Yet another government Inspector steps into the ‘Poor old Alfold’ Saga. Allowing one appeal and dismissing another.
Government Planning Inspector Mr S Edwards ruled that Waverley Planners were wrong to impose restrictive conditions on the new homes on Chapel Field in Alfold, but right to refuse a further phase of seven homes.
Appeal Ref: APP/R3650/W/21/3277100
Chapel Fields, Loxwood Road, Alfold, Cranleigh GU6 8HW
Agent Mr Richard Cooke appealed to the Secretary of State against conditions imposed by Waverley Planners when they granted planning permission in 2019. The eight dwellings and a mixed-use retail building and car parks have now been built in the Conservation Area of Alfold.
Inspector Edwards saw no reason for the conditions on the new properties when non existed on other properties in the Conservation Area.
So he lifted them for the following reasons:
The disputed conditions are not considered reasonable and necessary to protect the character and appearance of the countryside and the Alfold Conservation Area, as derived from its setting.
Accordingly, I find no conflict with Policies TD1 and RE1 of the Waverley Borough Local Plan Part 1: Strategic Policies and Sites (2018), and Saved Policies D1 and D4 of the Waverley Borough Local Plan (2002). These notably require new development to be of a high-quality design that responds to the distinctive local character of the area in which it is located, whilst recognising and safeguarding the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside.
Here’s the full appeal decision.
And here’s refusal for seven further hones on the site.
The same Inspector dismissed another appeal on the same site for seven additional dwellings including five affordable units.
Saying this would intensify development on the site to a substantial degree and change the scale of Chapel Fields.
“Not only in respect of the footprint and overall scale of the new houses but also in terms of the additional areas of hardstanding required for the provision of access, parking and turning. The proposed built forms and associated hardstanding areas relative to the size of the site would consolidate development along the road frontage and significantly reduce the amount of space available for the provision of meaningful landscaping, which formed an essential aspect of the previous scheme to soften the visual impact of Phase 1.
Furthermore, a large part of the terraced properties’ garden areas would be overshadowed by the trees. As a result, the proposed arrangement would likely subject the trees to additional pressure for pruning works or even felling, to bring more sunlight into the amenity areas. The potential loss of trees would exacerbate the harm that the development would cause to the area.
Due to the quantum of development proposed, but also its scale and layout, the appeal scheme would also have an urbanising effect. It would also be an incongruous addition, out of kilter with the semi-rural character and appearance of the surrounding area. It would thus erode the contribution made by the site to the spacious and verdant nature of its wider rural surroundings, and in doing so fail to recognise the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside.
For these reasons, the proposal would also fail to preserve the special interest of the Alfold Conservation Area, as derived from its setting, and cause less than substantial harm to this designated heritage asset, to which I ascribe considerable importance and weight.
Local Planning Authority Reference WA/2018/0977.