We must talk about that Milford Golf Course covenant and that challenge by Mr House of the Local Plan!

As “Your Waverley’ keeps the champagne on ice – here’s one of the reasons why OUR LOCAL PLAN has been halted in its tracks!

houyseshouse.jpgThe very thorough Bea at the Haslemere Herald featured the issue of Mr House’s Covenant on Milford Golf Course, which is now the subject of a legal challenge to the Local Plan.

According to the Herald’s busy little Bea, in the Local Plan part one, surplus land at Milford Golf Club was allocated as a ‘strategic’ site for 180 houses, although it is in the green belt. Government Inspector Jonathon Bore has requested it’s GB status be removed to help meet Waverley’s and some of Woking’s housing targets.

However,  the land is the subject of a restrictive covenant owned by adjoining householders who are determined to prevent a major development on their doorstep.

The historic covenant allows some development, but not on such a large scale. It stipulates “one detached dwelling house to the acre with one lodge and one cottage suitable for and intended for occupation by a gardener, chauffeur or other employees of the occupier of the said dwelling house”.

Let’s all hark back to the ‘good old days’ when we all had housekeepers, gardeners and indeed the new must-have  –  a chauffeur.

Mr House seems to be relying on this very old-fashioned covenant, in a document he is yet to disclose to the Council or the Planning Inspector. The Covenant doesn’t save the site from development, in fact, it actually encourages development! 

As the ‘Houses’ (very apt name for a lawyer attempting to prevent just that) but acknowledges, the total number of units which could be built consistent with the covenant is 81: 27 main dwelling houses together with up to two units of staff accommodation on each plot (see §29 of counsel’s opinion).

Whether 27 or 81 is used as the number of units that could be built consistent with the covenant, any additional disruption would not be sufficiently substantial to satisfy the test.

The existing house is well set back from the boundary line and shielded by a mature boundary of trees and hedgerow. The house cannot be seen from the development land. In addition, there is no good evidence (indeed any evidence) to show that any reduction in value to the House’s land would be significantly affected regardless of whether the development was 27, 81 or 180 units.

Waverley’s detailed response to the Local Plan inspector about the covenant – [link] with some excerpts highlighted below:

Haslemere Herald report of Local Plan February 2018

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No doubt the High Court will be viewing those conveyancing documents soon?!