Columbia Threadneedle stitches up Dunsfold Park.

In a deal so big it’s attracted the attention of Fleet Street, the American owned asset management firm, a subsidiary of Ameriprise Financial, has snapped up the former aerodrome! 

The Dunsfold Deal is believed to be worth £250 million to Trinity College Cambridge, the current owners of the business park where planning consent has been granted to build 1,800 homes + on the airfield – in Phase 1 of what will now, no doubt, be several development phases.

Yet another great British-owned business is being sold off stateside … but, no worries, if the Business Secretary’s happy, why should the hoi polloi of Waverley worry?!

Richard Turncoat – or Turdhill, depending on your point of view – Trinity College’s now not so new Bursar has set aside the College’s reputation for prudence and long-term investment in bricks and mortar – which has made it one of the wealthiest colleges in the land – in favour of the get-rich-quick schemes he’s more comfortable with, coming from a city background.  Turncoat was formerly the Global Chief Investment Strategist of BlackRock.  On his Linkedin page, Mr Turncoat boasts of being an ‘experienced senior executive with a demonstrated history of working in the financial services industry across fund management, strategy and economics roles …’

Clearly a modest man, old Turdhill!

Quite where this stitch-up leaves the Flying Scot, who knows? Jim McAllister saw the potential in the former BAe site some 20-odd years ago and has fought tooth and nail over the intervening period despite opposition from Protect Our Waverley and the two local Mp’s Annie Milton and Jeremy Hunt to create a future for the site, rather than leaving it steeped in aspic, as some would have preferred. 

By the way? Has anyone seen or heard anything of the POW Group lately? Is it still protecting Waverley? If it is – we must have missed it!

McAllister nursed Dunsfold through the Royal Bank of Scotland debacle – when that Bank (the Flying Scot’s first investor) did the dirty on him … not to mention the rest of the country – and pulled the rug off the runway, having run up gazillions of pounds worth of debts, which the Bank planned to pay down by selling the aerodrome out from under their partner, the Flying Scot.

Rather than letting the Royal Bank – which at the time was acting like a buccaneer – scupper his plans, McAllister dug in his chocks, put his money where his mouth was and found what he thought was a long-term investor in Trinity College Cambridge …  But then along came COVID … and Richard Turncoat, rather like a bad fairy – we’re not sure which was worse!!

Whether, 20 years down the line, the Flying Scot has the appetite for another turbulent flight or decides to bail out remains to be seen, but the word at Waverley Towers is that the Council is afraid … very, very afraid. And, with hindsight, if the councillors and officers are afraid, local residents should be petrified!  

With the Dunsfold development now seriously behind schedule due to Covid – and Bad Fairy Turdhill! – the Council doesn’t have a five-year housing supply, and the planning appeals are stacking up in Waverley’s in-tray as canny, would-be developers, such as Thakeham Homes, are tripping over each other to take advantage of Turdhill’s utter failure to get his chocks away at the Dunsfold Development.  Waverley – and its residents – desperately need Columbia Threadneedle Investments to be the stitch-in-time that saves the borough from being overrun by box builders, who care nothing for the environment or the ambience of Waverley and simply want to build ’em cheap and stack ’em high.

Pop along to the other Threadneedle site at the former Hewitts’ Industrial Estate in Elmbridge Road, Cranleigh. Is that an example of what Waverley Planners can expect?

The big question on everyone’s lips – especially the Council’s – is will Columbia Threadneedle Investments persuade the Flying Scot and his team to stay on board and utilise their long-term knowledge of the site and relationships with local stakeholders to give them the head start they need to reap the rewards on their investment or will they want to wipe the slate clean and bring in a new team?   Do they have the time to start from scratch?  Not really, not with every other would-be developer in the borough looking to steal a march on them by taking advantage of the delays at Dunsfold created by Covid and Turdhill?  

Trinity was due to begin laying the new road into the site directly from the A281 in 2020.  They’ll be lucky to be laying it in 2022 if they don’t get airborne soon!

7 thoughts on “Columbia Threadneedle stitches up Dunsfold Park.”

  1. No wonder Waverley’s £130 million bid fell on stony ground. Not sure what Trimity paid for the site but bet they have made a tidy profit. No scruples clearly. Watch this space I guess is the word…

    1. Trinity paid £50m – a nice little earner – could probably have made more if they had stuck with the vision – but then little do they care about vision – more about dollars? Still, who do we all have to thank for years of delays? The two Tory MP’s, Waverley’s Tory administration who delayed it for years and Protect our Waverley – has anyone seen them around protecting Waverley recently?

  2. I really hope Trinity College, Cambridge are ashamed of themselves and their Alumni read this and complain about it? We are a tiny proportion of Waverley and have a very Little Voice.

