Could ‘Your Waverley’ be girding its loins to challenge a Government Inspector’s appeal decision?


The ink was barely dry when Waverley’s Chief Planning Officer Zac Ellwood told a planning committee how “very disappointed” he was at an Alfold planning appeal decision.

Alfold set to go under more concrete as Waverley’s 5-year housing supply ruled at 4.01 years by Government Inspector

“Disappointed?” we would have put it rather more strongly. “Disappointed” is when they have run out of Greggs sausage rolls, or you didn’t get the gift out of the cracker you pulled. “Surely Shock, horror” would have been a more appropriate description? Government Inspector Harold Stephens had just ruled that Waverley’s housing land supply was only 4.01 years. Way below the loud protestations made by Waverley’s Barrister to him over six long days that it had 5.2 years. Only days later at the Red Court, Haslemere Appeal Inquiry, this figure was reduced by its own volition by Waverley Planners to 5 years.

Looking visibly shaken, Mr Ellwood told councillors that regardless of what an Inspector said, he maintained the borough did have a 5-year housing land supply.

When officers had enough time to digest and examine the decision notice – “forensically line by line,” the decision may be challenged.

(Con Godalming’s) Cllr Steve Cosser asked Mr Ellwood where members stood on future applications bearing in mind the Alfold Inspector’s decision?

He wanted 100% clarity on the council’s position to help him determine future applications.

I understand officers will want to look at that decision in some detail, but what I want to understand is, if this becomes the established position (4.01 years) then the ** tilted balance kicks in which is a huge worry to all of us.  I realise we don’t have time here to discuss what all the implications of this decision are, but I, and this committee need to know when the ** tilted balance kicks in. I want to understand as a member  to do my job properly. Should I be taking account of this Inspector’s decision now when I look at these applications before us  using the **tilted balance?

** Regards the tilted balance. The Inspector’s decision letter on Thakeham Homes and The Merchant Seman’s War Memorial Society’s Appeal for 99 homes off Loxwood Road, Alfold stated.

Although the Council maintains there is a 5.22 year supply, in my view, there is a housing land supply equivalent to 4.01 years. 90. The implications of not having a five-year housing land supply are significant. Not only is there a shortfall of some 885 dwellings, but it also means the policies which are the most important for determining the application are automatically out-of-date and the tilted balance applies. I conclude on the third issue that the Council cannot demonstrate a five-year housing land supply and that paragraph 11 d) of the NPPF is engaged.

Appeal decision 3278196

5 thoughts on “Could ‘Your Waverley’ be girding its loins to challenge a Government Inspector’s appeal decision?”

  1. Whilst Waverley Councillors are entitled to consider an appeal the chances of them doing so without considerable and long lasting consequence si slight. The realms of Party politics above and beyond their control may well fall upon them with a heavy blow. But. Perhaps it is time one small Borough took up the fight? Jeremy Hunt could lead (for once) a backlash from the Surrey Hills against his own Governments policy. And pigs might fly. I anticipate Waverley will accept they have no choice but to completely rethink and with much haste and boiw to the inevitable. The past has come back to bite deep. I personally view the Alfold situation as one that will repeat itself on every piece of land around every village in Waverley. If its not an SSI then its under consideration. Let us for a moment consider the Seamans Home decision and how that will impacton the land around it. I anticipate that every field will have an application on it within a year oif not sooner. Using the canal as a boundary I anticipate an arc of applications to Loxwood. Sidney Wood being the only green left. And if anyone thinks they area safe and it’s all happening away from Elstead Frensham Thursley it will come knocking on the door soon enough. The commons being the only protection from the developers. The whole charachter of Waverley is changing and changing at an incredible pace. What was country is now a suburb. Perhaps it is time that a Council was brave enough to say NO. But I fear the retribution and the greasy business of political power will mire any attempt. Prove me wrong Waverley. Prove me wrong. Clifford Jones @MeaninglessMud

  2. Why do Waverley continue to bury their heads in the sand? when was the last time that an Inspector agreed that the Council has a five year housing land supply? I suggest that officers go on training or that this function is outsourced to someone competent (a primary school child would do)

  3. I can’t imagine Waverley think Alfold is worthy of a challenge. They may take a different view on Red Court should that be allowed by the Inspector as they seem to give that one greater importance for some inexplicable reason.

  4. Zac Ellwood once again showing just how useless he is! The council are in a crisis (of their own making!) and seem only to want to dig deeper and deeper. Follows has now appointed his political buddy Cllr Townsend to look after the poisoned chalice of planning and all she has done to date is to blame the Tories for all that is wrong in Waverley. Perhaps the Progressive Alliance led by Follow’s Lib Dems learn to take some of the blame – after all the land supply figures were supplied by them! On the one hand they say developers aren’t building the much needed homes and then they submit a site (Royal School Hindhead) that is completely at variance with Haslemere’s neighbourhood Plan which they refer to when it suits and disregard when it isn’t convenient. Follows and his “Followers” have much to answer for as they have created a complete mess and they suggest they may use more taxpayers money to try and defend themselves!

  5. WW Nothing to add – All been so well said above on this one.

    We are Stuffed here in Alfold and we have two further Addon-Applications Adding to the Garden Centre and Adjacent to Brockhurst Farm.
    The Brockhurst Farm goes from 23 to 30 with the 7 Approved next door PLUS 11 TO.. 41 – More than the Appeal Inspector thought could be taken on the site and was refused on Appeal

    The Garden Centre – Application goes from 56 – Plus 9 With the demolition of Medland House so taking that to 65 New homes

    Then we have the ONE DAY APPEAL for the Horsham Road Application of 86 NEW HOMES on 9th Feb – Well they are NOT Thakeham are they? so it will be a ONE DAY ZOOM. It may get Refused – if they haven’t filled the Tory Coffers – Who Knows??

    When is anyone at WBC going to say something about this? – I like the fact that Zac said something but we need a more robust discussion from WBC to our Local MPs about this – as we are simply being shafted.

    Forget Party-Gate – What about Develop-Gate – Maybe we need a more Robust FOI into all the Developers that have paid into TORY Funds?? – I am disgusted with the lot of them.

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