Housing) associated highways and landscape
works following demolition of Hollyoak. HOLLYOAK AND LAND TO REAR COORDS 503762 135006
LOXWOOD ROAD ALFOLD.
CPRE Surrey has considered the above application and wishes to record its objection to the grant of permission for the following reasons.
Harm to the Character of Alfold and the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside
Alfold, including Alfold Crossroads, is an attractive village which lies in the heart of the beautiful”fold” countryside on the Surrey / West Sussex border with its cluster of small villages and many period houses. This countryside is attractive and relatively remote: in some ways it is a quintessential English rural landscape. The proposed development would significantly impact the rural settlement of Alfold Crossways increasing the existing 200 plus dwellings to in excess of 300 households.
The scale of the proposed housing development would cause substantial harm to the character of the village; it would not respect the scale or character of the village and would fail to respect the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside. It would therefore conflict with LPP1 and the NPPF.
A development of the proposed scale would create a significant demand for movement on the local road network. The A281 has been recognised as one of the main transport congestion hotspots in Waverley and would be one of the main routes for new residents in Alfold Crossroads to access major shopping centres, rail hubs and places of work.
Residents in rural Waverley have above the national average car ownership and limited access to other more sustainable forms of transport. LPP2 (emerging) reinforces this in paragraph 2.55 “The spatial vision and strategic objectives of Local Plan Part 1 seek to encourage sustainable modes of transport and a reduction in the need to
travel wherever possible. Reducing people’s reliance on driving by directing new development to sustainable locations…..”
Even THAMES WATER Don’t seem happy with this application – But their hands are tied as they have to provide their services for New Builds and all they can do is put in Conditions which many Developers later on, seek to have removed (as we have seen on previous Applications..)
Following initial investigations, Thames Water has identified an inability of the existing FOUL WATER network infrastructure to accommodate the needs of this development proposal. Thames Water has contacted the developer in an attempt to agree a position for foul water networks but has been unable to do so in the time available and as such Thames Water request that the following condition be added to any planning permission. “The development shall not be occupied until confirmation has been provided that either:- 1. All wastewater network
upgrades required to accommodate the additional flows from the development have been completed; or-
2. A development and infrastructure phasing plan has been agreed with the Local Authority in consultation with Thames Water to allow development to be occupied. Where a development and infrastructure phasing plan is agreed, no occupation shall take place other than in accordance with the agreed development and infrastructure phasing plan.”
Reason – Network reinforcement works are likely to be required to accommodate the proposed development. Any reinforcement works identified will be necessary in order to avoid sewage flooding and/or potential pollution incidents…..”
Finally… at the APC Meeting Mr Robinson (Conservative Councillor for Basingstoke & Dean) was unable to confirm exactly what AFFORDABLE HOUSING meant – He woffled on about the various different options – But I believe the Government understanding of the Term according to the NPPF Glossary is……….Annex 2: Glossary
Glossary of terms used in this manual.
Housing for sale or rent, for those whose needs are not met by the market (including housing that provides a subsidised route to home ownership and/or is for essential local workers); and which complies with one or more of the following definitions:
(a) Affordable housing for rent: meets all of the following conditions: (a) the rent is set in accordance with the Government’s rent policy for Social Rent or Affordable Rent, or is at least 20% below local market rents (including service charges where applicable); (b) the landlord is a registered provider, except where it is included as part of a Build to Rent scheme (in which case the landlord need not be a registered provider); and (c) it includes provisions to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households, or for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision. For Build to Rent schemes affordable housing for rent is expected to be the normal form of affordable housing provision (and, in this context, is known as Affordable Private Rent).
(b) Starter homes: is as specified in sections 2 and 3 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 and any secondary legislation made under these sections. The definition of a starter home should reflect the meaning set out in statute and any such secondary legislation at the time of plan-preparation or decision-making. Where secondary legislation has the effect of limiting a household’s eligibility to purchase a starter home to those with a particular maximum level of household income, those restrictions should be used.
(c) Discounted market sales housing: is that sold at a discount of at least 20% below local market value. Eligibility is determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices. Provisions should be in place to ensure housing remains at a discount for future eligible households.
So Only 20% BELOW MARKET VALUE… I wish they would make this information clearer to all those that think they will be able to afford these New Homes.
Happily recent inspectors reports on refused applications have accepted that Waverley have demonstrated a 5 year plus housing supply.