Scotland Park’s planner takes the stage on the penultimate day of the Red Court Inquiry.

With the Public Inquiry grinding towards a close, it was time for Redwood’s Planning guru to take centre stage.


Planner Charles Collins Planner told Government Inspector Helen Hochenhull that the scheme to build 50 homes on Red Court, Scotland Lane, was sustainable close to amenities and only a 10/20 minute walk from the town’s railway station.

The High-quality scheme was set back from Scotland Lane and was one of the best-designed schemes he had ever been involved with. Scotland Park was low-density homes with lots of green spaces delivered within five years, had addressed all technical issues, and had no statutory consultee objections. 

However, he said the most critical part of the developers’ case was the lack of a five-year housing land supply in the Borough of Waverley. A highly constrained borough boasted 61% Green Belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Value and Areas of Great Landscape Value.

I was disappointed with the outcome of Waverley Council’s planning committee meeting which was long – a couple of hours which was particularly telling and which is available for all on the council’s website.  It is clear from my view that members struggled to come up with credible planning reasons for refusal.

I would encourage everyone to view that video.

He said the one and a half storey and two storey homes would fit in well, and the apartments had been designed to look like houses. There would be two and three to four-bedroom homes reflecting the character of homes in the immediate area. No gas would be laid on. Conditions would cover any outstanding matters.

Haslemere’s Neighbourhood Plan (NP)had made no site allocations for future developments, and he questioned whether the settlement boundary had been updated. He confirmed to the Inspector that the NP group had made no effort to identify the site as a “green finger” or give it any special designation when it had an opportunity to do so.

In my view, at present, there is no immediate strategy to solve the immediate housing shortage in Haslemere. The neighbourhood plans  makes no  allocations. There is a requirement for 990 homes to be delivered in Haslemere in the Waverley Local Plan and only 23% (230 dwellings) have been delivered, halfway into the plan period.

Frankly, the town is nowhere near where it needs to be at this stage in the local planprocess.  It is also relevant that from 2023 based on the present standard method there will be a 38.7% uplift in the overall borough’s housing requirement – 507 p.a.  up 733 p.a. 

The council recognised there is an acute need for affordable homes. In the plan, as does the NP.

Waverley’s Monitoring Reports revealed the low proportion of homes delivered. There was a deficit in six of the past eight years, which was consistently shown by the number of successful planning appeals.

Contrary to Waverley’s own reporting they have failed year after year on their 5 year land supply.”

The council knew this, hence the reason why the council officers recommended approving this scheme in the first place. There needs to be borough-wide action to address this and in my view, Local Plan 2 provides only part of the solution. The council’s reliance on delivering major sites in Dunsfold and Milford and its reliance on a patchwork of Neighbourhood Plans, some made, some not majority not.

The council could and should have have done much better in the first part of the plan period.

 He said a was decision needed now, which means greenfield developments, and the best places for these were in Waverley’s principal towns.  

 When Inspector Bore examined Waverley’s Local Plan, he made it clear that the provision of the ~Part 2  was required ” promptly.

”  It was expected in 2019, and now I predict it will be 2023 some 4 years late.

The Royal Junior School at Hindhead, which had been included in LP2 following the removal of Red Court, was already the subject of objections from statutory consultees, including Natural England and Sports England. The majority of the site was not previously developed land, and IF it came forward would have to be less than 90 homes. It was further away from Hindhead amenities, train and transport routes.

However, there was No objection from Natural  England or Surrey Wildlife  Trust. The SW Trust acknowledged that Red Court was not a priority habitat. Mitigation measures proposed will give a Biodiversity net gain. Conditions agreed between Waverley, and the developer could protect dormice and reptiles.

He said much had been made of the possibility of Red Court’s possible inclusion when Natural England made the AONB Review decision. That was some years away and may need a public inquiry as it would affect many towns and villages in Surrey. There is much evidence gathering underway. There is no harm to the heritage, woodland ecology, air quality, drainage, transport, no safety issues, only minor or moderate harm on the wider landscape.

