Is the game for the redevelopment of Dunsfold Garden Village back on?

Trinity College Cambridge, owners of the former WW2 airfield – AKA the home of Top Gear – has, today, informed ‘Your Waverley’ that it has finally dumped the American Investment Company that offered squillions for the controversial site over a year ago.

It’s rumoured CTI has been salami slicing millions from its original offer price over the course of the past year, to the intense frustration of rival bidders – including Waverley Borough Council – who were knocked out in the early rounds by CTI’s bombastic – and, it would now appear, totally unrealistic offer – which was, no doubt, designed to see off the competition leaving CTI free to make off with the prize whilst, at the same time, chipping away at the price!

The deal made in 2021 was so big it attracted the attention of Fleet Street, when the American-owned asset management firm, a subsidiary of Ameriprise Financial, snapped up the former aerodrome! The deal was believed to be worth £250 million to Trinity which had been granted planning consent to build 2,600 homes on the largest brownfield site in the borough.

Richard Turncoat – or Turdhill, depending on your point of view – Trinity College’s now not so new Bursar set aside the College’s reputation for prudence and long-term investment in bricks and mortar – which has made it one of the wealthiest colleges in the land – in favour of the get-rich-quick schemes he’s more comfortable with, coming from a city background. 

Turncoat was formerly the Global Chief Investment Strategist of BlackRock.  On his Linkedin page, Mr Turncoat has boasted of being an…

‘experienced senior executive with a demonstrated history of working in the financial services industry across fund management, strategy and economics roles …’

Clearly a modest man, old Turdcoat! Wonder how the Turnill is feeling now, following a year of negotiations and due diligence, which has no doubt cost Trinity a shedload of cash; put Waverley Borough Council in the dock over its lack of a five-year housing supply and caused nothing but anguish to local residents who, as a result, have had shed loads more housing dumped on the green fields in and around their villages!

The only winners have been all the other wannabe developers who have reaped the whirlwind of Turncoat’s stupidity and short-sightedness. His history of dabbing in the property market showed a distinct lack of strategy and a woeful grasp of economics! If only he’d stuck with the plan and started to build at Dunsfoldas soon as he took the helm at Trinity College, his houses would have sold like hotcakes during the recent record property market boom.

Columbia Threadneedle stitches up Dunsfold Park.

Want to see a bit more of Turdhill?





  1. Well what a surprise – Do you think that Threadneedle knows something that we in the Villages in the East have known for a long time?…. When you SWAMP an area with a huge amount of Housing – (I believe with just Cranleigh & Alfold we have over 2200 New Homes EXCLUDING DP) with such limited Infrastructure – eventually people stop buying…

    Why not move to Haslemere/Hindhead/Godalming or even Farnham (although they have taken their fair share?) There is only so much a place can take and the amount we have taken in the East far exceeds what the Infrastructure can cope with. We all know of the issues with the Doctors, Schools, roads, Trains (hahahah) etc… If I had Sprogs – I wouldn’t want to live here!

    I Know DP was going to EVENTUALLY provide some mitigation and the other developers have all jumped on that – At least they can no longer rely on that “Promise” to mitigate their own developments. About time some of them stopped putting in Planning Applications in a piece-meal way and actually started offering something for the Villages.

    I am so sorry to keep banging on about “Eggs and Baskets2 – But it is What Waverley did …they thought it was all going to be rosy if they put the vast majority of Housing at Dunsfold Park & Cranleigh (I believe in LPP1 it was something like 42% of the TOTAL WAVERLEY ALLOCATION – Without any sort of Contingency in case it all went T!ts up! – Time to think again I fear … Or will they just still hang onto the Fantasy that someone else will be interested in this Lame Duck.

    SCC must be having a hissy with so much S106 money going down the Pan…

    And so Thakeham and others will continue putting forward their Consultations and Applications at SpringBok and any other patch of ground and no doubt there will be another Wall-of-Silence as the rest of the Borough – Hope that they get the 397 – Which will spare THEM having to take more!

    When I look back back over the last 8 years worth of emails – It was blindingly obvious that the whole Consultation about DP was flawed – Just maybe if they had got the Much Earlier Application for a REAL ECO-Village it may have worked…
    Now we just have this Mess – About time WBC pulled their damn Finger out

  2. Denise, my reading of this is that Trinity have got tired of waiting and being messed around and ditched Columbia Threadneedle and not the other way around. So I doubt that it reflects a loss of confidence in the housing market. Certainly the rumour which has been bouncing around for a while is that Columbia put a full price in to secure the purchaser slot and then started to argue the price down. I can see that in that situation, Trinity, who after all don’t actually need to sell this site, withdrew the contract.

