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.
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)