Villages in the east of ‘Your Waverley’ are bitterly complaining about having housing dumped on them, but perhaps we should also spare a few thoughts for Witley and Milford?
The original intent of Witley’s Neighbourhood Plan was to identify the sites for the homes it needed. Then the planners in Waverley Towers swooped in and plucked out Milford Golf Course to include it in Local Plan Part 1.
Despite objections from residents, Witley Parish Council and local councillors – including ‘Your Waverley’s Leader – a haven for wildlife is going under bricks and mortar.
Cala Homes received consent from Waverley’s eastern planning committee with only two abstentions and two refusals. Anyone’s guess how many voted for it as the numpty bean-counters can’t even manage to announce the decision. Or did the Website drop … again!
So the fight to get a decent, acceptable housing density on land opposite Milford Golf Course is over – bar the shouting. No doubt there will be plenty of shouting once the earthmovers and construction traffic heads to the site pictured below. Watch out, wildlife. Otters, dormice, bats, birds and badgers, ‘YW’s’ eco credentials have just bitten the dust because the Statutory Authorities don’t give a damn!
Soon you will see this...
Replaced by this in a bid to meet the Government’s 300,000 housing target and secure Waverley’s housing land supply.
Cllr Martin D’Arcy slammed the SANG. (Suitable Alternative Green Space). Sounding like Mr Meldrew,
He said: “I couldn’t believe it! Has the Environment Agency actually read the paperwork? Don’t they know that SANGS are another word for dog toilets, and here they are suggesting that children play there too!
Due to the high density of the development, the SANG has been “scrunched up” and fenced because nobody wants dogs roaming across the golf course – or did he mean what’s left of it?
After referring to what he called an “astonishing list of endangered species Water Voles, Otters, Great Crested Newts, Badgers, bats and dormice, to name a few, including removal of trees and hedges, he asked how could this be called – a biodiversity net gain?
“I have pages of environmental arguments, but enough of that. I am getting angry – very angry.”
Chief planning officer Zac Ellwood provided a chink of hope, saying it was up to councillors to decide on the merits of the design and landscaping. But that was short-lived. Up popped Waverley Lawyer Barry Devlin, who warned everyone that the Council could be in trouble if they refused up to 200 homes.- Big trouble!
He said: When Outline consent was granted, despite assurances, there could be changes when the detailed scheme was considered – this did not mean reducing the number. The Council could leave itself open to the costs of an appeal and compensation to the developer. Oh, dear! That frightened everyone witless. Except for Vice-Chairman Cllr David Else (Con Elstead) who, after slapping down a member of the public – Mr Tim House – featured in the clip below – he told him rudely if he interrupted, he would turn off his microphone. The man had only spoken once! Doesn’t he have a covenant on the land? Should councillors be permitted to treat a member of the public so rudely?
Here’s what neighbour Mr House had to say:
Said Uncle Elsey –“I never voted for this when the outline scheme was considered,” then took a side-swipe at his colleagues, the majority of whom he said had been “hoodwinked.”
There was much discussion about landscaping boundaries, the type of homes – 10/14 per hectare – to include one-bed flats and houses, detached two three and four-bedroom properties and 13 or 14 bungalows, 30% (57) of which would be “affordable” for shared ownership and rent.
Witley Parish Council Chairman Gillian McCalden argued 190 homes had been “squeezed” onto the site. Far too many. She said insufficient outside space was provided for the “affordable” flats, none of which was in line with the Witley Neighbourhood Plan.
The only – happy soul among the eastern planning committee was Michael Goodridge (Con Wonersh), who believed the development and boundary were quite acceptable. Perhaps somebody will tell us how many homes will be built in Wonersh? Because ‘Martini Man’ Goodridge never opposes anything, anywhere anytime in the eastern villages.
You can bet the last pound of your county council tax that it is doing nothing for our pavements here in Godalming. The very same pavements where shoppers dare to tread.
Apart of course, from using them as a useful canvas for Surrey’s council workers colouring skills!
