It is a sad day for the Waverley Web saying farewell to Betty Boot aka Liz The Biz, aka Lilibet aka Elizabeth Simms Waverley’s chief planning officer.
Credit where credit is due – taking over from former planning head honcho Matthew Evans, a former Berkeley Homes employee turned gamekeeper was a poisoned chalice. However, the man who made his name holding ‘secret meetings’ with developers and Cranleigh councillors – can be proud of his pupil’s achievements. She has ensured Cranleigh is now on the cusp of becoming a New Town, Godalming and Farnham are almost grid-locked – Dunsfold Aerodrome will soon become home to many – not planes – or petrol heads, other than those engaged in business, but families. In fact, our borough is now growing faster than knotweed.
She also managed to get the Local Plan adopted – well, almost – now it is doing another round in the courts to lower the housing numbers, thanks to Protect our Waverley and the Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England – promotors of all brownfield sites, except of course Dunsfold Aerodrome.
However, she has repeatedly reminded councillors on many thousands of occasions that she and her …
“officers are satisfied.” with anything and everything being built in and around Waverley.
That includes as many green fields as possible going under concrete, recommending, regardless of how damaging, many hundreds of new homes are crammed into the back, side, and front gardens, other of course, than in Farnham. Even in Farnham, if it happens to be in the gardens of Tory councillors!!
We shall always remember her for her comments and protection of Waverley’s ancient Woodland. You know those old trees that have been around for 600 years or more. The ones she said could always be replaced with new ones!
And well done for agreeing to postpone the Local Plan Part 2. Until after the May, elections to ensure Haslemere remains Blue and all those controversial developments remain in the IN file until May is OUT!
No surprises there then that our borough council has been sanctioned by the Government for under delivering its housing supply. – although one might argue that, given the sausage factory panache, with which Waverley’s planners have been banging out planning consents one might be forgiven for wondering WHY?
WAVERLEY IS ONE OF THE COUNCILS TO BE SANCTIONED BY THE GOVERNMENT UNDER THE NEW HOUSING DELIVERY TEST.
SO INSTEAD OF AN ADDITIONAL 5% BUFFER ADDED TO ITS HOUSING SUPPLY NUMBERS, THIS HAS BEEN INCREASED TO 20%! THAT’S ANOTHER 1500 HOUSES!!!
Q Q: Why?
A: Because of all the developments already consented in Waverley approximately 400/500 of 1800 that could, and should, have been built on a brownfield site at Dunsfold Aerodrome – NONE HAVE BEEN BUILT … yet.
All thanks to the antics of that troublesome twosome – Protect our Waverley (POW) and The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) – aided and abetted by the meddling Mistress Milton, and Jeremy SHUNT – who, shall henceforth be known as – ‘Waverley’s Old Buffers’ (WOB’s.’) Together they were, and are, dedicated to stopping development at Dunsfold Park so they can support building over the countryside! Had these unreconstructed NIMBYs bowed to the inevitable and accepted that the biggest brownfield site in the borough was the obvious place for housing, rather than trying to stop it by hook or by crook, housing development at the Aerodrome would now be well under way, thus enabling Waverley to demonstrate that it IS delivering on the planning consents it had granted.
One-third of local authorities face a sanction under the government’s new housing delivery test this year and these include both WAVERLEY & GUILDFORD.
The delivery test was introduced in last July’s revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). It applies sanctions to all local planning authorities that, in the three years up to the preceding April, failed to meet 95% of their housing requirement, with the severity of the sanction varying according to the extent of the under-performance.
Under the test’s criteria, all local authorities delivering under 95% of their housing requirement must now produce an action plan detailing the reasons why they are under-delivering and how they will address it.
Those under 85% of their requirement, which includes, Waverley and Guildford, must add a 20% buffer to their five-year housing land supply requirement, instead of the usual 5% buffer, and produce an – ACTION PLAN.
Meanwhile, the worst performers – those under 25% in November 2018, rising to 45% in November 2019 and 65% in November 2020 – face the NPPF’s presumption in favour of sustainable development.
SO WHAT’S WAVERLEY’S CUNNING ACTION PLAN? AND WHAT’S GUILDFORD’S?
Does that mean THAT THE LAND ADJACENT TO AARONS HILL in Godalming, in the borough of Guildford COMES BACK ONLINE?
Fortunately, none have fallen under 25% which means no local authority faces the presumption penalty – this year. Which means that 66% of councils – exactly two-thirds – have escaped any penalty at all – this year. In comparison, research by Planning last November found that 120 local authorities – 62% – would be above the 95% threshold and face no delivery test sanction at all.
Research suggests our borough is among the 38% of councils would have to produce an action plan, and is also the 31% required to have a 20% buffer in their housing land supply to boost delivery.
Has POW and CPRE (WOB’s) learnt anything from their mistakes?
Have they hell!
Having secured yet another Judicial Review into Waverley’s Local Plan, which wastes shed loads more of Waverley taxpayer’s dosh. In the interim THE WOB’s cloak themselves in yet another cost protection order (the infamous Aahrus Convention enabling NIMBYs like CPRE and POW to play fast and loose at the expense of ordinary taxpayers’ money without fear of incurring prohibitive costs.) While they increase delays in housing delivery.
