Here at the Waverley Web, we sometimes wonder why there are LOCAL Planning Committees and officers or why anyone bothers to consult the public on the proposed development.
Think of the time, effort and money that could be saved by not judging planning applications or defending planning appeals. Why not throw local democracy out with the recycling because that is what the Secretary of State for Levelling Down is doing in Waverley?
Inspector Tim Wood BA(Hons) BTP MRTPI has put a boot into Waverley’s claimed housing land supply of 4.9 years by slicing off a lump to bring it down to 3.9 years! Now – there’s an incentive for those avaricious developers.
The latest planning Appeal ALLOWED is for 65 homes at Bells Piece, Hale Road, Farnham – a site not included in Farnham’s Neighbourhood Plan. We can see the milk curdling in Cllr Carole Cockburn’s morning coffee here in Haslemere!
Strongly Opposed saying:
This is not an approved development site in the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan 2020, is outside the Built-up Area Boundary and not compliant with FNP1 New Development and Conservation and FNP14 Housing Site Allocations.
The Inspector has allowed for new access off Hale Road and the development of up to 65 mixed dwellings to include 40% affordable housing, the creation of public open space (including a small public car park), associated landscaping and infrastructure at Hawthorns, Hale Road, Farnham, Surrey GU9 9RL.
The appeal site is about 2.82 hectares and is located on Farnham’s north-eastern edge. Hawthornes is a large detached house, garden, adjoining paddocks, and field/meadow. Hawthorns is accessed from Hale Road along a private track shared with Bells Piece, a day centre located south of the site.
The private track is close to the Six Bells Public House to the south, and a small field to the north, previously used by the residents and operators of Bells Piece for horticulture and occasional events.
South of the appeal site is Scholars Way, a public footpath linking Hale Road with Farnham Park, Farnham Castle and the Town Centre.
Scholars Way marks the northern extent of the settlement boundary of Farnham. Hale Road links the Six Bells roundabout with the A325, an important route into Farnham. On the eastern side of Hale Road, and opposite the appeal site, are allotments, a petrol filling station and the entrance to Roman Way, a predominately residential cul-de-sac.
The Inspector admitted the development would harm and have an urbanising impact on the appeal site’s landscape character, particularly on landscape features of value, principally the meadows. However, the effect on the meadows could be minimised, and the overall visual impact would be contained and localised and would not be significant.
As a result, I consider that the harmful impact on the landscape would not be significant.
Waverley maintains that the perceived benefit of the housing would be negated by Farnham’s ability to meet its quota; in fact, there were established and tested reasons why going above the provision of 2,780 dwellings would be to the disbenefit of the town.
It argued that the site is outside the built-up area boundary, is inappropriate in a landscape of high sensitivity and value and will damage rather than enhance the character of the Borough of Farnham, in which green spaces are integral. • Its design and layout are not suitable for the location.
• It fails to support sustainability goals in its housing provision and amenities, impacts traffic, walkers and cyclists, and adds pressure on infrastructure.
Farnham’s Special Protection Area and Thames Basin Heath.
Mr Wood said he had taken account of the potential impact.
I consider that, when following a precautionary approach, the proposal, alone and when combined with residential development, would likely have a significant effect on the SPA. Hence, an appropriate assessment is required to consider the proposal’s implications for the integrity of SPA. The impacts from recreational disturbance on the SPA which would occur if the appeal scheme were permitted, if left unmitigated, would fail to maintain the integrity of the SPA. Therefore, the proposal would fail to adhere to the Appeal Decision APP/R3650/W/22/3302987 https://www.gov.uk/planning-inspectorate 7 conservation objectives for the SPA. The Habitats Regulations require that the competent authority may only give permission for the proposal after having ascertained that it will not adversely affect the integrity of the European site. In so doing, they may consider any conditions or other restrictions which could secure mitigation and provide certainty that the SPA would not be unreasonably affected.
Below is Cllr for Firgrove Farnham, Jerry Hyman’s strong argument to resist further damage to these important sites.