A resident describes the ‘real Alfold’ whilst a developer has a very different vision for the village’s future.

Save our village – Stop Alfold becoming a town. Mary Brown is pictured holding the green sign.

On Day 3, Inspector Harold Stevens heard from Mary Brown, a resident of  Alfold.

After many hours of evidence over three days of the six-day Inquiry, Mrs Brown was allowed five minutes! Yes, folks. Just five very precious minutes.

So much for “localism!” However, the Inspector allowed her a little longer and told her not to rush.

Although there was no attempt by the developer’s barrister to cross-examine her evidence – the Thakeham Bully Boys came out in force later when they insulted and repeatedly questioned the competence of Waverley’s planning Officer Kate Edwards. At one point, he even queried her professional abilities during a distinctly shabby tirade. Despite the hostile questioning Miss Edwards kept calm and carried on.

Perhaps they thought to make a fight with Mrs Brown, a stalwart of the village, might alienate the Inspector? So they turned their guns on Miss Edwards instead.

Mrs Brown drew the Inquiry’s attention to recent Government announcements and planning legislation – including the Environment Bill, which promotes building on brownfield sites and not in the countryside.

** Secretary of State for Housing Michael Gove has proposed that residents be the overseers of development – and that they be “the final arbiters of development in their area.”

Mrs Brown said  Alfold had already exceeded its housing quota of 125 homes with 395 consented and two appeals in process.  Alfold was a small village with little or no infrastructure – no schools, GP surgery, poor bus service, no railway stations, and almost everyone relied on their cars. 

She said there had been many reforms to the planning system since the development for 99 homes on the appeal site in Loxwood Rd had been refused by Waverley Planners. The Government had a change in its approach where homes should be built in future, in part due to the Pandemic.

The whole issue of the environment has become more critical since the Pandemic.  The UK Government has issued guidance on mental and physical wellbeing and the importance of the environment in which we live. Isolating families in villages without facilities is a recipe for disaster that leads to theft, drugs, and anti-social behaviour.

The Environment Bill spanning the next 25 years promoted the protection of the natural environment, evidenced by Cop 26, and homes should be built where they can benefit communities, not damage them.

“The Bill in the Queens Speach asks us to be greener to keep us safer.”

A lifetime working in public health had shown her that protecting the natural environment was now more important than ever before.

She said further development in the countryside in Alfold should be refused and homes built on brownfield sites. But this had not happened in Alfold. A  huge rush of appeal decisions had brought with them a doubling of the size of the village, bringing with them increased traffic but no improvements in infrastructure. Villagers travelled, mainly by car, on congested busy roads to schools for health care, shopping and almost all their needs. The Loxwood Road was fast and busy, and the noise and fumes increased as other areas like Billingshurst were growing fast. She argued housing development should now be going into empty offices and redundant stores in major towns served by quality transport and health-care services.

Affordable housing is being “dumped into a corner of this vast Springbok Estate. Some families being allocated to these homes will need support, access to public transport, (very few buses in a day) GP surgeries, hospitals and health Hubs Alfold Village does not have these facilitates. “

“As for affordable homes. Those built elsewhere in Alfold recently at Sweeters Copse had not been popular. Homes did not sell and rents turned out to be double those of the older affordable housing built elsewhere in the village.”

She told the Inspector there were planning consents for over one million homes consented across the country had not been built.

I am at the end of my life, but I feel for the younger generation – they need space – and not buildings all over our green and pleasant land. Here in Alfold we wonder if  this scheme for 99 homes is just the start of a  Thakeham’s ambitions to move further across the Springbok land in due course.”

**Mr Gove has paused the former unpopular planning reforms proposed by the previous Secretary of State, Robert “Bob The Builder” Jenrick. He said he wants to review and engage constructively with his colleagues – one of whom happens to be his PPS, the MP for Guildford and Cranleigh Angela Richardson. 

