Portfolio holders take a swipe at the critics who claim Waverley’s planning service is in “free fall.”


The first to hit back at press reports fuelled by the previous Tory administration was the present Portfolio Holder for Planning Cllr Liz Townsend – featured in the clip below.

The second was the former post holder – Cllr Andy MacLeod – who said  The Protect Our Waverley Group, and the Campaign For the Preservation of Rural England (CPRE) must take some blame. Both organisations cost Waverley ratepayers millions of pounds and substantial delays on the proposals in Waverley’s Local Plan to build a garden village of 2,600 homes at Dunsfold Aerodrome.

Nationally the  CPRE is campaigning for housing development on brownfield sites to protect the countryside. Locally it objected to the development of the largest brownfield site in the borough!

11 thoughts on “Portfolio holders take a swipe at the critics who claim Waverley’s planning service is in “free fall.””

  1. What nonsense – the current administration has been in place for three years and hasn’t even managed to get the Local Plan Part 2 through, let alone have a five year housing land supply or start a review of the entire Local Plan which will be out-of-date in early 2023

    1. And, why doesn’t Waverley have a five-year housing land supply? In the main, due to the lack of development at Dunsfold Aerodrome – the largest brownfield site in the borough? And, how many sites that have been consented are still awaiting development? We can reel off dozens that have yet to see a spade put into the ground! Ask developers why? And ask the Government what sanctions it is imposing on developers to build out sites and do what they promised when they sought and subsequently gained planning consent, some of which was gained at appeal?

      1. Dunsfold should never have been in the plan yet alone delivering in the early part of it. Every council that puts its eggs in one basket has failed the five year housing land supply test as these sites always take way longer than expected. As to developers taking time to commence development, this is an urban myth that has been debunked time and time again. Developers want to build homes as that is when they get their return so that they can invest in new land and continue building the homes we need.

      2. Sorry but this is rubbish. The WW has evidence to support the claims. Developments in Alfold – Cranleigh – and in Farnham where consents were granted in 2018 for many hundreds of homes – where so far all that have appeared are hoardings. Not a single new home in sight! If you swamp the market with homes – either they do not sell – as occurred in Alfold, where a developer (Cala Homes) off-loaded the second phase of development to another developer because it had such difficulty selling phase 1 or they hold off until there is a better chance of selling. Others are just land banking. Visit the eastern villages and you will see exactly what is happening there. Please explain why the largest brownfield site in the borough shouldn’t be in the Local Plan? Guildford and Horsham and Woking borough Councils all envy Waverley.

      3. It is not rubbish and you simply have no real evidence that developers are land banking – the clear evidence across the country and here is that the developers want to build the houses that we all need. If they are not building them, then clearly there are issues that are stopping them – including viability – no one, including councils is going to build anything if they are going to make a loss on it.

    1. Yes, the spurious court case you refer to was all about Brightwellls – and wasn’t he acting, along with others to stop a very unpopular development. A development that has taken an inordinate amount of time and money, and may yet prove to be a Great Big White Elephant? And, wasn’t the money spent on spurious court cases that you mention funded by members of the public?

  2. I have sympathy for Liz Townsends position but she should be looking further back to place the blame. Their housing supply debacle was started by Labour decades ago. They promoted unfettered population explosion and the following Tories pushed an unachievable housing target upon the the South East, the most densely populated area in Europe. Councils were knobbled by a non-existent regional planning policy and unfair pressure to build anywhere. Tory Waverley were between a rock and a hard place and when someone offered them a golden goose at Dunsfold Park they stole it and fiddled their Local Plan to make it look like joined up thinking. It wasn’t. No-one given a choice would ever put all their eggs in one Eastern basket; a cheap basket with no handle and holes in the bottom. Dunsfold Park was in the wrong place and not having an alternative did not make it right. CPRE generously tried to reduce the threat of Housing Supply penalties upon Waverley via the Court, but they did not succeed. Now those eggs have fallen out of that basket, which is no real surprise. What do they do now?

