As Waverley Planners prepare to fight yet another Alfold Planning Appeal for 86 homes – the council’s Executive intends to challenge in the courts an Inspector’s decision to allow 99 elsewhere in the village.
Legal eagles are putting the finishing touches to their presentations for an appeal next Wednesday, February 9, by W.E. Black Ltd to build 86 homes on high-grade agricultural land adjacent to the Alfold BP Petrol Station.
At the same time, Waverley’s eager legal’s prepare to challenge the courts the decision made just weeks ago by Inspector Harold Stephens giving Thakeham Homes the all-clear to build 99 homes off nearby Loxwood Road.
Alfold set to go under more concrete as Waverley’s 5-year housing supply ruled at 4.01 years by Government Inspector
Just days after, yet another Inspector Helen Hockenhull granted an appeal by developer Redwood to build 50 homes on land off Scotland Lane in Haslemere. Red Court, Haslemere going under bricks and mortar.
Haslemere Town has provided just 23% of its 990 home allocation, while Alfold village has provided 364 of its allocation of 125 homes!
Do any of these inspectors look at the accumulative effect of all this housing on individual areas?
The only difference between the two Inspector’s views of Waverley’s 5- year housing land supply was Inspector Harold saying it was 4.1 years and Inspector Helen saying it was 4.25 years.
But before the bulldozers roll into the Thakeham Homes & Merchant Seaman’s War Memorial Society’s green fields – ‘Your Waverley’ is to make a last-ditch attempt to overturn Happy Harold’s ruling.
It maintains there had been “significant opposition” to the application, initially refused in March 2021, due to its excessive scale.
However, the council believes the Inspector has either “misapplied or misinterpreted” key adopted policies in its development plan, as well as the national policy on sustainability. It maintains it has a legitimate claim to quash the appeal decision on legal grounds. Given the significant planning implications for the borough arising from this appeal, it is determined to challenge the appeal ruling in the courts.
Thakeham had previously sought permission in 2018 for 425 homes – now villagers believe the latest appeal decision will open the floodgates to further development in future.
Cllr Liz Townsend Waverley’s Portfolio Holder for Planning said:
“This appeal decision bulldozes straight through the wishes of the local community and completely ignores our spatial strategy. Alfold clearly cannot take development at this level as there simply isn’t the infrastructure or local services to support it.
We have taken legal advice and we believe we will be able to make a robust case that the Inspector has erred in law in his decision-making. We feel we must challenge this ruling and defend our communities from over-development.”
The long-time opponent of developers who, once given planning consents sit on their consents and keep them warm to trickle homes onto the market many years later. This has affected Waverley’s 5-year land supply as major sites with permissions for thousands of homes lay fallow.
“It is a clear failure of the current planning system, that once we have granted planning permission, the council has no ability to influence the delivery of homes – and that local communities are entirely dependent on developers’ goodwill to build-out homes.”
She said there was a wide condemnation of Government policies that effectively allow developers to bypass Local Plans water down their obligations to build genuinely affordable homes and social housing, putting a huge strain on local infrastructure.
The only people to benefit from this system are property developers.”
Note: Alfold is 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. It has a single pub, a restaurant open Thurs-Sun, Post Office/Shop (1/2days only for Post office)
8 thoughts on “Is Waverley fighting on all fronts to save Alfold.”
The only problem with this appeal is it only kicks the can down the road. The actual problem doesnt go away. The Government legislation is in place. The Inspector applies the legislation. It is no good stating the obvious if the obvious has not been challenged in Parliament and it hasn’t; this target is a Government matter. The Inspector merely applies it. This is becoming a gross misuse of WBC money. If WBC by some miracle wins the appeal. The developers will come back again and again and if not Alfold they have plenty more to offer up. Today I have been busy with the Great British Rail Strategy. Looking at where the Rail industry will be in 30 years. Its appropriate to mention this. Rail is going to have to be expanded/restored to many places and whether anyone likes it or not Alfold Cranleigh Milford Elstead and many more will end up as suburbs within thirty tears. Suburbs with suburban needs for seven day a week bus services trams and light rail. Ridiculous. No. Give it thirty years and Waverley will be like Kingston upon Thames is now. Fighting to stop every bit of green vanishing is worthy. But if you have a Government that refuses to listen you have to adapt to the situation and perhaps if more people got involved with local politics and didn’t just leave it to the few then we might have saved a little more. I believe these appeals are a waste of Council money, I base that on the situation around Cambridge and a multitude of other towns and cities. Waverleys figures do not add up and the Inspectorate will start playing hard ball very soon. When that happens I anticipate some of our residents will have the For Sale signs up as the hordes that they long tried to keep at arms length desecend. Clifford Jones @MeaninglessMud
Whilst we agree with many of your sentiments – at least Waverley has the guts to stand up for the people of Alfold. As for the Government – dare we suggest we need to change it? The residents of Waverley changed the administration – perhaps they need to take on the Government next?
It was inevitable that Waverley would seek a review. It is clear the Cllr Follows wants to give the impression that he has done all he can and it is the evil government to blame. Red Court will be next. It’s good politics but they’ve consistently called the planning situation wrong and have lost at every turn. There is no sign that this will change in the near future.
Really no resident of this borough should want to see the developments in Alfold but unless there is a strong legal argument against them then the judicial review is a pointless exercise. Cllr Follows has stated that in his view the Council has no control over planning matters and therefore even he must think it is futile.
The reality – which we may not like – is that the Inspector did not err in law in Alfold. He applied Government policy. We may not like it but a judge won’t conclude anything different. The same is true at Red Court where the Inspector simply restated the view of Zac Ellwood in his officers report. Again, we may not like it but the Inspector and the Planning Officer are just following the law. A judicial review can’t seek to change law.
The Council need to focus on getting LPP2 made as this will provide some protection and they need to try and bring forward suitable sites. The 150 homes in Alfold and at Red Court do at least help with the 5 year housing land supply if plans move forward with the developments. Seeking to kick the can down the road a bit further by pursuing fantasy legal cases does nothing to help anyone except Cllr Follows.
A lot has been said by Councillors and campaigners in recent days regarding Red Court but the notion that 50 more houses on an already well populated Scotland Lane forever changes Haslemere is simply ridiculous hyperbole. The developments in Alfold have materially changed the village forever however.
Elephant in the room: the root cause of this mess is uncontrolled population growth met by a flawed application of National housing quotas.
The whole planning inspectorate system is completely stacked against local planning authorities. OK I accept the inspectors have to follow the letter of the law (and that’s why the developers employ the best legal brains to fight their case) but inspectors should be allowed to make judgements that include the impact of each and every application on the whole locality, rather that just focussing on each individual case. But common sense doesn’t win appeals.
So after permission to apply for a judicial review was so firmly refused by Mr Justice Lane – I believe we are owed a thorough explanation as to why the Council thought it would be a good use of at least £12,000 + the Council’s legal fees, of Council Tax money to defend the indefensible?
As Mr Lane repeats the Insepctor was unarguably right on nearly all points of challenge!
Another fine victory for Follows.
Bramley is 7 miles down the A281 Guildford to Horsham Road. However, part of the Dunsfold site, a very tiny part, is in the parish of Bramley. So are all the gipsy sites in the parish of Bramley – but you don’t see too much crowing about them, do you? Neither do we! Wonder why? Looks to us, that there is a great deal of animosity aimed at Dunsfold Park.