While pretty pavement decorations have been installed right along Godalming’s high street showing people where to “Q” outside shops and colourful marker dots 2 metres apart – STILL the dreadfully dangerous half upturned paving slab (which can be just seen in the distance next to the white car at the end of Wharf Street) has still NOT been repaired.
It has had an orange dot indicating the authorities are aware for 10 days now … surely someone could have taken time out from painting the letter “Q” everywhere, in order to repair this death trap. But it just seems to have been ignored. Close up photo below.
Mind the Step – or break your neck!?!
So is it any wonder that as Two Godalming Councillors have revealed in the table below, that shops are closing.
Dangerous roads and pavements don’t help. Get To Surrey Cllrs Follows and Rivers and sort the place out – BEFORE OUR HIGH STREET COLLAPSES?
M & Co is the latest victim. The men’s/women’s/kids clothing store with homeware has been part of the high street for years. The only place you could get reasonable price fashion goods, plus bedding, household ornaments/gifts etc. Lots of branches countrywide. It went into administration last August but some branches survived and remained open presumably rescued by a buyer. However, the long closure this time and issues with the landlord seem to be the cause of it being unable to re-open – very sad. As one customer (Christine) told the Waverley Web:
We won’t have any shops left open in Godalming soon. IT IS COMING TO SOMETHING WHEN EVEN THE CHARITY SHOPS CAN’T SURVIVE.”
For years the residents of Godalming have been wondering when someone- anyone would come up with a cunning plan for the former MOLE Country Store one-acre site on Brighton Road. Rumours that Lidl and Aldi want to move in – have come to nothing.
The valuable site – once home to both SCATS and the popular and long-established Alan Paine Knitwear outlet has stood vacant since the country store closed its doors for the last time in 2017.
The Waverley Web understands that a company called Birchgrove is holding a public consultation to build 53 flats with 24-hour care in a three, and part five-storey building, in extensive landscaped grounds. A planning application is expected to be lodged with the borough council within days.
Birchgrove operates a portfolio of extra-care developments offering contemporary self-contained apartments in new purpose-built facilities. There is already a Birchgrove home in nearby Woking.
The company claims to be different from most other extra care developments in the country, as it works on a rental model. It believes that renting a home instead of owning is the most liberating form of tenure for older people seeking extra care. This offers the benefits of independent living whilst removing the complication of homeownership? The proposed one and two-bedroom apartments are only available for weekly rent to people over the age of 65.
Typical rent for a two-bedroom property is in the region of £5,000 per month – but with only council tax to pay. All other utilities and services are included.
Could become this?:
The company claims in its consultation documents that as most residents would be expected to be mainly single people aged 85 and over, there would be little need for many car parking spaces although 11 would be provided. There would be no pressure on local schools or leisure facilities and would free up numerous houses. There would be communal facilities, including a roof garden.
A number of pre-application meetings have been held with Waverley Planners, and some revisions, including a smaller footprint and a re-design of the layout of the buildings, have already been made in an effort to overcome their concerns.
There are concerns in Godalming, and almost every other town and village in the borough, that Infrastructure – including GP surgeries and nursing capacity is not keeping up with demand.
Notice: Public Consultation on the former Moles Country Store Site, Brighton Road until 11December for more information, please visit more information on the link below.
‘No community wants this’: Sussex new town plans anger local Tories
Although the Waverley Web mainly concentrates on all things Waverley/Surrey – the county is not an island and development on Waverley’s borders – e.g. Bordon – affects all our lives here in Farnham.
This scheme in Adversane adjoins the Surrey/Sussex border near Loxwood and Dunsfold and would mainly access the A281 Guildford to Horsham Road.
The scheme named Kingswood for nearly 3,000 new homes assembled by Sir Michael Hintze, who has given £4.6m to the Conservatives is a hop, skip and a jump from Dunsfold’s new garden village (2,600) homes on the former airfield on the outskirts of Cranleigh
Plans for a new town in rural Sussex backed by one of the Conservative party’s biggest donors and close allies of Prince Charles are exposing a split in the Tory party over how to rapidly accelerate housebuilding.
