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.
“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but it also means the policies which are the most important for determining the application are automatically out-of-date and the tilted balance applies.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.