Waverley Councillors were left reeling last night when it was announced at a meeting of the full Council that Dunsfold Aerodrome Limited is to have “changes in its ownership.”
In other words following the appointment of a new Senior Bursar at Trinity College, Cambridge (the owners of Dunsfold Park) the College has decided to cut and run from its commitment to create a new village at the former aerodrome.
The new Bursar, Richard Turnill – fresh from BlackRock, where he was the Global Chief Investment Strategist – is now responsible for the College’s endowment fund that, according to its blurb, provides 75% of its operating income.
It would seem that Mr Turnill, unlike his illustrious predecessors, doesn’t favour taking the long view, which is what those who invest in property are generally required to do. Being a city man, he prefers to play the financial markets instead.
Maybe, before it’s too late, but should we send Mr Turnill a little light bedtime reading by way of a copy of Jeffrey Archer’s latest novel (Turn a Blind Eye), which our Webbers have been reading – in which it’s somewhat presciently noted that:
‘The land that surrounds Felixstowe Docks is owned by Trinity College, Cambridge, and is one of its most valuable assets. The college bursar at the time, a Mr Tressilian Nicholas, purchased the 3,800-acre site on behalf of the college in 1933, along with a road that led to the then-derelict docks. His successor, a Mr Bradfield, spotted its potential, and it’s now the largest port in Britain and makes the college a small fortune.’
Lord Butler, a former cabinet minister, and master of Trinity asked Bradfield at a finance meeting if he realised that the college-owned a tin mine in Cornwall that hadn’t shown a return since 1546, to which the bursar famously replied,
“You’ll find, master, that in this college, we take the long view.”
It would seem that in declining to take the long view at Dunsfold Park, Mr Turnill is turning his back not only on centuries-old tradition at Trinity College but on the residents of Waverley and their councillors, who were relying on Trinity to deliver on its promise to create an exemplar new eco-village at the former aerodrome, and thus, in one fell swoop, alleviating Waverley Borough Council’s housing shortfall and rejuvenating the former airfield which is home to many local businesses and jobs, which have done well to survive the current Corona Virus pandemic.
Read yesterday’s post: Are the floodgates for further development in the eastern villages about to open?
The Waverley Web revealed “the change of ownership” last week here:
Is it Farnham’s fault that homes are being dumped on the east of Waverley?
Waverley’s housing delivery supply is heavily dependent on Dunsfold’s garden village.
Without Dunsfold Park’s contribution to its housing numbers, Waverley falls way short of its housing supply, leaving the door wide open to every cowboy developer roaming the green fields of its fair Borough.
Following the bombshell news, Waverley’s councillors and planners alike are feeling abused, bruised and used by the actions of Mr Turnhill. Not that they mentioned him, but we have been doing a bit of our own espionage work around the Dunsfold delay with a few of our Cambridge informants.
Our spider’s 8 highly efficient pedipalps reach far and wide but it is their other two peds they use as hands that do all the work!
And what of The Flying Scot, Jim McAllister, who has spent the past 19 years trying to bring his grandiose plans for an exemplar eco-village to fruition?
In Trinity College, Cambridge, with its illustrious history, deep pockets and famous ‘long view’, McAllister no doubt thought he’d found the perfect partner to embrace and deliver on his vision but, unfortunately, it now appears he backed the wrong horse, not realising it would throw the jockeys mid-race!
That’s the problem with horses – you need a big shovel to clear up the TURDHILLS they leave in their wake!
And now the speculation can begin? Who has the deepest pockets and who else gets the blame for scuppering the Dunsfold game? Answers on a postcard to us here at email@example.com
We will post a clip of the Leader’s official statement tomorrow. Hopefully, with a few reactions?
7 thoughts on “TRINITY COLLEGE TAKES FLIGHT FROM DUNSFOLD!”
Hi WW – Having banged on about this for years – I finally gave up a couple of years ago – as we had nothing left to fight on this so we just had to make the best of what we had.
Now we have the worst… I won’t repeat previous comments I have made – Just snippets that I think are relevant.
Clive Smith the Surrey Hills AONB Planning advisor stated the following:
“ …..Concern must be expressed at the title of the new settlement as being “Dunsfold Park Garden Village” which is a misnomer. It is not a “Garden Village” and such use of the term misleads the public and decision makers. The Garden Villages built in the past are at lower densities allowing sufficient space between buildings for large trees to grow. The proposed modern housing estate layouts shown in the Masterplan bear no resemblance to more organic and less formal arrangement of buildings in Surrey and Sussex…..”
Press release: 16 June 2020 TRANSPORT FOR NEW HOMES.ORG:
” ..Green promises broken: Garden Villages and Garden Towns will be dominated by the car. Far from being vibrant, green communities, Garden Villages and Garden Towns  are at high risk of becoming car-dependent commuter estates, research by Transport for New Homes  has found. The group examined plans for 20 Garden Communities  and found that they will create up to 200,000 car-dependent households, generating high levels of traffic on surrounding roads including motorways……..Good road connections matter: they’re vital for buses, bicycles and, as we’ve learnt in recent weeks, delivery vans too, not just for the private motorist. But they have to be designed with a sensible layout, including wide footways so that walking to the local shops or to school is a safe, practical and appealing proposition.”
The recommendations in Transport for New Homes’ report include:
Commission an urgent reassessment of the sustainability in transport terms of all planned Garden Communities and do not give outline planning permission until it is clear that sustainable transport elements in each vision are fully funded and specified.
Build close to existing town centres or create strings of developments along public transport routes, rather than scattering developments around the countryside.”
Until someone takes note of the above – Then this sort of development is Not feasible… Maybe Trinity College realised they would be tarred with a very Dirty Brush had this gone through?
I know this will mean that we have a serious issue with LPP1 and the Housing Numbers- But as this Garden Village was always considered OUTSIDE of Alfold’s Housing Numbers at Min 125 it would be incongruous for the developers who used DP as what made them Sustainable, to think that if this does Not go ahead – Then they have the right to Fill our Little Village with New Housing – It does NOT, if anything it makes the Village far less sustainable. Many of the Inspector’s comments on Appeal for Development in Alfold also relied on the DP Plan – So I do hope that if Thakeham do go to Appeal – they are given the Heave-ho or something a bit stronger.
I am afraid it may mean that some of the TOWNS in the Borough will have to take more – You know the ones with Train stations, Hospitals, Schools, Road Infrastructure, Recycling Centres that open 5-7 days a week unlike ours open just 3 days a week…..
Cranleigh and the small Villages in the East have taken enough – It is time the rest of the Borough gave up a bit of Their Greenbelt to save some of Our COUNTRYSIDE beyond the Greenbelt… Finally Quote on GREENBELT in case anyone has forgotten what it is
” A green belt is a policy and land use zone designation used in land use planning to retain areas of largely undeveloped, wild, or agricultural land surrounding or neighbouring URBAN AREAS” (CAPs supplied by me)
Best as ever
Very many thanks for your comments – which together with others we have received on our private e-mail address, we will include in our follow-up of this very interesting turn of events. Waverley Web