The upshot is. That even if they do manage to secure a so-called victory by reducing Waverley’s housing numbers, those housing numbers will now automatically increase because of the delays in delivery. You really couldn’t make it up!
Might just as well ditch the ballot box, and all the huffing and puffing at ‘Your Waverley’ because the Government wants to blow them all down and continue to allow development in the countryside.
Ignoring the views of local residents are becoming an everyday occurrence as to-day Waverley Borough Council lose yet another planning appeal. This time for 59 homes on land outside the settlement boundary of Ewhurst. Rendering yet another Neighbourhood Plan useless.
So there you have it. Two homes built by Berkeley Homes just 20 years ago will be demolished to make way for 47 new homes can be built – 15 of which will be “affordable” on land at Firethorn Farm. Land owned by a former Ewhurst resident who has bu**ered off to live in the rural Hampshire countryside. Same resident who trousered millions after receiving planning permission on appeal for Larkfield.
Trees covered by Tree Preservation Orders will require removal, but then that’s not a problem is it? As for the Neighbourhood Plan – here’s what the Inspector thinks of that little nuisance document that villagers have spent many months putting together!
In the meantime developers, Miller Homes are busy covering another part of Ewhurst in concrete, completely destroying the hedge along the entire length of the access road at Backward Point off the Cranleigh Road, Ewhurst. A hedge which has been destroyed by concrete sets laid down against the hedge which has completely destroyed the hedge’s its root system, and now leaves the nearby properties completely exposed.
Here is the decision. A decision that will rock the socks off Waverley Planners who may find themselves in trouble with the Government as they may once again find themselves not performing against the critical data as they continue to lose major appeals.
PS. No objection from Protect Our Waverley or the Campaign for The Preservation of Rural England. The Surrey Hills AONB, which overlooks the site – made the fact that it had no objection known to the Inspector.
Now all hell’s breaking out in Milford – as claims over a covenant gather pace.
A battle royal between residents, Waverley Planners and developers – over a scheme to build 200 homes on Milford Golf Course is about to tee off.
Is yet another development accessing off a narrow country road about to happen? But, then there’s a lot of that about – ask the people of Cranleigh the eastern villages of Alfold, and Ewhurst? Because they are currently playing dodgems with HGV’s and increased traffic, just as they are in Milford.
. Quite startling allegations that the developers Crown Golf and then Stretton Milford Ltd lied to Waverley to remove the Golf Club from the Green Belt in 2016. They strenuously argued the site was ‘deliverable’ when clearly there was a covenant on it. And then subsequently took out insurance against not removing the covenant!
Neighbours, Mr & Mrs House have clearly paid for a lorry load of consultants to draw together this huge list of objections. Quite an impressive document, you candownload here.
Mr & Mrs House’s consultants have highlighted the effect of the floodplain on the developers’ mitigation SANG (Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace) area. As usual, Natural England is obviously quite happy to see dog walkers up to their necks in floodwater from the River Ock as they negotiate the SANG? – That’s the area carved out of the site to mitigate for building near the rare Wealden Heaths. That space is also split into two by the busy Station Road – access to Milford Station, the constantly expanding Tuesley Fruit Farm – let alone a shedload of a new housing at Milford Hospital. So public safety goes by the board… yet again! WW asks? Is Natural England actually reviewing anything properly?
When are the Planners going to take into account the quality of life of its residents? When will Surrey County Council highway engineers start doing their job?
Here are just a few of the local objections.
the development will lead to serious congestion on Station Lane/Church Lane and Church Lane/A3100 Portsmouth Road and will pose a danger to pedestrians and cyclists;
the development will be overcrowded because the land available for building is severely constrained by flood risk and the need for SANG;
the Site, the River Ock, and Station Lane are all liable to flooding. Stretton Milford Limited has not adequately evaluated the run-off and flood risk resulting in the Surrey County Council (the Lead FloodAuthority) recommending refusal of the application;
the Site cannot provide SANG that complies with relevant guidance;
the development will invade natural countryside and unnecessarily break the natural boundary to the village of Milford that the River Ock has always provided;
the development does not comply with the conditions set out in LPP1 when the Site was allocated as a strategic site suitable for large-scale development;
the proposed development will overlook and overshadow our own property;
since there is a legal right to prevent this development, which we intend to enforce, it is a costly and flawed strategy for Waverley Borough Council to depend on this development on the Site to fulfil a material part of its unmet housing need;
it is premature for Waverley Borough Council to grant planning permission for a large-scale development on the Site since it has not completed the preparation of Local Plan Part 2 (LPP2) which will provide a proper opportunity (if carried out objectively) to reflect on the availability of other more suitable and better-supported sites for large-scale development; and
the scale of the requirement for housing in Waverley Borough Council is in a state of flux and it would be inappropriate to permit large-scale development now on an unsuitable site when doing so will breach the historic natural boundary of the village at the River Ock and permanently destroy former Green Belt land.
By the way – that’s the road – not the river!
Breath in! Don’t worry the pedestrians will jump into the hedges – or get killed?