 Mr Collins summarised the numerous benefits; affordable housing provision (homes provided in perpetuity), market housing; all the area residents would benefit from the safer pedestrian and cycle links to the town centre. A Biodiversity net gain goes way above that required. Countryside links will transform private land, linking it to the national park beyond.

There would be construction jobs. There would be electric recharging points and open spaces for play. 

Community  Infrastructure Levy of  2.3m which goes straight to Waverley and Haslemere Town Council to spend on local infrastructure improvements, that will beenfit everyone.”I firmly believe once completed this deveopment will be a benefit to Haslemere and will provide new homes for 50 families. 

The Inquiry was extended for an additional day and a site visit the following Tuesday.



















7 thoughts on “Scotland Park’s planner takes the stage on the penultimate day of the Red Court Inquiry.”

  1. Having had the chance to read Cllr Mulliner’s piece in the Haslemere Herald, it does beg the question as to how WBC got themselves into this mess resulting in the delay of LPP2 meaning that other areas of the Borough have been subject to multiple Appeals and a huge increase in the number of New homes to be built elsewhere.

    As you will be aware WW – we in Alfold are awaiting the Appeal decision for 99 (yes 99…) new homes to be built by Thakeham homes. Alfold has had 343 New Homes Approved since 2014, with 193 on Appeal and a further 30 Pending and that is before we hear what the latest plans are for Wildwood Golf Course.

    I simply do not understand why this particular Application has had so much “Air-time” when you couldn’t even see the Thakeham Appeal unless you took the week off work.

    It just feels like there is a Bigger Influence at play here, to remove a site that was in LPP1 and approved by the Planners, to a site in the AONB that is significantly further away from the Town centre and was only ever supposed to have houses built on the Existing Hard Standing and not the playing fields.

    I think Cllr Mulliner says it so much better than I do – So I paste it in – in case anyone is interested……………………

    ” IT IS no surprise Haslemere’s Hazel Grove residents feel abandoned by Waverley following the inclusion of the Royal Junior School, Hindhead, site in Waverley’s Local Plan Part 2 (LPP2) submission.
    LPP2 could have been submitted in March 2021 in a robust and “inspector-proof” form by including the Red Court site at Scotland Lane, which planning officers had recommended, not least because it was within feasible walking and cycling distance of Haslemere town centre.
    However, political considerations led to the late entry of the geographically-remote Royal Junior School site as a replacement for Red Court and this delayed the submission of LPP2 by almost a year.
    One of the reasons for the multi-month delay was stated to be the time Waverley officers needed to sift through all the objections to the inclusion of Red Court.
    A further round of consultation was held about the new site and, predictably, this site aroused just as much local Haslemere opposition as Red Court.
    However, the Hazel Grove residents could not boast the same close ties to the Waverley leadership and their equally numerous objections were able to be “sifted” in only a few days and were duly ignored.
    The Royal Junior School site is a risky inclusion in Waverley’s LPP2. It lies in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and over four-fifths of its 24 acres is open space that has never had a building on it.
    Waverley’s administration claims all 24 acres fall within the National Planning Policy Framework definition of “previously developed land”.
    However, the definition actually states: “Land which is or was occupied by a permanent structure, including the curtilage of the developed land (although it should not be assumed that the whole of the curtilage should be developed) and any associated fixed surface infrastructure.”
    Curtilage is an inexact term which usually means the land immediately adjacent to a dwelling.
    Asking a planning inspector to treat nearly 20 acres of AONB playing fields as “curtilage” so they can be covered in houses is very optimistic.
    The risk for the borough and all its residents is what happens if the inspector rejects the site and demands a major modification to replace it.
    If there is no replacement site available, the most likely reaction will be to throw out the whole LPP2 and tell Waverley to start again. This will lay the whole borough open to a fresh wave of opportunistic development.”

