Red Court, Haslemere going under bricks and mortar.

For the second time in a month, a  Government Inspector has concluded ‘Your Waverley’ does not have a 5-year but only a 4.25 year housing land supply

Inspector Helen Hockenhull has ruled that developers Redwood can build 50 houses, 15 of which will be “affordable in perpetuity” on land off Scotland Lane Haslemere.

Appeal Decision APP/R3650/W/21/3280136

During a gruelling six-day public inquiry conducted by zoom, the Inspector gave ample opportunity for objectors to have their say. This was markedly different to Harold Stephens approach to Alfold residents just three weeks earlier, giving one villager five minutes to speak.

Although Waverley couldn’t demonstrate a 5-year supply of deliverable housing land, the Inspector said neither could it demonstrate important planning policies to uphold the view that the appeal should be refused. She claimed the policies were “out of date.” So, therefore, permission should be granted as the benefits demonstrably outweighed the harm. 

I have concluded that the Council cannot demonstrate a 5-year supply of deliverable housing land.The Council suggest that the 5-year supply is 5.2 years based on their amended completions data. The Appellant suggests that it is just under 4 years.

In light of my findings above, I conclude that the Council can demonstrate a supply of deliverable housing land of around 4.25 years.

However, she admitted there would be harm to residents living in Scotland Close, from overlooking and the development would have –

“a major adverse impact on the character of the site.”

However, Due to the lack of intervisibility and the fact that the site was visibly well contained, this impact would be localised. However, it would still fail to recognise the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside and protect the character and qualities of the AGLV. Therefore, the appeal scheme did conflict with paragraph 174 (b) of the Framework and LPP1 Policies RE1 and RE3(ii).

She acknowledged that the local community valued the site, and it formed an area of attractive countryside. The main visual impact of the development would be for users of Scotland Lane and residents on Scotland Close. However, this could be mitigated to some degree by tree screening, but it would not wholly screen and the new development would result in an adverse impact.

“However, in my view, whilst the appeal site has a medium landscape quality and some ecological value,  criteria. I am not persuaded that it forms a valued landscape.”

She said proposed pedestrian improvements necessary to mitigate the impact of the proposal would cause harm to the character and appearance of the area. However, she recognised they would also benefit the wider community.

“I conclude that the proposed pedestrian improvements would cause harm to the character and appearance of the area. This harm has to be weighed against the benefits of the scheme in terms of pedestrian safety.”

The site was suitable for residential development, close to Haslemere’s shops and services and close to public transport connections.

Red Court was within National Character Area 120 Wealden Greensand, and characterised by undulating and organic landform, with semi-natural habitats including lowland heath, fields in irregular patterns bounded by hedgerows, pastoral and arable land within a wooded framework and large houses within extensive parks and gardens. However, the site had not been managed appropriately for a number of years, leading to an invasion of Japanese Knotweed and dense spindly plantation woodland. 

Housing land supply.

Waverley’s housing requirement is  590 dwellings per year together with a  5 % buffer. 

The parties disagreed on the total five-year housing requirement (including the buffer and the shortfall) due to discrepancies that had come to light regarding completions.

Although an additional 246 completions had been identified from monitoring years 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20, resulting in 3439 total completions, this arose because Waverley had taken into consideration Building Control and Council Tax data. There was also found to be an issue with residential institutions (C2 uses) not being included. 

The Inspector acknowledged that the previous data has been relied on to inform the Annual Monitoring Report and was passed to Government for the Housing Delivery Test assessment. However, it was her view that it was inappropriate for the Council not to highlight the issue and correct its data. Not to do so, would compound the error.

“On that basis, I find that the 5-year housing requirement should be 4460 dwellings.”

Although the borough and Haslemere, in particular, are highly constrained, there was an acute need for homes and the Council had failed to meet the local housing need figure in 9 of the last 12 years.

“I acknowledge that the most recent figures, 2019/20 and 2020/21, show an improving picture, with the Council meeting its housing requirement, but there is still a significant deficit. Furthermore, the direction of travel, with the introduction of the standard methodology is upward, with an increased housing need figure of around 38% on the Local Plan Part 1 requirement.”

 Haslemere has a specific minimum housing target of 990 net homes to be provided between 2013 and 2032. In April 2021, 23% of that requirement has been delivered. Taking account of outstanding permissions, 316 dwellings will need to be allocated in Local Plan Part 2. Waverley and the developer agreed that the new homes required could not be delivered without making use of greenfield land outside the settlement, including Areas of Great Landscape Value (AGLV) land or sites within Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB.)

Local Plan Part 2

Although submitted for examination in December 2021. The Inspector concluded it was unlikely to be adopted for 12-18 months. So offered no immediate solution to the borough’s housing need.  Draft allocations are subject to objection and once the plan is adopted it would take time for sites to go through the planning process and deliver new homes.