    I never wanted this site and I do not try to justify why – it is simply LOCATION. But I got over (Doubtful) – You are right the University have a History of spending money on Applications that are generally Business and R&D sites with some accommodation. Why they agreed to this one I have no idea apart from the fact they may have believed the Business side may have blossomed and the homes less so – hence why they agreed to Max 3600 with only 1800 in phase 1

    I am afraid this Application was skewed from the start not only because it was Partial Brownfield but because it was in a location that was just so unsustainable. If you could move this site to either; Farnham, Hindhead, Haslemere or Godalming – Where there is a train station and good Transport links and Shops etc. But no THEY decided it was better to use this (Partial) Brownfield in between Alfold/Dunsfold basically in the Country side beyond the Greenbelt – Bordering on the AONB for the majority of the WBC LPP1 Housing – Thus putting all their eggs in One Manky Basket in the Eastern Villages – the most Rural area of Waverley.

    After all how many of us thought when the various Applications came through that a village of 450 homes would even be considered for an application of 425 new homes and then Dunsfold Park of 1800 to 3600 Homes?

    Now it is a done deal I have to get over it. I was pleased to see the moving of the Access road away from the Ancient Woodland – But have heard (and I could be wrong) but Surrey Highways will not Adopt this Road which will no doubt put pressure on the developers and future residents to pay for this??

    The reasons I have always stated why this area is not suitable despite it being Brownfield have not changed: * Note bus Routes confirmed 7/9/21
    1. We have ONE road to access Guildford/Horsham – the A281 it is a single lane minor road subject to issues with congestion due to cyclists, buses and anything wider than a person on the road
    2. We have NO Facilities in the village including:
    Train Stations
    Medical Centres
    Dental Centres
    Schools of any age
    3. No Shops – Bar convenience store at the Petrol Station and Village shop open 6 days/wk until 1pm

    4. We have ONE PUB on Dunsfold Road – With no pavements despite S106 Agreements in 2015 with SCC for delivery via DP Application.

    5. New residents outside of the Application site will not currently be able to access the Industrial Site at Dunsfold Park on-foot due to restrictions on-site via the runway therefore limiting access to the Site for those living in the Village to Work.
    6. We have a Village hall with Sports Fields & Tennis courts (Limited to Members)
    7. We have one Restaurant open Thurs-Sun
    8. We have Take aways 1 day a week Tues – Pizza / Thurs – Fish & Chips
    9. We have a Post office/ Village Store Mon – Sat until 1pm
    10. We have an M&S Convenience store at the BP Petrol Station with Coffee BAR (NOT CAFE)

    11. Our Wildwood Golf Club has Closed =- Subject to a new pre-App for Housing (TBC only via FOI) WA /2010/1489

    12. Our Bus Service 42 Runs 9 Services/day to Guildford (Sat= 4) Takes 1.24hrs to Guildford train station via 42 Apparently Journey to Royal Surrey Hospital takes 1.5hrs
    13. Bus Service 69 to Worthing 1hr 45 Mins to Worthing 107 Stops Runs once a week
    14. We have a HOPPA service which is a Community Subscription Service requires membership and Pre-Booking
    15. Taxis require MIN 1 weeks notice to book locally for local destination or Airports
    16. Our Cycling routes can only be accessed via the A281 via busy and dangerous Junctions (refer to Surrey highways Accidents report)

    17. Access to the Royal Surrey Hospital via the Bus takes 1hr 34 min via Bus and requires 3 Bus Changes

    All of this indicates that Alfold and Surrounding Villages in the East of the Borough have been targeted by Developers as areas that have NO Protection such as AONB/AGLV/SANG and GREENBELT – But the reason for this is mainly because this part of the Borough was never considered in need of these protections; being so Rural – It is only in the last 30 odd years that things like Greenbelt have been applied to Urban Areas to stop “Urban Sprawl” between Towns and thus Cranleigh and surrounding Villages have been excluded from this protection. This is neither Fair in the Current time – nor useful for protection of Rural and Semi-rural Villages. It is the Greenfield’s that will feed this country Post-Brexit and it is short Sighted to not realise the benefits of these assets in our Countryside and our need to be compliant with Climate change and the way this will affect future generations.
    As ever in Grumpiness
    PS Excuse Typos -,Been a Rubbish Week

  3. Not sure what I couldn’t possibly add to Denise’s post which says it all. They will most likely cover the whole place in concrete. It seems there is nothing this country wouldn’t sell to the highest bidder. And now we have Gove in place of Jenrick in the cabinet shuffle. Same difference I imagine.

  4. £200 million profit is just indecent if that’s what they are likely to reap in this deal. Greed. Pure and simple.

  5. Well I stand corrected. Gove has “shelved” Jenricks proposed shake up of house building rules due to be published next week. In the nick of time then.
    He has pledged to conduct a review into how they could be improved and says he will consult with MP’s who had threatened to block the plans, as they feared that swathes of southern England would disappear under concrete. Could be interesting !! Better hurry up Mr Gove …

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