Your Waverley’s £130m bid to buy Dunsfold Aerodrome has been knocked out of the ballpark


Waverley Borough Council’s £130m bid to buy Dunsfold Aerodrome failed miserably in round one of the bidding war to buy the housing hotspot.  

Dunsfold arden village
All roads point to a massive development at the former airfield.

Q: Why? 

A: Simples!  Because an organisation worth squillions is prepared to pay gazillions more than Waverley – or any of the other bidders – in the race to buy the aerodrome.  Neither Waverley nor any of the other interested parties could afford – or were willing to pay? – as much for the 758-acre site. 

And now residents are concerned that instead of the 1,800 homes proposed for Phase 1 followed by – another 500 to 600 in Phase 2 – that by the end of the planning period (2032), there could now be many, many, many more. Why else would anyone be prepared to pay gazillions for the site?  No one – least of all the foreign-based company rumoured to be the successful bidder –  is digging that deep unless they plan to squeeze every last square inch out of the site’s development potential to optimise the return on their eye-watering investment.  

Fear is rife among the eastern villages on the future of Dunsfold Aerodrome, which has fallen into the hands of global asset managers.

Richard Turncoat – the new Bursar at Trinity College Cambridge, the site’s current owner – clearly doesn’t give a damn who buys the site.  All he wants is to cover himself in glory by reaping the rewards of his predecessor’s foresight in having the nous to acquire the site a few years ago when Royal Bank of Scotland – the Flying Scot’s original partner – went tits-up!  Bugger the local stakeholders!  Bugger, the Flying Scot who has nursed the site from an empty shell to a valuable asset with consent for 1,800 + homes!  This is all about the greater glory of Richard Turdhill!

So cheer up, Waverley!  You didn’t lose out because you didn’t offer enough!  You could never have offered enough!  Your £130 million bid was chicken feed to Richard Turncoat. And you were in good company in the losers’ enclosure.  Neither could Warner Brothers or Spielberg or Marvel … or any of the other filmmakers who were rumoured to be snapping up the site and turning it into another Pinewood Studios!  So much for taking the Holly out of Hollywood and replacing it with Hurtwood!

Neither do you have to fear that your five-year housing land supply figures will be irreparably damaged – even if they meet with more than a little opposition from the three villages surrounding the site, namely, Alfold, Cranleigh and Dunsfold. Because you can bet your bottom dollar, the new owner will be beating a rapid path to your door with multiple applications for more and more and more houses to keep their rapacious shareholders happy. 

There will be a conveyor belt of applications once the new owners get behind the wheel.  

So who actually are the winners and losers in this sorry saga that has been ongoing for the past 15 years and more? 

Well, the Tories won’t be crying into their G&Ts, because they never wanted to bid for the site in the first place. However, they’ve since done a complete about-turn and are now pointing their wagging finger at the Opposition for not giving them enough time to have their say on the Borough’s bid! Make up your minds, chaps – if it hadn’t been for your lot, residents of the proposed garden village would have been planting their bulbs and harvesting their spuds by now!  Not to mention charging their electric vehicles in their parking barns.  Who knows, even Manns of Cranleigh might have been saved from Undertaker Vrijland because those of us with long memories will recall that the Flying Scot was offering vouchers for new homeowners to encourage them to shop locally.  Ahead of his time or what?  

But never mind, the canny Scot’s vision is now a dim and distant memory … one might even call it a [bag]pipe dream?  

Don’t blame yourself, Leader Follows; if you’d waited for the Tories to “build a consensus”, as Cllr Muddled Mulliner wanted, Waverley’s bid would have been another decade in the making.  Richard Turncoat was in a hurry – his signature was barely dry on his employment contract, and his seat was still warm from the old Bursar’s bum when he announced he wanted to sell the site!  And, as everyone knows, hell would freeze over quicker than Mulliner could mull over how much he thought Dunsfold Aerodrome was worth.  

At least The Rainbow Coalition tried, and, as we know from bitter experience, the Tories are always mega keen to sell off British owned assets to foreign investors! Big money from abroad beats UK Money any day.

4 thoughts on “Your Waverley’s £130m bid to buy Dunsfold Aerodrome has been knocked out of the ballpark”

  1. Nice to know that WBC has £130m knocking around to spend…. maybe it would be a fair suggestion that they spend it instead on delivering improved services to its residents?

    1. Mike Hi, like nearly all local government property acquisition above a certain size – it would have been funded by a public works loan board loan – which is a loan at preferential rates to do exactly this sort of thing. You can’t use the PWLB to borrow money to invest in services and you have to demonstrate how it will generate the revenue needed to pay it back.

      Councils can’t borrow their way out of the revenue funding issues the government have caused and perpetuate unless it’s going to generate revenue for them through projects like this. As the article says, and I don’t disagree with – some of the bidders clearly bidding fantasy land levels of money for reasons we can speculate upon but not yet know for sure.

  2. Hi Paul agree with the PWLB comment but you should have included all councillors in your proposed bid, not just in the interests of openess and transparency but it’s what many of our residents would expect to happen in this scenario.

    1. We did. Any councillor telling you otherwise isn’t being honest with you.

      We had a full councillor briefing on this, we had the exempt session of the executive (in which I essentially suspended standing orders to allow a full debate) and we had a very full debate at council too.

      Not including the regular updates to councillors by email on this, other sessions arranged for members that wanted to attend plus the chair and vice chair of the audit committee have been guests at the weekly exec briefing so they can report back to their committee too.

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