The Royal Junior School, Hindhead was now available and a draft allocation in the LPP2. Located in AONB it was not an edge of settlement site and only partially previously developed. The LPP2 Inspector would need to determine whether it was a suitable location for residential development. The Council is optimistic that sites will come forward and achieve the required housing delivery in the remainder of the plan period.

The Inspector said:

“Taking an optimistic view, whilst this may be feasible, the housing need in Haslemere is now.”


Ecological surveys indicated the site had some ecological value but there were no ecological constraints and no objections to the development from Natural England or Surrey Wildlife Trust. 

Benefits to the economy.

The scheme would create local construction jobs and support the local supply chain. Though these benefits would be short-lived long-term benefits would accrue from future residents spending in the local economy.

A bird in the bush is worthless?

The Inspector said.

As I intend to to allow this  appeal the Conservation of Habitat and Protected Species legislation requires that I undertake an Appropriate Assesment I am satisfied that I have sufficient information to allow me to do this.

However, it seems clear to the  Waverley Web that as we can find no evidence – that she has conducted an Appropriate Assessment. 

Dunsfold Garden Village

Dunsfold Park allocated in LPP1 for 2600 dwellings with planning permission for 1800 dwellings. The proposed Garden Village includes care home accommodation, a local centre, primary school, health centre, community centre and open space. Homes England funding had been achieved to support delivery. The Appellant considers the site will not contribute towards the five-year housing supply whilst the Council predict 50 dwellings in 2023/24 rising to 200 dwellings per annum thereafter.

The Inspector accepted planning consent had been granted for the access road and roundabout, and works would commence in 2022, but the council had provided no firm start date to the Inquiry. There were delays as the landowner was selling the site and a preferred bidder was keen to make progress.

 “But that party is an investment company and not a housebuilder. A developer partner would need to be sought once the acquisition has taken place. The Council advise that the Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for the site is likely to be adopted in February 2022. I consider it most likely that the preferred bidder and developer partner would not wish to progress with the current outline consent but would seek an amended consent having regard to the SPD. Such matters would take time to resolve.

I accept that development could start on the site while temporary uses remain. I also acknowledge that the site benefits from an implementable outline consent, however as discussed above, there is no evidence that the subsequent reserved matters application would be progressed.

In light of the above factors, I consider that delivery in 2023/24 as suggested by the Council is unrealistic. On the basis of the evidence before me, the delivery of new homes could optimistically commence in 2025/26. I therefore push delivery back 2 years and assume delivery of 50 dwellings in 2025/26. Consequently, I remove 400 dwellings from the supply.”

 Waverley was in the process of preparing the Waverley Borough Council Local Plan Part 2: Site Allocation’s and Development Management Policies (LPP2)  formally submitted for examination to the Secretary of State on 22 December 2021.

“Whilst this document is well advanced, I am aware of a number of objections to it, such that I afford it limited weight in this appeal.”

 For the reasons given above, and taking account of all other matters raised, I conclude that the appeal should be allowed, subject to conditions. 

Helen Hockenhull

You can read the complete Appeal Decision here:

Haslemere Appeal Decision 3280136 (1)

10 thoughts on “Red Court, Haslemere going under bricks and mortar.”

  1. There are few winners in this sorry debacle which brings to a conclusion a three year campaign to stop the development. A campaign which has unfortunately divided the town and seen very underhand tactics on both sides. The outcome has been entirely predictable since the Loxwood Road appeal was allowed.

    Cllr Follows’ tweet decrying the decision may be good politics but when he argues that the decision “ignores sense” he seems to be ignoring the conclusion his own officers who recommended approving the development when it went to the planning committee over the summer.

    Haslemere is now in the sorry position that Red Court has the go ahead, meanwhile councillors and town councillors have pushed forward other sites which may no longer be necessary. It seems likely to me that thanks to the work of the anti-Red Court lobby that we will end up with development at both Red Court and the Royal School. This has a considerable negative impact on the town but in particular residents on Scotland Lane, Farnham Lane and Hazel Grove.

    The decision to delay LPP2 for 9 months purely to remove Red Court from the allocated sites has proven to be profoundly ill thought through and has a negative impact on the borough. This was entirely avoidable and the local councillors – town and borough – who have pushed forward these policies need to accept their role in the mess. They have put their own interests over those of the town and borough and they have overseen a serious strategic failure. Today they should hang their heads in shame.

    1. The winners are the families who will move into the area. From our experience, it is mainly families from other parts of the country joining us. However, rather like the eastern villages, Haslemere will probably get both developments – but then this will add to their housing supply of over 1,000 when the additional homes are added to the 990 figure. Here at the WW, we take no comfort in this decision, inevitable, although it most definitely is. Future development has driven a wedge through the very heart of Haslemere, and we are glad you accept the underhand tactics on both sides. The eastern villages opposed Dunsfold – now the countryside they too treasured is covered in new homes, and Dunsfold, in addition, will soon be developed. Many thousands of homes in an area with no railway station unlike Haslemere – which has a train station and is close to the A3. Why does it make sense to impose several thousand homes in Cranleigh – over 400 in Alfold (a tiny village with few amenities) 2,600 at Dunsfold and not several thousand in Haslemere with all its amenities – a Community Hospital, station, schools, shops etc? Perhaps someone should tell the folk in the eastern villages why they have to take the bulk of Waverley’s housing requirement?

