“Has Milford Golf Course sold developers a Bogey?”

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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 can download 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.

This isn’t the River Ock it’s a road.

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?

Why doesn’t Godalming Town Council have a planning committee?

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GTC__CBA.jpgAll the major towns in ‘Your Waverley’ have a dedicated planning committee – including here in Farnham – Haslemere and Cranleigh. Even the small rural villages have either dedicated planning committees or public meetings where planning applications are considered – in public?

So why not in Godalming?

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Our interest in the planning function of Godalming Town Council was sparked off by the letter featured on the link above.

Funny, we thought, funny …   a major town, which hosts Waverley Towers and where there is a huge amount of development presently underway and even more proposed in the future? But no planning committee?

Even more puzzling? This paragraph from GTC’s new boy Councillor Paul Follows’ letter where he tells his fellow councillors of his, and residents concerns over the proposal to build on land at Milford Golf Course. A development that will have implications for Godalming’s overloaded road network and its infrastructure.

Cllr. Denis Leigh (Waverley Borough Council, Milford Ward)
Cllr. Bob Upton (Waverley Borough Council, Milford Ward)
Cllr. Gillian McCalden (Witley Parish Council, Chair)
Cllr. Tony Sollars (Witley Parish Council, Planning Committee Chair)

 

“My intent is to have this application reviewed by Godalming Town Council (GTC) to record a formal opinion before it goes to the Waverley Joint Planning Committee – and it is my hope that you might support that endeavour by writing to the Chairman of the Godalming Town Council Policy and Management Committee (Cllr Stefen Reynolds) to that end.

We, unfortunately, have no dedicated planning committee at GTC and as such, I am an opposition councillor asking the majority party chair for this to be added to the town council agenda – as you can imagine there is no guarantee that will happen and as such your support would be greatly appreciated!”

We have just learned that astoundingly the Tories abolished the Planning committee because quite simply they couldn’t be bothered. Their reason was that because so many of them are twin hatted – ie Waverley Councillors as well – then they would take the decisions and make the case at the meeting that mattered, rather than holding a trivial town council meeting, in front of the voting fodder, and duplicating their efforts.
They then said they would add significant planning items to other agendas, at the request of members. And an application in a neighbouring parish may not interest most of the council, hence Paul Follows lobbying for support with other Conservatives.

Surely, any self-respecting council -at the grassroots of local democracy – would want to hear its residents’ views on a planning application which affect their lives? Even a minor extension, can have a huge impact. So why don’t they review each and every planning application – allowing residents to have their say?

So Godalming Tories win the WW award for most “Can’t Be Arsed” Council this year.

The WW tripped over a Gove at our local fruit farm.

Who did we see in his ministerial Land Rover as we rounded the corner of Tuesley Farm,  none-other than the Secretary for State for Agriculture Michael Gove. Unfortunately, we didn’t have our free punnet of raspberries to hand…
Brexiteer Gove met our local Brexiteer fruit farmer Harry Hall at Godalming’s Tuesley Farm as part of Open Farm Sunday. Harry is famous for voting for Brexit and then complaining he can’t get enough Polish workers to pick his strawbs..  “If EU labourers disappear ‘I don’t have a business. It’s as simple as that”

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We wonder if Harry (above right) went on to tell Mr. Gove what he said to Radio 4: “I regret my vote in the face of the Government I’m given.” Judging by the look on Gove’s face it would appear he was getting a rough ride?

The Secretary of State’s parking space is pictured below. However, – he didn’t arrive on his bike but was swept through in his blacked out Land Rover.
IMG_2276.jpgLocal Residents will know the farm has had a chequered planning history, with Waverley taking enforcement action against the owners of the polytunnels and then against the permanent mobile homes. However, we can report that these issues are now resolved, and the fruit tastes delicious!

We wonder what this think tank would make of the local challenge to prevent building on Milford Golf Course?

houyseshouse

In a nutshell – Mr and Mrs Tim House of Milford are seeking permission from the High Court to challenge the inclusion of land near their home close to  Milford Golf Course in Waverley’s (not so daft) Local Plan.

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

But here’s where  The Centre For Cities believes development should go.http://www.centreforcities.org/blog/consensus-green-belt-reform-growing-pressure-government-act/

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Milford Station is adjacent to the land in question and within walking distance of the station! 

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?!

The controversial consultation on 180 homes on Milford Golf Course – begins.

See if you can spot Milford Man’s great big pad- next to the golf course, and near the railway station, below?

Milford man is just one of the band of three challenging Waverley’s Local Plan. Read it by clicking on the link below.

Read all about him here: While Farnham man rejoiced, Milford Man WAS BUSY TRYING TO SCUPPER THAT DAMNED PLAN!

30571467_10156393777224973_4679740440952438784_o.jpgDid you Spot the big House house in the bottom right-hand corner right next door!

But remember CPRE – more land in Surrey is under Golf Courses than housing – at the moment: