You couldn’t make it up. Waverley’s Local Plan Part 2 is now threatened.

The Milford NIMFY – (Not in my front yard) has issued a legal challenge against Waverley’s controversial blueprint for future development in the borough.

A High Court judge has now ruled that a legal challenge to the adoption of LP 2 by Tim & Isobel House can be heard in the High Court.

If the High Court scuppered the Plan – it could open the floodgates to development across the borough, leaving Waverley naked and vulnerable.

The top London lawyer and his wife opposed 180 homes being built in their backyard on part of the Milford Golf Course. A scheme consented by Waverley Planners in 2021 and supported by a Government Inspector.


Mr House – a top London lawyer – warned the council and developer Cala Homes that he would seek to exercise a covenant on the land, which precluded it from such large-scale development. Now he intends to go much further and attempt to prove the crucial planning document is not legally sound. This move could cost Waverley ratepayers tens of thousands of pounds in legal fees.

His grounds for the challenge related to how the Government Planning Inspector who examined the Plan considered its relationship with Local Plan Part One and the conclusions he came to for development at Milford golf course regarding the covenant. So Waverley is in the hot seat, and so is the Secretary of State for levelling up housing and communities—Micheal Gove, who will co-defendant with Your Waverley.

Whilst developers are gouging out the earth in rural villages like Alfold – building swathes of homes – the partner in lawyers Allen & Overy is determined nothing is not going to spoil his surroundings yards from a railway station. He said at the time:

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.”

Waverley’s Portfolio for Planming Cranleigh Cllr Liz Townsend has said publicly she is “extremely disappointed.” You can bet your bottom dollar that she had stronger words than that to say about the Milford NiMFY/MIMBY. A move threatens the work currently being undertaken to update Local Plan Part 1, which is now five years old.

She said all the planning arguments over the Milford scheme were fully scrutinised at the public examination of LP2. Waverley and the Secretary of State have responded robustly to the challenge by Mr and Mrs House and will defend LP2’s adoption at the High Court hearing. 

She stressed the council would continue to give the Plan its total weight while making current planning decisions until the High Court decides otherwise.


Last night Waverley Planners gave developers the go-ahead to build homes on Milford Golf Course.



6 thoughts on “You couldn’t make it up. Waverley’s Local Plan Part 2 is now threatened.”

  1. Strange bedfellows. WBC and Dept of Levelling Down. Only one loser.
    It simply cannot afford these legal fees.
    Gove is already gunning for WBC planning dept. If it transpires the inspectorate were not informed if the covenant then it goodnight Vienna for WBC.
    Mr House is not risking his legal reputation on a domestic case. He intends to win.

    My monies on everyone but WBC.


  2. As a covenant is not something that planning committees or inspectors can take into consideration I watch with interest.

  3. From Justice Lindblom [2019] EWCA Civ 669 Judgment April 16, 2019. The Times highlighted the benefit of legal intervention in planning matters to provide objective fair and predictable judgement in the public interest. Planning Inspectors make mistakes especially where unsustainable cumulative impact and the efficacy of planning condition enforcement is not objectively considered.

    “The interpretation of the development plan policy was, however, ultimately a matter of law for the court, not approaching its task with the rigour it applied to the construction of a statute or contract but seeking to discern from the language used in formulating the plan the sensible meaning of the policies in question, in their full context and thus their true effect.

    The context included the objectives to which the policies were directed, other relevant policies in the plan and the relevant supporting text. The court would always keep in mind that the creation of a development plan policy by a local planning authority was not an end in itself, but a means to the end of coherent and reasonably predictable decision-making, in the public interest.”

    A legal obligation of development and development plans is predictable sustainable development through good design. There is ample evidence that Waverley BC has already suffered over development in terms of atmospheric pollution, medical facilities, congestion and infrastructure overload. The relationship between Local Plan Part 1 and Local Plan Part 2 in terms of LPP1 climate change conditions enforcement is a critical issue.

  4. It was my take that the developer knew about the covenant when they purchased the land.

    Surely Waverley is partly at fault here for thinking that it had the power to dissolve said covenant, when the reality is that they would have to prove that this development could not be done anywhere else in the Borough, which is just not the case. At least that was my reading from the LPP2 meetings.

    1. Of course the developer knew, and told Waverley it was confident that the covenant would be removed. However, doesn’t look quite so good now does it?

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