  2. It is essential that planning conditions now ensure that affordable homes are “affordable in perpetuity.” With Developers return on equity of up to 20% there is “affordability” within their system.

    1. The affordable homes component in Red courts plans are “affordable in perpetuity” and it is a deliverable and sustainable site. The only real opposition to it comes from NIMBY’s. Independent Cllrs against development over their back fences but support the Royal School site on AONB, outside the settlement boundary, no mains drainage, further from shops which mean you need a car to access – and dependent upon blocking the mainly single track Farnham Lane when over 200 prep school kids are moved up to join the senior school site

  3. I think most people here in the Eastern Villages know exactly why a disproportionate amount of Housing is being developed here…We have little to no Protection and Countryside Beyond the Greenbelt seems to mean little to nothing. Whilst there are proposals to change the AONB boundaries, until something is actually decided it has no weight in the Tilted Balance that the Inspectors refer to due to the lack of the 5 year Housing Supply. Although it is worth noting that the Dunsfold Park Approved Outline Application IS Visible from the AONB and within the AGLV in parts.

    The Loxwood Road Appeal was lost based on it and I have no doubt the A281 Horsham Road Appeal for 86 More homes next to the BP Petrol Station will have the same outcome, yet barely gets a mention.
    The Appeal is on the 9th February for …ONE DAY.. that is all we deserve. One measly Zoom Day. I cannot remember how many days the Red Court Appeal had – But I know it was a damn sight more than ONE DAY – Why is that? When this application is on GRADE II Farmland, with access from the busy A281 – Where even the Farmers who own the land said in their their letter of 17th March 2021

    “.. we were regularly transporting large vehicles and other farming equipment down to the field. Although not a significant distance, this was challenging due to the number of cars along Horsham Road and would create problems in accessing the site…”

    Guess we can add them to 343 Completions & Approvals thus far PLUS:

    99 Thakeham homes on Loxwood Road – Won on Appeal
    11 new homes to be added onto the existing Application of the 30 by Brockhurst Farm, Dunsfold Road,
    9 More homes after the Demolition of Medland House next to the Garden Centre Site on Horsham Road
    (same owner as Garden Centre) but no need for Affordable houses.

    I know life isn’t fair – but surely Someone can see that this amount of Housing in a small semi-rural Village of some 450 Homes (Census 2011), with no Trains, Limited Bus Service, No Medical or Educational facilities within walking distance, a single pub, a Restaurant open Thurs-Sun, Post Office/Shop (1/2days only for Post office)

    We all know that Wildwood Golf & Country club has been closed for years, but still has an Extant Planning Application for a new Golf Course and Hotel, but they have recently applied for a New Access to the Golf Course some distance down the Horsham Road, Even Ex-Club Members know that this will not be a New Golf Club and I am sure that the PGA who were supposed to move here – have no Intention of doing so – so we have another Potential Housing Application coming our way on this beautiful wild site and I am sure they are looking at the 5 year Plan and knowing Now is the time to stop with Pre-Application meetings and get their Housing Application in now!!!

  4. Rumour has it Waverley have begun proceedings for a judicial review in Alfold. Red Court next I assume. Two more defeats for the administration to add to their tally.

    1. Sigh… I agree it is a mess and no-one at WBC is willing to acknowledge their failings – and it is US here that are bearing the brunt of it…. At Least Cllr Cockburn has made comments about this mess here in Alfold – But few else….

      It is easy to allow this to happen when you have such a small amount of Voters in a small Village – We are hardly going to make a difference in Local Elections in 2023 are we?? – The larger Towns are far more important and of course Cranleigh sits at the bottom of the Table as the smallest of the 4 Towns

      In case we forget (2011 Census):

      Farnham 39488 – 25% of the Borough
      Godalming 21804 – 18% of the Borough
      Haslemere/Hindhead 16826 – 14% of the Borough
      Cranleigh 11492 – 9% Of the Borough

      It isn’t surprising is it?

      I have not heard a thing from our MP on this and no longer hold any hope of doing so… So we will go through this charade and pretend we have Councillors that care about this part of the Borough.

      1. The decision to seek a judicial review on Alfold was confirmed by Cllr Ellis on twitter last night (tweets since deleted).

        The issue of course is that they don’t seem to have credible grounds to appeal. It’s done in hope rather than expectation and all at our expense.

        Time they focused on some of the issues that they can influence, rather than flogging the same old dead horses. It’s pure vanity from Paul Follows, who is very happy spending other people’s money on these pointless pursuits.

    2. Sigh, where have you heard this? It would be useful if the Council (Cllr Follows?) can confirm this.

      1. There is reference to the Judicial Review challenge in Alfold in this weeks Haslemere Herald.

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