But only for the time being
Although Ashley Ward had managed to dupe ‘Your Waverley’s planning dummies into supporting his latest scheme – wiser minds among members of the eastern planning committee were not so easily persuaded.
Despite being faced with an officer’s recommendation to approve a cunning plan to set up a cattle finishing unit on a lane southof Dunsfold Road and east of High Loxley Road on 30 hectares of land which locals describe as
“a field and not a farm.” A field with a view, no less!
However, councillors were told on the night they couldn’t make a decision now . Despite it having the support of the council’s gullible and all too compliant planning department.
Planning officers advised them that the applicant had already appealed the scheme – and it would nowbe up to a Government Inspector to decide.
Now there’s a surprise?
Devious Mr Ward, predicting a refusal, believes by appealing to a Government Inspector for non-determination of the scheme within the legal time frame, he might still be in with a chance. The scheme has been languishing among the cobwebs in the planning department for months, like so many others.
If he gets the go-ahead to build the cattle finishing unit – he is halfway to getting the agricultural workers’ mansion that is on his wish list. And, If anyone knows how to do it ~Mr Ward does, having ploughed through ancient woodland to provide an access to build his former home in Alfold for another farming enterprise, and flogging it off to an A-list celebrity.
Planning Officers told the committee they could still make a recommendation to either approve or refuse the scheme but it had now been appealed. What they didn’t say was, that Mr Ward was hedging his bets.
They explained that Mr Ward had wanted to buy High Loxley Farmhouse – giving him control of the complete farm holding. However, he had been unsuccessful in persuading the family of the late owner to sell it to him, so was left with 30 hectares and land elsewhere, if available to rent.
Planning officers admitted they had provided members with inaccurate plans and drawings. They were also unable to answer many of the queries posed at a previous deferral of the application several months ago.
This included how long the 100 head of cattle were to be kept in the finishing unit, before going to the abattoir, and the sustainability of the proposed holding in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, an Area of Great Landscape Value nestling into a backcloth of Hascombe Hills.
Numerous councillors reminded officers of the restrictive planning policies covering the area – and the long list of objections from residents and parish councils in Alfold and Dunsfold. Many believed the scheme was a cynical attempt to gain permission for housing development.
Alfold Cllr Kevin Deanus said:
We are being asked to allow a big building – a very big building – bigger than a Boeing 747 off the Dunsfold Road off a terrible access.”
He pointed to a string of restrictive planning policies against such a proposal and a previous decision to refuse a mobile home on the land.
Mr Ward’s bare-faced attempt to build another agricultural holding and a home in the countryside was refused by councillors by 10 votes to four, but the officers will now have to defend the decision at a forthcoming appeal.
Who dares wins?