A brilliant article from The Cranleigh Civic Society poses some interesting questions for ‘Your Waverley.’
Upon some of which, we have commented.
Cranleigh Civic Society (CCS) received a grumbling letter; a grumbling letter. You know the type, it was probably signed ‘Disgusted of Dunsfold’ and it went something like this:
Let’s talk about Community Infrastructure Levy now, at last, we have a LOCAL PLAN, but what does this mean?
An agreed LOCAL PLAN gives our planners at Waverley Borough Council the power to control future housing development; they can plan for the development of new infrastructure, roads, railways, schools, hospitals etc and, very importantly, it enables the Borough Council to charge house builders a COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY, known as CIL for short.
What is CIL?
CIL raises monies towards the cost of the new Infrastructure needed for the developments to go ahead. What a wonderful step forward we all exclaim!! And so it is. But what of the housing already approved? approaching 2000 houses throughout the Borough. Well, unfortunately:
CIL is not retrospective.
How much will Waverley charge?
So as the consultation period is still running, there is no CIL Schedule!
According to WBC’s website, Waverley’s draft proposal sets a CIL rate of £395/ Sq Metre of floor area for all new housing, (about £40,000 on an average 3-bed house), except, quite reasonably, for ‘Affordable Housing’ where there is no charge. So, taking the 35% of Affordable Housing the Borough is committed to build away from the approximately 2,000 houses so far approved, there will be a loss of CIL to the tune of at least £60 MILLION pounds! £60 MILLION pounds that will NOT be available to improve our ROADS, our SCHOOLS, our HOSPITALS, our BOROUGH!!
How could this have happened we may ask?
WW It happened because our planning officers at Waverley, under the direction of the Infamous Mrs MOP, Richard Shut-the-Gates and Robert Knowless, failed to come up with a plan that satisfied the Government’s criteria for a LOCAL PLAN.
How a Local Plan is developed by the Borough Planners
The basic criteria affecting local residents, as council tax payers, was to identify suitable sites for new housing. This has to satisfy central Government’s housing policy, a requirement that was for about 350 houses a year until 2032. Woking BC has had an agreed Local Plan for some years but that has now proved inadequate, so the inspector added a further 150 or so houses per year to WBC’s Local Plan to cover Woking’s shortfall! So WBC’s annual requirement rose to 509 houses until 2032 (a total of 7,126 houses) 35% of which must be ‘Affordable’. Plus a further rise to 590 was deemed necessary by the inspector when we last looked.
WW. What about local democracy … hell, what about democracy full-stop?
Of these 7,126 houses, a minimum of 4,300, rising to perhaps 5,000, are planned for CRANLEIGH and DUNSFOLD PARK, with the balance spread around the rest of the Borough; We have to ask – just how democratic is that?
Improvements to our Local Roads and Rail?
Perhaps we could have a new road to rescue us from the A281 blight? Unfortunately not! There will, however, be a new roundabout at Shalford, just 100 or so metres from the existing roundabout, which feels as if it will bring the traffic to a complete standstill; and the Elmbridge Road and Bramley crossroads junctions will be reconfigured, so that’s a relief!!! There will also be a new canal bridge at Elmbridge but no new bridge over the old Railway.
What of the Railway?
No plans whatsoever have been considered since SCC’s last feasibility study found not enough demand and that it wasn’t affordable.
What of DUNSFOLD AERODROME?
WW: There is a plan for 1,800 or so houses plus workspace, shops, a school, a medical centre, etc, which is languishing on the Secretary of State’s desk, awaiting Government approval or – as POW & the Rt Hon Mistress Milton sincerely hope and pray (after all, they’ve both lobbied hard enough!) dismissal. Oh, and in the future, if the Secretary of State doesn’t doff his cap and genuflect to POW and Mistress Milton there’s the prospect of an increase to 2,600 houses!
However, it seems that the developers have convinced the powers that be at Waverley that the development of Dunsfold would be jeopardised by the imposition of CIL on the whole development, so there will be NO CIL on the entire development – thereby saving the developers up to £100 MILLION over the life of the development – so that’s ok then.
So let’s hope the plan goes ahead fully and that our Planners use all their discretion to put right the wrongs – spreading the housing out more fairly – hunting for better sites…… they can – but will they?
In the interest of accuracy – the WW does not want the Flying Scot coming after us with his sgian dubh (that’s dagger to us Sassenachs!), it is prudent of us to point out that under Dunsfold Park’s 106 contributions it will provide in excess of £50 MILLION towards highway improvements, school provision and improved leisure facilities in Cranleigh and other infrastructure improvements including a bus service – the first of its kind in the country, in perpetuity! Not to mention the obvious, affordable housing within the development.
Alfold Parish Council – which has opposed development – opposed pretty much everything – that has been proposed at Dunsfold Park also has the bare-faced cheek to be seeking £10 MILLION from the Dunsfold developers for infrastructure improvements. You couldn’t make it up, really, you couldn’t. No doubt the rest of the anti-Dunsfold Parish Councils will be lining up to follow suit but they’d best get their skates on as it’s now less than a month to go before the Secretary of State is due to deliver his decision on 31 March. The only question left is will he or won’t he bend to Mistress Milton and POW’s will? If he does both he and the Government’s housing policy will be a laughing-stock … but, never mind, Mistress Milton and POW will have had the last laugh and we’ll all know what we’ve long suspected: that he who pays the piper calls the tune!
And.. dare we mentioned it?
NO DUNSFOLD = A LOCAL PLAN WITH A BIG BROWN HOLE IN IT which = A BIG GREEN HOLE IN THE BOROUGH’S COUNTRYSIDE!