The scheme for 2,850 homes, is being proposed on open fields at Adversane which has been assembled by hedge fund billionaire Sir Michael Hintze who has given £4.6m to the Conservatives. Its design is partly inspired by Poundbury, the ersatz Georgian town in Dorset created by Prince Charles, and Sir Michael Peat, the Prince of Wales’s former private secretary is a director of the development company.
But it is being opposed by local Conservative MP Andrew Griffith, who said:
“it is the wrong type of development in the wrong place” and local Tory councillors who have warned: “No community wants this on their doorstep.”
It looks set to be a test case for the government’s controversial new planning strategy announced last month which is set to relax national planning rules and set significantly higher local housebuilding targets in areas including Horsham.
John Halsall, the Tory leader of Wokingham borough council in Berkshire, which is also facing central government demands to build significantly more homes warned of a high political cost saying
“You won’t have a Tory left in the south or south-east of England.”
Some of the land is owned by Eton College, the alma mater of the prime minister, Boris Johnson. The largest parcel which would be built over is a farm purchased by Hintze for £10m from Mike Stock, the songwriter behind a string of 1980s hits by Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley and Bananarama.
Local opponents say the project – which could ultimately create a town of around 10,000 people – threatens rare wildlife, an increase in car congestion and risks becoming a dormitory for London commuters.
“There is an enormous amount of antipathy to this scheme,” said Julian Trumper, a local resident organising opposition. “Horsham has already taken enough of Sussex’s requirement to build housing and this potential growth is unsustainable. Infrastructure and road and rail links are insufficient. The displacement to wildlife and established ecosystems by building a new town in the open countryside is incalculable.”
The project claims that it will: “focus on building a community for people of all ages and providing a platform for economic opportunity and sustainable growth” and will champion the principle of “beauty” in town planning identified by Sir Roger Scruton in his report to the government on planning and architecture.
But the row over whether it should go ahead exposes a growing schism in Conservative ranks over two proposed reforms to accelerate housebuilding.
The first is a new planning system that will make it easier and quicker for developers to build on greenfield sites, which Conservative councillors have complained undermines local democratic involvement by proposing zones where detailed planning consents would not berequired.
The second is new inflated house building targets which backbench Conservative MPs and council leaders have criticised as too high and ignoring local needs. The new target for Horsham would see the area required to deliver 1,715 new homes a year, more than double the current target of 800.
The high status of Kingswood’s backers – with close links to the top of government and the monarchy – has also sparked fears that local influence could be further undermined, with opponents citing the planning scandal earlier this year in which it emerged that the housing secretary, Robert Jenrick, backed a project by party donor Richard Desmond against the advice of officials.
In other words, it is not what you know but who you know in the wonderful world of developers?
“After what we saw with Jenrick and Desmond, we have the impression that the property developers are doing all this with barely any local democracy at all.
A spokesperson for Horsham district council said:
“Any site that is allocated in the next step of the local plan process will be subject to full public scrutiny at a public examination conducted by an independent planning inspector. Each site will be assessed to determine whether it is suitable, achievable and available, in a public arena.”
The local Conservative MP, Andrew Griffith, said: “We are building on greenfield, we’re not using brownfield land. This is the wrong type of development in the wrong place. The identity of the landowner is not important. I am giving voice to constituent concerns.”He told a Commons debate earlier this month: “So many of my constituents in villages of every letter of the alphabet, are having their lives blighted by the prospect of inappropriate and unsustainable development”.
Philip Circus, a Conservative member of Horsham council in whose ward the development is proposed, added:
“I am not interested that people are connected with royalty or people that donate to the Conservative party. It cuts no ice with me. We don’t feel any compulsion to doff our caps to anyone other than the residents. This is a rural community which in infrastructure terms does not look like an area for major housing development.”
The Kingswood masterplan has been submitted for inclusion in Horsham district council’s local plan, which is currently out to public consultation. The director of the development company, Dominic Richards, was formerly a director at the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community – the heir to the throne’s architecture and planning charity which promotes traditional urbanism.