Councillors agreed unanimously to grant a scheme from developerPtarmigan Land, Bewley Homes & FA Secretts Ltd to build 216 homes, change the use of an existing farm shop building to a rural business hub, provide a new farm shop, public open space, sports pitches and associated infrastructure, landscaping, drainage, parking and new access points following the demolition of existing buildings.
Also agreed: outline application (with all matters reserved except access) for the erection of a new health hub following the demolition of the existing black barn.
John Secrett. Co-owner of the 4th generation family business. He told the committee the business founded by his grandfather moved to Milford in 1937. Changes in horticulture prompted diversification over the years, and the company opened one of the first Farm Shops in the country supported by Waverley Council.
He said: The scheme before you carries the traditions of the past into the future—a more modern Farm Shop with Secretts continuing to grow crops and selling to the best restaurants in the city. It would reflect the company’s vision, retaining the ponds and green spaces. The land had been offered to the Milford & Witley GP Practice. which would have a positive impact on the local community. We have the support of both parish councils. I am asking you to support this scheme.
Officers said the land had been removed from the Green Belt, and the site was included for developing mixed-use housing and relocating businesses in the Neighbourhood Plan.
The scheme would conserve and enhance the heritage assets and provide a landscape buffer to the north of the site. A new farm shop would be provided in the southern part of the site. Existing ponds were retained and utilised to provide the Sustainable Urban Drainage Schemes and would now be open to the public. West of Meadow Close, retained as open space and tree planting.
There would be changes to the junction at Chapel Lane where the new business centre would be sited. Most residential buildings are single-storey, with some two and a half. Pedestrian walkways are provided to the public open spaces. Two junior playing pitches and a toilet block with access from Eashing Lane within the GBC area. Cycle and pedestrian links would join up with Franklin Way, and the Godalming Greenway beyond, and a key route for pedestrian traffic would link to the new healthcare hub and business centre.
Cllr Maxine Gale said a development of this size can cause concerns for local people, but new homes can settle in if done with care and understanding. Some are concerned about the loss of the Green Belt. But the In Witley Neighbourhood Plan had identified it as the preferred site.
Many changes had taken place. And a new access to the B3100 reduces the impact on the roundabout. The new health centre was needed, and all homes have personal outside space, with the affordable homes well mixed into market homes.
However, she said there would be an impact on Milford traffic, and she would like highway improvements made sooner rather than later in the life of the scheme |
She wanted a timetable for the health hub coming forward. ,
We don’t want to see an empty building site.
Concerns about the ponds could become two big holes in the ground if not topped up. Officers assured that they would be part of the SUDS and would have water draining into them from the development.
Cllr Carole Cockburn was concerned about BIO Diversity net gain. How are we ever going to know if it works? How will it be monitored to reveal success or failure?
Waverley’s Chief Planning Officer said it would be met with Conditions, Baseline data points, and ongoing management plans and secured through 106 monitoring plans in perpetuity.
Cllr Carole Cockburn said she was baffled.
We are taking over a green space to build on. I don’t understand how the base data can be monitored accurately. Is it worth it? I hope it works. I am delighted that this has arrived eventually, a change in numbers is not material. I hope we have more aplications where we sit down and listen to each other. This is a considered application, and the developer has talked to the community. This could turn into a lovely place to live. The public green space will be of enormous benefit, and there are benefits to more housing. I am delighted to support it.
Cllr Graham White asked how Waverley would ensure the planting plan had been completed and correctly carried out.
Officers said that we need to monitor these big sites to ensure conditions are being complied with; we have found landscape architects put in trees and don’t water them, and in year 2/3, planting fails. We have to ensure it succeeds in the first year and the following years.
Before all ten members of the planning committee voted for the scheme, Cllr Gale said:
There has been a lot of work ut it to ensure this is a development, unlike a lot of sticky boxes. The problem will be traffic. We may even get the Milford Golf Course development, so we need those highway conditions coming in sooner rather than later.