    By Stephen Mulliner
    Leader, Waverley Borough Council’s Conservative opposition group

  2. Most recognise the requirement for affordable homes but what is affordable? If a Developer declares that they are going to build affordable homes then a planning condition to deliver them with no wriggle room must be imposed. It remains a challenge to understand how much more development can be sustainable in Waverley without a transparent Strategic Environment Assessment and sustainability appraisal, a requirement of Section 19 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.

  3. re the SEA and Sustainability Appraisal. There is a Reg 19 SEA and SA prepared by Atkins and dated November 2020 for LPP2 on the WBC website, although whether it counts as ‘transparent’ and meets the requirements I couldn’t say.

  4. Let’s be honest about this – It is a load of Cr*p

    WBC have failed us in the Eastern Villages and Cranleigh and have made no effort (which ever Colour you are) to make reparations – I am sorry Haslemere & Godalming – But about time you Pulled your Finger Out and shared some of this PAIN – Get on with it and Grow up -It is not all about your Lovely Towns (as we are just a not particularly attractive village – NOTE!!!)

    Sorry but get used to this – Until WBC sort them selves out with this 5 Year Plan we are all in a Doggy-mess and Do NOT Put all your Eggs in Dunsfold Park…. Just saying………

  5. Oh Crikes WW – My first one hasn’t gone through so if I am repeating myself ignore me and delete – No Wonder we are losing the will to live on this…………………

    I was just trying to say that Haselmere and Godalming have a lot to account for in that they have let us in the East take this Cr*P – About time THEY did – I really cannot go through my previous – Just to say about time they put a bit more into the Housing-pot then they have thus far – To say I am angry is nothing – I am finally FURIOUS of Alfold

  6. Denise,

    I would agree that Cranleigh and the Eastern Villages have taken a disproportionate amount of the housing relative to their population and transport links, but I take issue with you always pinning the blame on the other parts of the district, particularly Godalming which I know a lot better than Haslemere.

    Your current problem in Alfold and the surrounds is in part down to Green Belt policy (and every national political party says it supports GB policy and they re-state that support at every national election). The other contributory factor is the head in the sand approach to Government housing numbers and targets by WBC in the period 2007 about 2015 which locally put us on the back foot and meant for too many years WBC was reacting to ‘unplanned’ development proposals rather than practising proper ‘town planning’.

    So I agree the unprotected areas just beyond the Green Belt take a disproportionate hit, and it has been the case as long as I can remember. Farnham also had a bad run from about 2000? onwards but got a limited degree of protection as a result of its proximity to the Thames Basin Heaths SPA and the need for SANG. Now at least the development in Farnham is rather more planned, thanks to the determination of people like Carole Cockburn and others to push on with their Neighbourhood Plan.

    I would also say that around Godalming the obvious brownfield sites have largely now gone and been built out such as the old Godalming police station, offices all along Catteshall Lane, around Godalming railway station, Kennedy and Donkin, Scats, the Christian Scientists site and further out Milford Hospital and the Oceanographic centre at Wormley, plus various pubs and former employment sites. In Godalming many of these new dwellings are sub-standard flat conversions from offices which is allowed as a result of the Government’s totally misguided policy allowing for office conversions just using permitted development rights and these make no CIL contributions. So from what I can make out there isn’t much more opportunity for new dwellings in and around Godalming and the larger villages – at least not without releasing more Green Belt.

    In his report on LPP1 Inspector Bore said “The Government attaches great importance to the Green Belts. Their essential characteristics are openness and permanence. Once established, their boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances, through the preparation or review of the Local Plan.”
    Note that last bit – “in exceptional circumstances, through the preparation or review of the Local Plan”.
    In fact in LPP1 not only were a number of strategic sites removed from GB but 4 whole villages were removed from Green Belt namely Milford, Elstead, Chiddingfold and Witley where previously the Green Belt ‘washed over them’. An attempt by WBC to substitute new GB areas was rejected by Inspector Bore – “The submitted plan’s proposals to include new land in the Green Belt north of Cranleigh and north east of Farnham around Compton to the Green Belt are not justified by exceptional circumstances and are dealt with under the sections on Cranleigh and Farnham respectively.”

