Has the delay of the Dunsfold Garden Village stuffed the rest of the borough of Waverley?


Richard Turncoat, Bursar of Trinity College Cambridge
There was a time – many moons ago now – when the residents of Cranfold – Alfold, Cranleigh and Dunsfold – would have been delighted at the prospect of nothing, nada, niente, zilch, zippo happening at Dunsfold Aerodrome …


The late Tory Waverley & Cranleigh Parish Cllr Brian Ellis once said:

“Dunsfold will develop over my dead body.”

Not anymore.  That ship has sailed and been sunk by Waverley Borough Council’s planning department’s groaning in-trays.  Those residents who once fought tooth, nail, and spittle-flecked at the merest whisper of housing development on the former aerodrome are now desperate for development to happen there.

As the concrete mixers rolled into Alfold and built 88 houses there, with another 518+ consented and more in the pipeline. Cranleigh, where they’ve built less than 1,ooo homes with consents for another 700 + consented and more in the pipeline and into Dunsfold village, where they’ve built  150+,  residents recognised the sense in building on the borough’s largest brownfield site. They are now desperate to save what remains of their green and pleasant fields from greedy, ground-hungry developers.

NB – other sites in the eastern villages, including locations in Cranleigh, Alfold & Ewhurst, are currently just a glimmer in developers’ eyes. The WW will reveal some of those soon!

But their joy at the prospect has been short-lived since the arrival of Richard Turncoat, the bursar who took over at Trinity College Cambridge just as development at Dunsfold was due to commence.  For Mr Turncoat had other ideas.  He wasn’t interested in building 1800 homes at Dunsfold Aerodrome, with another 1700 in the pipeline. Oh, no, he was much more interested in selling the College’s interest in the site to the highest bidder and brushing the dust of Dunsfold off his mortar board and gown without a second thought for the chaos he was leaving in his wake.

Nearly three years after Richard Turncoat’s appointment, the College still owns the site, but little has happened there on Turncoat’s watch.  Meanwhile, thousands of houses have been built in Cranfold!

Rousing choruses of ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow’ went up as earth-movers were finally spotted gouging out the new road into the 378-acre site shortly before Christmas – progress can be viewed from the 54 pot-holed  A281 Horsham/Guildford Road.  But mind the golfers teeing off!  There were more holes on the A281 than at Wentworth when the Waverley Web organised a staff outing to take a look!

Rumours in Cranleigh are rife, particularly with another 162  homes proposed within spitting distance of the airfield, at Knowle Lane in Cranleigh. Another hole-ridden road we spotted on our travels!  Local landowners, one of whom is the former chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and owner of One 40, have long supported more housing development in Cranleigh to give shopkeepers more footfall.

Here’s that application with shedloads of objections. Yet another cunning plan to be determined by a government Inspector no doubt?


But Dunsfold  Park remains fallow, with not a footing in the ground and no clue of when – or if – any house is ever likely to be built.

EVERYONE wants – and is, in our humble opinion, entitled – to know what the Bursar plans to do with the housing jewel in Waverley’s crown.  Trinity College Cambridge might own the site, but its future belongs to the residents of Cranfold.  The longer the Bursar delays house building there, the more vulnerable the surrounding communities are to greedy developers gobbling up their precious green fields.

So, come on, Mr Turncoat, tell us your plans for the site, and when you will start building the houses your predecessor promised us.  Dunsfold may be just about the money to you, but sitting back and twiddling your fingers is like Nero fiddling whilst Rome burned!

Are you hiding out under your desk, desperately trying to wipe the egg off your face over a big-bucks deal you couldn’t pull off, or are you simply sitting on your plan, like a broody hen, trying to keep it warm, in the economic downturn, until another buyer can be found?

Whilst you dither, everyone with a piece of green space in and around Cranleigh is lobbing in their cunning housing plans, desperate to make hay whilst you try to make a Curate’s Egg out of your failed plans.  

Meanwhile, residents in Farnham, Godalming and Haslemere, not to mention Alfold, Cranleigh, Ewhurst and Dunsfold, are paying a hefty price for your incompetence and avarice!

To misquote Henry II: ‘Will no one rid us of this turbulent, incompetent Bursur?!’


3 thoughts on “Has the delay of the Dunsfold Garden Village stuffed the rest of the borough of Waverley?”

  1. Maybe the Bursar assesses that Dunsfold Park has too much contamination and inadequate road, schools and other infrastructure for there to be a viable development.

  2. It is an absurdity that private landowners can profit from an increase in land value brought about by their power to deny homes to others. This is unsustainable non development. The build out phase must be regulated by a “licence to develop.” If not delivered the land should be repurchased by the government at purchase cost a penalty that incentivises buildout. Why so many have tolerated a planning system that is unfit for purpose for so long beggars’ belief? Homes are not for profiteering they are for people to live in.

    1. Here at the Waverley Web, we one hundred per cent agree with every word you say. When will we have a Government that will take proper control of our planning system – which is unfit for purpose? Possibly when developers stop lining its pockets.

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