  3. Oh dear – It always comes back to Dunsfold Park doesn’t it? But Dunsfold park 2600 Homes WAS in LPP1 and despite it being “The largest Brownfield site” in Waverley – it it also the most REMOTE Partial Brownfield site in Waverley surrounded by Villages with little to no Infrastructure compared to the larger 3 Towns in the Borough and adjacent to the AONB and AGLV (only matters if it is in Haslemere – obviously)

    Cranleigh took a over 15% of the LPP1 Housing allocation, despite it being only 9% of the Population of Waverley
    Farnham took 25% – it being 32% of the population of Waverley
    Godalming took 14% – it being 18% of the Population of Waverley
    Haslemere took 9% – it being 14% of the Population of Waverley

    I know I keep banging on about these figures – but it says so much about why we are in this mess………. I DO Understand about Greenbelt (Blah Blah Blah!) But I will NEVER understand why GREEN FIELD means so little, as you and all know you can have Greenbelt – on a portion of Land off a Motorway to stop 2 large towns joining up – it has no relevance to Nature conservation or the Environment – It is to do with stopping large conurbations Joining up – It would be so good if we could just drop some of the Greenbelt sites…. Does it rally matter? Only asking…………..

    We do need to protect the AONB, AGLV and Ancient Woodlands.

    I am afraid i personally think all of the Parties at Waverley got it wrong. They wanted to have a large “Garden Village” at Dunsfold and I think they would have opted for 3,400 New homes there rather than the 2600 or 1800 that WAS granted – too many Eggs….. I am afraid.

    It has been documented by several Professional bodies that Garden Villages should be situated where the new residents can access Local amenities without the use of a car. DP would eventually have provided a Bus Service and some minor road improvements on the A281 as well as massive S106 contributions to provide other facilities (EVENTUALLY) on-site and off -site – But years down the line after the A281 is hammered by Construction traffic for years. DP also gave many speculative Developers the chance to win applications due to all of the wonderful employment opportunities and infrastructure DP would provide – I wonder how they will feel now that they have agreed to provide Demand Responsive Buses here Until the DP bus scheme kicks in? Could look like it is going to be quite a while – Still it is only likely to be 2 buses so not a big deal eh?

    Must have made SCC eyes water as they would have been the recipients of the majority of the funds.

    But you would have to think – Why would Trinity want to do all of this? – when their previous primary objectives were large R&D sites, Business parks, Science Parks etc…. Not a hybrid site that would require massive capital outlay for development of Housing – where is the return on that? Obviously not – with Waverley moving the development forward at a snails-pace.

    I am sure many at Waverley & Surrey are glad there are no Elections this year here. They are ALL at fault for not seeing the “elephant in the room” and having no contingencies. They have had a long time to sort LPP2 out and they didn’t – they cannot keep blaming the “Previous Administration” – Shame on them ALL

  4. Denise has got it right… the mistake was to believe that Dunsfold Park was worth ignoring all the fundamentals for… trunk roads, railways, buses. It will never fit the Garden Village requirements of having excellent links to transport infrastructure. No where in the borough is more unsuitable for a new town. You can hang on to your brownfield excuse for evermore – it has no benefits other than filling the quota and keeping 5000 homes away from Waverley Web’s front garden.

    1. Thank you Blah Blah Blah!! I feel like I have been banging my head against a brick wall for years. I DO NOT have a problem with New homes and YES Alfold does need new development – It is the scale of it that is disproportionate, to what we and the local villages can cope with. – I just feel that it was the easy Option and no one gave it serious thought in case it didn’t go through and now we are in a Sh1t-hole with a lack of Housing for the whole borough – and a lack of a 5YLS – come on … the rest of you pull your fingers out and find sites that you know you have – but don’t want to put forward as it may affect your votes Next year!

      I am sick of hearing how sorry Councillors are for Alfold (although….. some I think are genuine) – They need to have a long talk to themselves and figure out how we get ourselves out of this MESS – NOW

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