If you live in Waverley and care about Haslemere, then now is the time to stand up and be counted on to stop its further destruction.
Come on, Waverley residents – get behind the people of Haslemere. Tell the Government to keep its hands off our precious protected countryside. Tell it to force the owners of the largest brownfield site in the borough with consent to build thousands of homes on Dunsfold Airfield to get on with the job or hand it over to someone who can.
As residents face yet another battle to protect Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty land from development at a time of a climate change crisis and biodiversity collapse, it seems almost dystopian that just over the hills, the vast brownfield site of Dunsfold Aerodrome still sits vacant, as it has for over 20 years.Plans for a new garden town development of over 2500 homes at Dunsfold were blocked repeatedly by our MPs Jeremy Hunt and former MP Anne Milton, leaving Waverley’s towns, villages and countryside exposed to any developer with the funds to buy up countryside and ‘have a go’ at getting planning permission through repeated appeals.
Property developer Redwood SW Ltd has under its belt a successful appeal to build 50 homes on the site. But like so many other developers, e.g. Thakeham Homes, has cashed in and flogged off the site. Elivia Homes rocks up to build Phase 2, 111 or more new homes with a bung to the locals for a new Scouts HQ.
Waverley’s planners rejected this under their delegated powers as a definite NO! But since when has a Government Inspector listened to where our planning experts believe is the right place to build?
The unique setting in the spectacular Surrey Hills attracted many to live there. One resident was so passionate about the countryside he co-founded the National Trust in 1895. Robert Hunter’s mission was to protect the special landscape for future generations.
WW wonders if the sound we can hear is Robert spinning in his grave.
For forty years, the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has shared Hunter’s vision; Haslemere’s AONB is a legally designated exceptional landscape. Its distinctive character and natural beauty are precious enough to be safeguarded in the national interest against large-scale development.
So isn’t it shocking that the AONB land at the Red Court estate between Scotland Lane and Midhurst Road is now under threat of complete destruction by developers who want to build over 111 new homes, claiming this major building project is in the ‘public interest’ (and so should be permitted despite AONB status)?
A bid that would irreversibly damage the character of what should be a protected landscape. As part of the proposal, much of the avenue of mature trees on the Midhurst Road approach to Haslemere, pictured below, will be felled to create a new junction and access to the housing estate, forever changing the character of southern Haslemere.
Most readers could be excused for being unaware of the imminent threat because Waverley’s eastern villages are fighting battles for their backyards.
The developer has appealed against Waverley’s rejection of “outline” planning permission that was submitted alongside actual planning permission for an initial two buildings and a new access road (also rejected). Even though no plans or details for the “outline” plan for 111 dwellings were available or open to proper public scrutiny at the first stage, if the developer is successful in appealing to the Planning Inspector and “outline” planning permission is granted, it signals the destruction of AONB is guaranteed, and the principle of development there granted.
If the residents of Haslemere and beyond don’t want to see the character of the protected landscape and biodiverse of their treasured countryside destroyed. they must make their views known URGENTLY! The window for sending comments to the Planning Inspector closes This Friday, 13th October, at https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk, case reference number 3327643. More information at Haslemere South Residents Association www.haslemeresouth.com
Redwood shows Haslemere residents how to destroy an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in three easy lessons.
Here are some photos- the site/Midhurst Road tree-lined avenue on sunken lane approach into Haslemere, which will be largely felled for new road junction and access/ aerial shot of site- taken before developer successfully appealed WBC rejection and is currently building 50 homes- mass tree removal has already occurred at the site.