The Inquiry continues. The developer’s description of Alfold today was diametrically opposed to those held by villagers, including Mrs Brown and Waverley Borough Council.

A developer’s spokesperson described it as – A village where everyone can cycle safely to Rudgwick and Cranleigh, Is close to the railway stations in Billingshurst, Witley and Milford. A village with good bus links, shops, pubs, and other amenities and residents in easy reach and can walk safely to shops.

 

 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “A resident describes the ‘real Alfold’ whilst a developer has a very different vision for the village’s future.”

  1. Well Done Mary – a Local Hero – who is also someone who has dedicated her life to the NHS – She is a neighbour to what will be the new access and will suffer the most from this development.
    As usual Thakeham – Who are concreting all over Loxwood and Bailed out of the Cranleigh site after they got planning permission (most likely – but unsubstantiated – that they knew all a long it would flood!)

    If they honestly think that the new residents on this site will cycle to Cranleigh/ Witley/ Godalming they must have lost the plot- If they think the new Demand responsive bus service (One Mini Bus 12 seats) will be able to cope with the new residents that may want to get to schools/Medical Appointments or Train stations at different times and therefore not need a car – REALLY? it just beggars belief that these people think they can hoodwink the Inspector with such tripe!

    As for the new pavement on Dunsfold road that we have been waiting for, for 6 years…. of course that will be the ideal means to get to job Opportunities once the Runway is closed and the Building works have been completed at Compasses Gate- But right now – You cannot access the Business park without a car. I wish I had been able to see this inquiry on-line but alas I work and only managed a few hours yesterday, it is not being recorded, so we will never know what was discussed unless we had the luxuary of being able to be on-line for the last week.

    I Honestly wish the residents of Loxwood Road the best on this one. Thakeham appear to think it is “In the bag” after all we will get nearly 200 new Trees (saplings and ones that in the fullness of time may hide this horrible development) but it it fine to remove a 100 year old Oak… In their mind we are a village with no Protection due to lack of Green Belt, AONB and AGLV next to this site, and therefore the complete lack of any Infrastructure in the village or anything Provided by Thakeham (after all it is not the 425 they originally wanted – so why should they do anything?)

    If this wins on appeal I am sure Thakeham will see this as stage 1 of many to reach their Original Goal of 400 Plus new homes and as incremental stages of Development will not require any Infrastructure improvements – They must be wondering why they didn’t do this in the 1st place??

  2. ‘close to railway stations at Witley…’. How far does public transport have to be before it can’t be referred to as close? In Waverley Alfold is as far as you can get from a rail station. Are paid consultants allowed to lie repeatedly?

  3. From what little I did manage to see I think our Solicitor did mention that we were as far away as you could get from a Train Station. What I really dislike the most is the fact that the Appellant’s Brief honestly thinks that the Inspectorate is Stupid.

    The only evidence I heard about the DRBS was what was in MY objection to this… I simply downloaded it from a Better Transport for England Website and I think they were all somewhat embarressed to have to fess up that the only info’came from a Third Party Objecter!!! Made me chortle anyway!

    I really hope that someone comes and does a site visit, and looks at the pavements on Loxwood road, you do have to cross the road currently to get from one pavement to the other, as for the pavement on the A281 towards Guildford, it ENDS just passed Crossways Cottages. The Pavement on the A281 towards Horsham is also poor and overgrown in parts for those with pushchairs or mobility issues, and as for Dunsfold Road towards Compasses Gate and the ONE PUB IN THE VILLAGE there is only pavement to Brockhurst Cottages on one side then you have to cross and face the traffic the wrong way. I know this new pavement is “IMMINENT” but we have been hearing that for years.. Perhaps SCC could shut me up if they told us WHEN?? Issues with land ownership and the bridge by the section that often leaks effluent seem to be the most common excuses…

    I am afraid SCC rarely say there are any issues with the Transport infrastructure around here or anywhere else, but seem to “pocket the funds” from S106 agreements and nothing changes. Heyho!

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