What makes Waverley Planners believe the development of 200 homes will ever tee off on Milford Golf Course during the next decade?
Waverley Council may believe that during its update of Local Plan Part 1, the scheme doesn’t require reviewing, but Mr & Mrs Tim House, who lives close to the site, have other ideas.
The land is covered by a Covenant which prevents large-scale development, and they intend to see it honoured.
The controversial site was the subject of a battle royal between villagers and the planners when it was given planning consent in February 2019.
When the scheme was approved, Tim House, speaking on behalf of objectors, lambasted the scheme calling it.
“An affront to common sense which flew in the face of public opinion.”
He warned the land was covered by a restrictive Covenant that could prevent it ever being developed.”
He accused officers of coming up with a “cocktail of conditions” that the more realistic members of the committee should object to.
Witley Parish Council’s spokesman Cllr Gillian McCalden said the golf course was not the right place for development, and their Neighbourhood Plan had included far better locations for housing it recognised was badly needed. She predicted severe traffic congestion on Station Road. Although all the statutory consultees who had originally objected -Thames Water, SCC, Highways; Natural England; Environment Agency- had done a volte-face and changed their minds, saying they were “now satisfied.”
However, she said: “we are not satisfied.”
The Ward Cllr Bob Upton read the runes at the time and has since been proved right!
“I don’t blame the planning officers. You are just doing your job, and in the passage of time, you will have moved on to pastures new, as have most of your colleagues, leaving behind many very frustrated villagers.”
Last night Waverley Planners gave developers the go-ahead to build homes on Milford Golf Course.
“Has Milford Golf Course sold developers a Bogey?”
Q Here’s a question Mrs Isobel House posed at a recent eastern planning committee meeting.
“What is the evidence that the Portfolio Holder for Planning and the Interim Planning Policy Holder have to support their views, expressed in the Review of Local Plan Part 1 Report dated December 2022, that:
• Policy SS6 (which relates to Land Opposite Milford Golf Course – designated as a strategic site) does not need to be reviewed;
• The landowner is applying to the Lands Tribunal to remove the restrictive covenant which affects that site; and
• Although the site will not deliver homes in the next five years, it will deliver the designated homes later in the plan period?
What is the legal analysis that Legal Services did which satisfied them that the report containing these statements and opinions could be agreed upon and signed off on 21 December 2022 before it was submitted to the Oversight & Scrutiny – Services Committee on 24 January 2023 and the Executive on 7 February 2023?”
In a nutshell, it is up to the LP2 Inspector to decide whether the site will likely be delayed or lost altogether. As it is already four years since permission was granted, the Waverley Web cannot help wondering when the Land Tribunal will hear and rule on the case.
Here’s the convoluted response from Andrew Longley (Planning Policy Manager):
- – “Land Opposite Milford Golf Course was allocated as a site for housing development by Local Plan Part 1 (Policy SS6). The developability of this site has been discussed more recently during the examination of Local Plan Part 2 (LPP2). This has been in the context of whether additional housing allocations are required in Milford and Witley.
- The Council’s evidence includes a Statement of Common Ground (SoCG) with the site promoter Stretton Milford Limited and legal advice concerning the covenant. All evidence is available on the examination website. Third parties, including Mr House, have made representations on these matters and are presently with the Inspector for his consideration. The examination is ongoing, and until Inspector’s report is received, the Council’s position remains that the allocated site is developable within the plan period to 2032.
- – The review of LPP1 policies reported to the Council on 21st February gives an initial indication of whether policies require updating. Policy SS6 recognises that a covenant exists and that this would need to be overcome before the consented development could be implemented. It sets out the Council’s understanding that the landowner is applying to the Lands Tribunal to remove the covenant. On this basis, the initial indication is that Policy SS6 does not require updating. However, the covering report (para 5.5) identified delays in delivering key allocations (including land opposite Milford Golf), indicating that the plan requires updating.
- – The Council has agreed that an update of LPP1 should be undertaken, and a scope and timetable will now be prepared. The plan’s update will be the opportunity to gather additional evidence to assess housing requirements and sources of supply across the borough. This will include consideration of progress/ lack of progress in delivering allocated sites, and third parties can make representations during the plan-making process. The ‘initial indication’ of whether a policy needs updating does not prejudge the Council’s position when it updates the plan.”