If developers sign up the legal agreements and the Secretary of State decides if an Environmental Impact Assessment is needed – it is all systems go for a new housing development at Coxbridge Farm.
Although there was much huffing and puffing about flood risk, sewage problems and a huge range of concerns about highway issues – Waverley Planners followed officers’ advice and voted by 12 to one abstention and one refusal to grant consent for 320 new homes. Of which 30% will be affordable – though what affordable means, and whether they will eventually materialise, is anyone’s guess!
Although there was much concern among the Western Planning Committee ranks about giving the nod to develop the green fields owned by Surrey County Council off West Street, only Farnham Residents’ Cllr Jerry Hyman voted against the scheme. His concerns about the risks to Farnham’s Special Protection Area – the Wealden Thames Basin Heath, fell on deaf ears as usual. No surprise there then? So it’s all off to the heath to walk a couple of hundred more dogs generated by the development. Either there or Farnham Park, which developers regularly dole out wads of cash to satisfy ‘YW’ that all the dog trotting and pooping will go on there.
The Planning Officer spoke for over an hour saying although a greenfield of 11.4ha the site was within the Built-Up Area Boundary of Farnham, is included in Farnham’s Neighbourhood Plan. It is also in a sustainable location and meets the Local Plan’s housing target.
Here’s what ~ Janine Seignet ?-Brown had to say in answer to that claim:
Just for the record – should officers be allowed to put the one and only public speaker off by reminding them after three and a half minutes they have only half a minute more to have their say? The WW believes this to be a disgraceful distraction ploy that should be stopped!
Objectors claim Farnham’s West Street is already at a standstill at peak hours and this proposal (WA2019/0770) will cause gridlock.
What do they mean will?- Gridlock is the order of the day for Farnham folk. According to Surrey’s Highways head honcho Richard Cooper, there will be more traffic congestion – but that applied to any prosperous town in Surrey at peak times. Yes, he said, the development will worsen the situation but CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) generated from the project will be used to mitigate the towns wider traffic problems through the new Farnham Infrastructure Programme. This has been designed to mitigate the accumulative effects of all the new sites in Farnham, the biggest impact of which would be on the Coxbridge Roundabout.
“Farnham is a busy town lots of queing and delays. This development will make it slightly worse, but we have to look at it in the round. This is a sustainable development for lots of people who will not need to jump into their cars.”
Developers: want to build 320 dwellings (including 96 affordable) with landscaping, public open space and infrastructure provided it enters into a legal agreement by 18/11/2021. This secures 30% affordable housing (70% social rented and 30% shared ownership,) contributions towards SANG (Areas of Natural Greenspace) and SAMM; travel plan vouchers; contribution towards highway improvements; SuDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage Schemes) management/maintenance; open space management and maintenance; provision of LEAP/LAP (play areas), waste and recycling containers plus 21 conditions.
Planning Officers say although it is a greenfield of 11.4ha the site is within the Built-Up Area Boundary of Farnham and is included in Farnham’s Neighbourhood Plan. It is also in a sustainable location and meets the Local Plan’s housing target.
Almost everyone who spoke at the meeting “sympathised with objectors” with Cllr Carole Cockburn saying they had no choice but to permit the scheme.
“We are in a parlous state with our five-year housing land supply,”
said she who masterminded the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan which earmarked the farm site for development. Others echoed her concerns, in particular, Cllr Simon Dear who could not fathom why only one access had been provided. He was assured by the highwayman that it would work well.
A decidedly po-faced Cllr Peter Isherwood doubted the developers’ intentions to provide 30% affordable housing as history had shown that once consent had been given, developers claimed it was “then unviable” to provide it.
“Developers have won too many of those battles of late!”
He warned residents could face big bills for the management of play areas and for roads which he doubted would be adopted by Surrey County Council. The £25,000 for a pedestrian crossing wasn’t enough! And as for the sewage, Thames Water can’t cope, saying where he lived tankers were pumping sewage out on a weekly basis.
And, as for CIL monies going to help traffic infrastructure improvements …
“Has Waverley’s CIL Board decided that the money is to go that way?”