The Berkeley Bunnies bid to build hutches, ​not burrows has failed – spectacularly.

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Waverley Planners has booted out a Phase of 130 homes destined to be part of a 425 swathe of housing between Knowle Lane and Alfold Road, Cranleigh.

Why?  

You may ask – would one of the most prestigious housebuilders in the country want to construct the affordable home element of its development, below the National minimum space guidelines?

This IS Cranleigh Phase 2.2 130 Homes with 77 Homes  = 59% below Government Minimum Space Standards 

Even Worse- Why?

Having acknowledged that a number of the proposed units would not accord with space standards. Did Waverley’s planning Officers dare to tell members of the Joint Planning Committee that? 

‘Officers nevertheless consider that an appropriate standard of accommodation would be provided on site.’

The Government Technical Housing standards – nationally described space standards (2015) requires dwellings to meet certain internal space standards in order to ensure that an appropriate internal standard of accommodation has been provided for future occupiers.

 How duplicitous of Waverley’s so-called ‘planning experts’ to attempt to dupe the councillors they are there to serve, into believing there was some sort of increase in the number of affordable properties being offered by the developer. When it was patently obvious that there were not?

But councillors from across the borough were UNANIMOUS in their condemnation of Berkeley Homes’ attempt to shove up the size of more lucrative market homes and stuff vulnerable families, now and in future, into small units, below Government space standards, some in three-storey blocks!!

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Alfold’s Councillor Kevin Deanus lambasted the developer saying it was putting …

‘Profits before people.”

“Of the 130 homes, 75 fail to meet space standards (57.7%) Berkeley’s should be ashamed how it has treated affordable homes in this matter. It is shameful that it has pushed up the 4-bed by 40sq m. This is something to do with profits. This after it promised it would build something of which Cranleigh could be proud.”

This week Berkeley’s announced that the ‘Executive homes,’ adjacent to Knowle Lane were going on the market at £1.3+m. 

One after another – including Cranleigh councillors Liz Townsend, Mary Foryszewki slammed the scheme. With Councillor Foryszewski claiming this BIG developer which history had shown had plenty of money to throw at even more planning appeals, could do it again! But her attempt to seek a deferment for talks failed.

Others, from across the borough,  claimed the scheme was so flawed it had to go…

“back to the drawing board.” 

There were also very serious concerns about the Phasing and part phasing of the project which councillors believed could lead to dangers for people living on the parts of the site already developed. It is an open secret in Cranleigh that the developer is transporting thousands of tonnes of spoil from its Rudgwick site to build up land levels and that ancient woodland has been damaged. 

My my! – What high manhole covers the BB’s are building in Cranleigh.

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Now you see it! Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 18.40.02.png

Now you don’t!

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https://youtu.be/zEKk0RgRAVQ

Berkeley Homes Space Standards

A Waverley Liberal and a Tory unite.

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paul_carole_farnham.jpgIt took an unlikely duo of a Godalming Liberal Democrat and a Farnham Conservative to overthrow officer approval for a development that reduced the number of affordable homes by 5 at Green Lane Farm, Badshot Lea in Farnham last night.

It might have been a sight to behold as Councillor Paul Follows proposed rejection of the scheme seconded by Carole Cockburn – except of course the webcast went down…again…and again throughout the debate.

However, the vote was still narrow – won by just 9 votes to 7.

The developer was asked to reduce their affordable housing contribution from 40% – agreed at the time of Waverley’s draft Local Plan in June 2016. Since then Waverley Tories took it upon themselves to change their draft plan down to 30% affordable housing with the aim of asking for greater S106 contributions for infrastructure – that is of course when they can remember to ask for them!
The developer had already taken account of the policy when purchasing the land beyond the greenbelt claiming  ‘exceptional circumstances’ to gain consent for 45 homes  – granted at appeal. It now wants to change the housing mix by adding several larger detached homes and tacking on a load of conservatories. It is believed, this would add over £1-1.5million to the developer’s profits by permitting the changes.
Changes that the officers were quite happy to rubber stamp with the support of seven Tories. 

Pity Farnham Councillor Chris Storey was prevented by the borough solicitor from reading out an -email sent a planning officer? 

He said “We are well used as members of this planning committee to being threatened with appeals by developers. But perhaps my fellow councillors would like me to read out an e-mail sent by this developer…

… when he was suddenly stopped in his tracks by the solicitor saying “It would not be sensible to do so.”

Why?

If developers are using threatening behaviour to councillors or officers, why shouldn’t the public be told?

This Inspector’s decision was deeply unpopular with councillors and officers alike, but none more so than for  Councillor Carole Cockburn who had walked every inch of Farnham with colleagues to devise Farnham’s Adopted Neighbourhood Plan. A plan which had been well-supported by the residents of Weybourne and Badshot Lea, and whose views had now been trashed by a Government Inspector – and not by Waverley.

She said “The people who live there will soon see for themselves how much the place “STINKS – IT JUST STINKS!” The band sits between the sewage works and the rugby field. Funny that! She was quite happy to consent to a similar site on a floodplain adjacent to a sewage treatment works in Cranleigh!

However, a man who can always be relied upon to stick up his mitt, that is of course if he’s awake! Councillor Michael Goodridge – who said his colleagues should set aside the “emotional baggage of fewer affordable homes and grant the application.”

Now let’s see this developer get this through at appeal too!

Is Waverley’s new boy concerned about his role on the planning committee​?

WHERE IS ALL THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING? AND NOT EVEN A MENTION OF SOCIAL HOUSING…image1

Paul Follows the new Liberal Democrat Councillor elected following  the sudden resignation of Simon Thornton, the recently disgraced Mayor of Godalming and member of ‘YW’ Executive, said on FACEBOOK that he had  deliberately waited a few days before posting on this because of his frustration after a recent  Joint Planning Committee (JPC)

He said:

Several weeks ago we were asked to review a development – the Woolmead in Farnham. 134 homes, no affordable housing (despite our apparently fantastic local plan demanding at least 30%) – and we were told that was because the developers had convinced the borough that the scheme was not viable (also known as they were not making enough money) with the affordable component. We were told an ‘independent viability assessment’ made that all clear – but we were not sent copies of that assessment. I voted against it – but in this incarnation of the council, the application was passed anyway!

So, we asked the officers to ensure that if any more came forward in the future with 0% affordable we wanted to see the full financial assessment as part of our papers. Within two weeks we get another one – this time in Haslemere. Now because these were put on pink paper (confidential) I am not allowed to go into the figures – but let’s just say most firms wouldn’t baulk at this kind of profit margin and then use the sentence ‘not financially viable’ when it comes to affordable.

I made the case that the expert assessment merely formally confirmed what the margin was, it did not and cannot make a judgement as to what level we think it is acceptable to remove the affordable housing numbers. That judgement was for elected councillors. I asked for the application to be rejected – for them to come back with at least one affordable residence because last time I checked there actually are numbers between 0% and 30%. The argument is always for NONE not LESS for some reason.

Several councillors agreed, but not enough. It passed!

Where and when will the Conservatives take a moral stand in this area?

The Conservatives had already watered down their local plan from 40% to 30% in the drafting stages – but now they keep exempting developers from even that!

Oh – and not a Social Housing (better known as Council housing) proposal to be found. Something we desperately need!

DEMAND MORE from your elected councillors because a great many of them are failing you and this community at every turn. Bring on May 2019 so we can start trying to get the council we deserve.

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 10.03.02Guess what? ‘Your Waverley’ intends to get smarter in future about the way it extracts money from developers! You read it here first … remember!