More-Molyneux family hitch a ride on the developer train heading for Binscombe.



New homes on their way to Binscombe?

As all the wannabe developers gather in their droves to pour over every vacant green field in the borough, the Loseley Manor-based More-Molyneux family is the latest to jump on the bandwagon…again.


A new planning application to build 27 dwellings, including houses, flats and maisonettes, by Opus Works has recently been received by Waverley Borough Council. (WA/2023/01714) Residents are urging everyone to object NOW! The window for objections is tight – 2nd September.

Landowners, the More-Molyneux family of the Loseley Estate, are trying again on the same site, having failed on a previous occasion to get lift-off by a Government Inspector at an appeal in 2019.  

In 2018, an application for 21 houses was refused. Despite an appeal, which the appointed Government Inspector dismissed in the strongest terms, the residents of Binscombe and Farncombe are once again fighting inappropriate development.

The field is on the edge of Binscombe, a medieval hamlet first recorded in 1227. The heart of the village comprises a mere 25 dwellings, nine of which are listed and many of which are 16th century in date.  

If allowed, residents say this development would double the size of the village at a stroke. A bit like Alfold, then?

This is depressing and deeply worrying when landowners and their agents keep trying to build on completely inappropriate parcels of land for financial gain.

Try, try and if not successful – try again.

In a press release to the Waverley Web, objectors outline their concerns.

The field was removed from the Green Belt to make the land available for housing. The Council refused the 2019 application, but an appeal swiftly followed. The Government Inspector nominated to examine the appeal came down firmly on the side of those who objected and were passionate about preserving the adjoining Heritage Assets, including the Binscombe Conservation area. These assets are protected in law, a fact the applicants seem to have forgotten or at least feel of no great importance. The Inspector also clearly stated in his dismissal that the rural character of the setting of Binscombe was without doubt worth preserving. 

According to Local Plan Part 2 (LPP2), the second stage of Waverley’s new Local Plan, Godalming has exceeded new homes targets, while other parts of the borough have not.  

CPRE Surrey ( Campaign for Preservation of Rural England)  has objected that any development on the field would not be reconcilable with the Green Belt principles in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and would be a…

“material encroachment into the Countryside and sprawl from Farncombe”.

As 219 dwellings have exceeded Local Plan Part 1, it has been decided that housing allocations for Godalming are no longer required in LPP2.

Selling off small parcels of land, such as the field in question for development, enables landowners and developers to avoid the cumulative impacts of developments within areas, often on the Green Belt. In recent years, other land near Binscombe, owned by the More-Molyneux family, has been subject to pre-development applications. There is concern that the latest planning application  (WA/2023/01714) will set a precedent for more if it goes through.  

This latest application is deeply concerning and shows a high level of arrogance bearing in mind the Inspector’s condemnatory conclusion in 2019.


Additional problems with the site include the access road being a dangerous, narrow lane, only 4.3 metres wide. The only way to widen and make it safer is to destroy ancient hedgerows. The scheme suggests 57 car parking spaces, without doubt, disproportionate to the number of dwellings.


The More-Molyneux family and the developer have dismissed suggestions to make the development accessible from the adjacent Copse Side because it is not as aesthetically attractive as the proposed entrance from the narrow and dangerous lane in Binscombe.


The revised NPPF strengthens the protection of Heritage assets, and even the Council acknowledge an obligation to preserve and enhance Conservation areas that may be affected by a planning proposal. The application admits there would be harm to the local rural environment and the adjacent Conservation area. 


Not all residents near the site received notification from Waverley Borough Council. In contrast, others received letters with less than three weeks to submit comments/objections by the deadline, and the public notice was placed 200 metres from the entrance.


A resident in Farncombe who lives on the other side of the potential development has initiated a petition that has attracted 100 signatories objecting to the planning application within 48 hours, confirming the huge amount of local opposition.

Residents ask?

Waverley now has a Brownfield site register showing the potential for hundreds of new homes. When our elected politicians tell us that new homes should be built on these sites rather than greenfield ones, why should this field even be in the planning mix?  


The Inspector clearly stated in 2019 that

‘the proposal would have a harmful effect on the Binscombe Conservation Area’ …‘the proposal would cause significant harm to the heritage assets’, and ‘it would be harmful to an important part of the rural significance of the Conservation Area’. 

Objectors say:

This is about 30 metres from the site, and we feel passionate about protecting our green countryside and our heritage.

The site would be accessed by a narrow country lane, lacking footpaths, and highway safety would be compromised. Pedestrians, in particular, would be severely at risk. A high level of extra traffic through both Binscombe and Farncombe would be sadly inevitable.


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