Alfold gets a new heart – and a safer village?

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Waverley councillors have approved a scheme to bring Chapel Fields into the heart of Alfold despite objections from planning ‘experts.’ 

As outrageous as it may seem it took a determined developer to devise a housing scheme that would fund basic highway safety measures!- Vital road improvements have been called for but ignored for decades by the county highway authority! But it is partly due to Surrey County Council’s own development on Lindon Farm adjoining Chapel Fields that prompted councillors to overthrow their planning officers advice to … REFUSE!

Thanks to the landowners – and a determined Agent – Alfold will get now get 8 new homes – from two to four bedroom, a shop and cafe, a play area, and a central village green – but more important than all those put together – a safer highway through the village.

Waverley councillors, some of whom have a personal connection with the tiny Surrey/Sussex border village were able to recount their own personal experiences of one of the most dangerous country roads in the borough.

The Loxwood Road is a popular route for lorry traffic from the Shoreham Docks, and a busy link into the A281 Alfold Crossways a scene of numerous accidents. One several years ago, saw a female motorist die outside the village shop. Her death brought appeals for the highway authority to provide safety measures. 

Alfold Councillor Kevin Deanus said his village had recently been bombarded with development. Development both “inappropriate and insensitive” and which had provided the village with “absolutely no benefits.” The application before the eastern committee offered numerous benefits welcomed by many, including the parish council. He claimed SCC’s development nearby had,  “changed everything.”

Cranleigh, and former Alfold councillor, Mary Foryszewski said the scheme would “enhance the Conservation Area,” and here, at last, was a developer putting something back into the community.

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Cranleigh’s Jeannette Stennett predicted the scheme would open up the village – give it a new heart and anyone who had ever driven from the bottom of the Loxwood Road past the sharp bend on the hill, would welcome with open arms the traffic calming measures. Saying, It was what Alfold had needed for a very long time. Alfold had lost pubs, a fine restaurant and with the Development at nearby Dunsfold now approved, this thriving community deserved more. “I am giving this all my support.’

Councillor Stewart Stennett said he had personal experience of his own traffic accident there, saying the extra 20 car parking spaces for the Chapel, and residents parking would be welcomed by all.

Bramley’s By-Pass Byham who always welcomes traffic improvements, said in all his time at Waverley he couldn’t recollect  Alfold Parish Council ever supporting “anything” – so would definitely supporting this application.

However, Wonersh’s  Grouchy Goodridge didn’t believe the shop or the cafe were viable and the scheme was just a ploy to get housing development onto the site. The councillor who regularly reveals he is permanetly joined at the hip of planning officers with superglue argued against. “The developer has dangled a carrot in front of us? So what happens when these facilities are unviable? I certainly won’t be voting for it.”

After Ewhurst’s Val Henry spoke of her “excitement” about a scheme bringing with a raft of benefits for Alfold people. It was then left to Chairman David Else to call for a vote?

Despite a bit of confusion, which was not helped by officers seemingly completely disinterested in advising members on important conditions to be imposed on the scheme it was agreed by 10 votes to two. With Groucho and Chairman David Else voting against.

Will Waverley councillors back a scheme that the locals claim could breath new life into Alfold?

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Screen Shot 2018-11-06 at 20.04.34.pngOr will they follow the recommendation of their very own planning dummies and refuse a widely supported scheme for eight homes – a cafe shop – and a car park?

Tonight Waverley planning ‘experts’ will once again recommend refusing development on land in the Surrey/Sussex border village – which has been hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons recently! Will this site on which development has been sought since 1986,  once again be kyboshed by planning officers who are ignoring local opinion – including those of village leaders on the parish council? (However, shouldn’t  someone tell the parish council that Grampian Conditions aren’t worth the paper they’re written on).

Perhaps Alfold’s Councillor Kevin Deanus can be as persuasive in supporting this application as he has so ably demonstrated when objecting to other totally unsuitable schemes, that officers have backed to the hilt in the east of the borough?

It beggars belief that Surrey County Council with Waverley’s support can build on land to the rear of Lindon Farm, formerly part of the same holding on which permission was refused to every other applicant. But then grant itself planning permission for three large buildings for supported living accommodation for autistic children with access from a one-way dangerous country lane!  Every other past application had been refused by its very own engineers’ on highway objections! Double-dealing or what?

Then along comes a community facility – a Cafe and a shop, which locals say will complement the existing village shop –   in a village with scant amenities. Along with the added bonus of a car park (10 spaces for a village church and 10 for residents’ parking, plus a traffic calming scheme)  and a play area in the heart of the old village – and the planners say…

… OH NO!

Dumb or what?

Come on Councillor Deanus – get your truncheon out and knock some sense into your so-called experts and get Cranleigh’s Liz Means Biz, (not to be confused with Betty Boot), and your fellow councillors along with you?

Tell them about the numerous accidents that have occurred on the dangerous bend where a woman died just a year or so back. Tell them about the dangerous parking, and the numerous incidents, accidents, damage to property that are a regular occurrence in Loxwood Road.  (We have researched this and our followers over there have been writing to us)!

And… how can anyone claim this doesn’t fit into the street scene?

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Existing housing and church – a footpath eight homes and a car park, cafe and shop behind?  But the ‘experts’ don’t like it!