    So even if the rest of us want to alleviate the problems being created by the unplanned development around Alfold, I can’t see how anything can be done at the moment as planning policy prevents this – at least until there is a full local plan review. Even then, it won’t be easy to adjust the balance, for the reasons I’ve already explained.

  7. Hi Kathy
    Sorry Probably like you – Working all day and first chance to do anything Personal.. always too late at night.

    Anyway appreciate that someone takes an interest in this – But I am afraid I have to disagree with you.

    I understand the need for Green Belt – But as I have said so many times before – The ONLY areas that get Greenbelt are between TOWNS to stop URBAN SPREAD – it is not always the most productive agricultural Land it is often just pasture lands by the side of Motorways in between TOWNS – This is what makes me so angry – If we are to protect the COUNTRYSIDE we need to protect the most valuable land not just Green Fingers in between towns.

    We know we have a major issue with our Biodiversity in this Country and just being Green Belt is not enough – Why we do not grade land PROPERLY so that Ag Land that falls into the most important categories is as fully Protected to the same degree as the “Green Belt” We have a developer proposing development on Grade II land – But it means Nothing – Why – Because nothing has Changed – and we need to change this.

    I just don’t think it is good enough to lie down and say – “ah well no Greenbelt – No AONB – We are F*cked” It made no odds that DP was in the AGLV or close to the AONB … It was Brownfield so Not a problem- But that was a Major issue with this Haslemere development – Do you not understand why I am angry?

    Dunsfold Park was the panacea that WBC and everyone else was looking for – but it came with risks that no-one foresaw – But they should have been a bit more canny – to put so much of your Local Plan in One development – When it had been clear for ages that Trinity were Hacked off with the lack of movement on this and who can blame the Greedy-B*stards? Please do not tell me that WBC didn’t know that DP was going tits up last year? It was fairly obvious if you looked at Trinity’s Website – but as the DP Meetings were without Minutes no-one could ask any questions.

    I am sorry I know I bang on rather too much – But someone has to – or we all end up with the feeling of “What is the Point??” I don’t want our little village to be overwhelmed and I don’t want to see New Residents feeling that they have bought into a place that was not what they hoped for as I saw last month at the APC.

    I just do not see that it is right – Just because it has been going on for years – Doesn’t mean we cannot do anything to change this?? I know there are good Councillors and much as I may have maligned Cllr Cockburn in the past – she is one of the few that ever mentions Alfold and even knows how to say it – She wasn’t always Kind about us – But I do think she is an Honorable Councillor and worthy of her post.

    Maybe I expect too much – and I no longer know why I bother – I am not really affected by any of this – I am self employed – can chose my work time and have no Kids and I am hardly Young!!! – But I love my adopted Home. It is the injustice of this that gets me, and the fact that it is widely know if this development doesn’t go ahead then the rest of borough will have to take up the slack (Again) so Yes I do bang on about the rest of the borough and I really appreciate your Updates on Godalming – I wasn’t as aware as I should have been, so for that I apologise, but it doesn’t negate the ridiculous amount of Development here in Cranleigh and the Villages.

    I was also annoyed that the WW gave so much Web-space to this Application when ours in the Village for Thakeham’s 99 New Homes got nothing – I don’t know how you can ensure you get Zoom coverage – But if you know – Please do share so I can ensure APC and our Councillor also knows. We should have our result by tomorrow – But not holding my breath – as it was a nightmare – Not only was it not on-line so I couldn’t watch when I finished work – But I couldn’t add anything to the meeting due to not knowing what had gone on before.

    I don’t know where you live – You do know where I live – maybe we could share – as your Knowledge is obviously Very extensive so I guess you have lived in the Borough for many years. – I am an Annoying Newby of only 7.5years – But I do think in fairness it would be kind of you to share (even if Off-Line). I am not a vindictive person – I just want to protect our village – I am not asking to be liked about this I just want some justice for our Village.

    As ever – Thanks for keeping the Little Grey Cells Working

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