    I’m expecting that for now and in the short term Trinity will probably want to progress the development and somebody is probably working hard to get the detail/reserved matters application ready to submit. Then what happens further down the line is anybody’s guess.

    The ranks of highly paid silks at the LPP2 inquiry were arguing that the sale was delaying matters and their clients and sites could save Waverley’s LPP2 by stepping in and filling the gap. There is still a gap in delivery of housing, I’m not sure what the gap is if you factor DP back in, but I am sure there are a lot of people now sitting down to work that out as well. They will probably all come up with rather different answers depending on who they are working for! The other important aspect of this news is that is should remove some of the uncertainty over WHEN Dunsfold Park will start to deliver….at least that is my reading of it.

    I expect that WBC planning policy officers will be sending a note off to Inspector Fort pdq to send him the good news …by my reckoning that should go up on the WBC website as a Waverley examination document so we may even get to see what they say to him….

    The September inquiry spill over sessions could be quite interesting as this all surely has to come up and get debated. So make a date in your diary….

    1. This seems a rather optimistic reading. What is to stop Trinity putting it back up for sale? There was no shortage of buyers and they clearly do want to cash in on it rather than develop it or they would not have sold in the first place. The future of the site is at present even more uncertain and without certainty I suspect in the eyes of the Inspector it will be viewed as a set back to the delivery of the site.

    2. Well that is the end of that sorry saga which has led to numerous developments being approved and WBC trying to defend the indefensible – hopefully all our tax payers money has not been wasted on these appeals and perhaps WBC might now be able to buy the site and bring it forward thus preserving the Local Plan and allowing to stop speculative applications?

  3. So, a £250m price tag on 2600 (at best) houses, ie £98k apiece alongside other infrastructure conditions was a viable concept was it?

    It remains to be seen if WBC intend to “up” their previous £100m offer, & upon which grounds – since they had taken (paid £80k) for professional advice. As a nearby resident, i am very concerned at this prospect of a such a large council investment, & as mentioned, the lack of existing infrastructure capacity: namely roads, & schools.

    But, even so, a revised bid by WBC surely must require a good deal of doublethink over their evidence onna negative outcome on the lower Loxley /UKOG site Judicial Review.
    The idea of starting construction of both housing AND a new drilling site within 800m on a narrow rural road sounds implausible given it was a reason for SCC’s refusal on appeal.

    And finally, the ongoing WBC PlanEnquiry found a shortfall of 1500 houses of housing supply which includes 1800 for Dunsfold: the WBC pace of delivery was questioned against actual planning progress of sites.

  4. It is well to remember who was responsible for the delay in the first place, our local MPs and the totally miss labelled Protect our Waverley mob who are guilty of costing Waverley residents a vast amount of money and harm.

    1. George
      You may be correct in some ways – But really..??? POW may have been on the verge of being Nimbys – But I have seen far worse in recent years with regard to other applications and I am sure you know the ones I mean. I think the scale & size of the DP development make it all the more vivid in our Memories… Think of all the other ones?? Just smaller, that have most likely (in combination cost More)

      But in reality we have to get over it… DP will most likely happen with little benefit to the East of the Borough if a whole batch of Developers get their way and we will have to live with the consequences and they will affect your Patch too..

      I would love to hope that we could get back to an Eco-Village that was the original Application that was refused. Now we have a Government that doesn’t care about Net0 or anything like sustainability in remote villages.

      You and the Leader of WBC in Godalming have done little to NOTHING to speak out about the ridiculous amount of Housing in the smaller Villages in the East… Where have you been? Looking after Godalming and your own Patch.

      I am so fed up with the Lot of you. This Rainbow Coalition has done NOTHING to help us… So I have to ask why I would even consider voting for any of you in the Next Election
      Best as Ever

      1. You speak of an Eco-Village that the Tories refused at a time when one late-departed Cranleigh member said at the time – would be built over his dead body. With the effects of climate change upon us, if it weren’t so serious it would be laughable that the Tory administration was against such an energy-saving scheme. Now, we are where we are – up the creek without the water to paddle on.

  5. I think you will find that Waverley Planning Committee’s have tried to protect the eastern side of Waverley as much as government planning laws have allowed us, we have been frustrated by inspectors overturning our decisions and by our inability to raise the lack of infrastructure in our areas.

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