A petition launched by a town councillor to stop an orchard in Badshot Lea from being bulldozed for housing has been signed by more than 1,000 people.
Residents of Farnham are taking matters into their own hands to prevent the bulldozers from moving into another treasured local asset to provide yet more new homes.
Farnham Cllr Chris Jackman (Badshot Lea and Moor Park) launched his petition, which you can sign by clicking on the link here: ‘Help us to save the Badshot Lea Ancient Orchard from being torn down!’ on October 8 online at change.org
Said Cllr Jackman Elivia Homes wants to take out an ancient orchard and build 10 homes in its place despite a previous commitment to retain and enhance it. We need your help to SAVE OUR ORCHARD.
I’ve lived in Badshot Lea for several years and have witnessed the changes to the green fields, hedgerows and overall landscape in North Farnham. I’ve heard it from neighbours who have lived in the area all their lives. The last decade has seen an immense transformation that has greatly affected our local biodiversity. One of the few remaining bastions of nature is the ancient orchard at Barley Meadows, also known as Waverley’s Folly.
As part of their original planning application, Vanderbilt Homes (now Elivia Homes) committed to retaining and enhancing this precious precious orchard. However, now that they are nearing completion on 22 homes at Barley Meadows, they want to rip out this historic orchard to build an additional 10 homes. This should not be allowed to happen, said Cllr Jackman.
Earlier this year, Elivia Homes submitted a planning application to flatten the orchard and replace it with ten homes as part of a ‘phase two’ – claiming it is in decline.
Well, they would, wouldn’t they?
Cllr Jackman says this is “completely at odds” with the original application, which did not mention a ‘phase two’.
“It is clear the orchard needs work to bring it to its best and to safeguard it for the future, and that is exactly what Elivia Homes should now be doing, rather than flattening it.”
This is not just about preserving a piece of history; it’s about safeguarding a crucial habitat that supports bees, birds, bats and everything in between. It’s also about maintaining outdoor green spaces for people to enjoy – something increasingly important amidst the rapid urbanisation seen in Badshot Lea, Weybourne and North Farnham as a whole.
We must hold Elivia Homes accountable for Vanderbilt Homes’ original commitment. We cannot allow them to destroy what remains of our village’s natural heritage for short-term profit.
Fundamentally, the proposed development is not in line with the policies included in the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan approved in 2020 and covering the period up to 2032, which addresses the allocated identified housing required in line with Waverley’s Local Plan Part 1. The orchard was specifically mentioned as protected in that first application.
Farnham Town Council has also objected, saying the development would “erode the countryside and character of the area by extending built form into the patchwork of small green fields”, in conflict with the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan.