On Day 5 of the Alfold Public Inquiry, Thakeham Homes was relentless in its punishing attack on Waverley’s “out of date” Local Plans.
http://Appeal: APP/R3650/W/21/3278196 – Land at Hollyoak Loxwood Rd, Alfold.
Thakeham claimed was LP Part 1 was “out of date, and LP Part 2, pulled by the Tories shortly before the last election, had languished with the new authority for three years.
When inspector Harold Stevens asked why? He was told it was all down to “politics.”
“unlikely to ever be endorsed by an Inspector under examination and its 5.2 year housing land supply included developments that were either, unachievable, unviable, undeliverable or unsustainable in locations in Dunsfold, Haslemere, Farnham, Cranleigh, Milford or Hindhead.
Speaking On behalf of Thakeham Homes in its bid to build 99 homes at Alfold Crossways – poacher turned gamekeeper, and former Reading Council planning officer Timothy Burden said he sympathised with the challenges Waverley faced.
The borough’s environmental constraints made it one of the most constrained boroughs in the country.
Waverley’s Barrister Robin Green said Waverley LP Part 2 could be with the Inspectorate within a matter of days, and Inspector Stevens could have an e-mail on its way to him notifying him shortly.
However, Mr Burden said:
I would be absolurely amazed if its Local Plan Part 2 is found to be sound under examination. I think it will fall into an abyss! I will only believe it when I see it.”
Without a sound LP2 (which earmarks Waverley’s future housing growth, including site allocations) combined with its out of date Local Plan, in which he claimed there was a shortfall of 4,000 homes due in part to Dunsfold not going ahead, which has led to losing about 350 homes per year.
As controversial as this suggestion may sound to many, the council would be better off starting on a new Local Plan
Waverley’s Barrister Robin Green asked Mr Burden if a significant part of the developer’s case was that both LP1 and LP2 were out of date. To which Mr. responded, yes.
Throughout the Inquiry, Thakeham has criticised the lack of Neighbourhood Plans in the borough and Alfold. They said they had searched through Alfold Parish Council minutes for any information on its NP, but its last published minutes were dated November 2018.
We canot find any evidence of progress on its Neighbourhood Plan, either we cannot find it or it has stalled and simply doesn’t exist.”
Thakeham claimed an acute shortage of affordable homes (AH) in Waverley, with many consented sites not meeting the AH threshold. In the life of the plan, 547 AH homes were built – a shortfall of 1,753. The housing shortage in Waverley and Surrey was more acute than elsewhere in the country, and the average house price was £500,000 – twice the national average.
The development now proposed by The Merchant Seaman’s War Memorial Society and Thakeham Homes would have a basket of benefits, including 30% AH’s, market housing, bus stops, traffic calming and a demand response bus service. The Charity would also benefit from a capital receipt. If, or when the Dunsfold Garden Village was built, Alfold residents would benefit from all the facilities proposed there.
Thakeham’s Barrister Sasha White said a 106 legal agreement between Waverley, Surrey County Council and the developers would be signed over the next few days, together with conditions covering the site’s development.
Waverley’s Barrister maintained that Alfold had already taken more than its fair share of development. Due to its lack of infrastructure, it should only accept an amount of housing commensurate with its size.
Villagers are asking? Are the developers putting the champagne on ice before embarking on its previous much bigger scheme if it gets this appeal in the bag?
Today Wednesday, the Inspector visits proposed sites in Dunsfold, Haslemere, Hindhead, Haslemere, and Farnham.
Closing statements at 1.45 pm.