The appeal against the refusal by Waverley Borough Council for 120 dwellings on on Hewitts Industrial Estate has been upheld.
The Inspector GD Jones concluded that :
“Overall, notwithstanding the loss of employment premises/land that would result from the appeal scheme, I have identified no conflict with the development plan and found the proposals to be sustainable development in the terms of the Framework. Consequently, the appeal is allowed subject to the identified conditions.”
You can read the full Appeal decision and conditions issued on 5 Jan 2017 by clicking on the link below:
Subsequently on Thursday 15 December it was confirmed that a planning inspector had in fact been appointed to carry out an inquiry into the granted application. The inspector will report their recommendation to the Secretary of State who will then make the final decision on Dunsfold Park.
This is where an application goes to The Secretary of State (SoS) for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid MP, for his final consideration and determination.
Applications are called-in where planning issues of more than local importance are involved. This can include applications which:
Are of national significance.
Conflict with government policy.
Impact on long-term economic growth.
Have significant effects beyond their immediate locality.
Raise significant architectural and urban design issues.
Involve national security or foreign governments
Where an application is called in, a planning inspector is appointed to hold an inquiry into the application and the Secretary of State takes the findings of this inquiry into account when they make their final decision.
The Dunsfold Debate
On the night of the JPC meeting, Surrey County Council Highways Department and the Environment Agency maintained their objections to the application on traffic impact and water quality.
The debate lasted over four hours. Points in favour of the application included the total number of dwellings, including 30% affordable housing, which would meet a significant percentage of the borough’s housing need, as well as significant employment opportunities being provided on site (Dunsfold is already one of the biggest employment sites in the borough), a new primary school and a local bus service funded in perpetuity. Cllr Foryszewski said:
“This is a development we can be proud of, that can be exemplary, built for the future, to address how we live and work.”
Cllr Cockburn, also spoke in favour of the application saying that:
“We have been saying for years, use brownfield sites first, especially in Farnham and Cranleigh.”
However, councillors also voiced concerns about traffic. It was pointed out that significant impacts on the surrounding highways had led to the dismissal of the previous planning Appeal in 2009. Furthermore, the robustness of traffic modelling was brought into question and was said to be “more of an art than a science” . The extent of objectors and the evidence they had submitted, including a professional transport study, should, it was noted, be taken seriously. Although it was recognised that there would be considerable contributions from the applicants, amounting to a package of approximately £40M, which is proportionally far higher than those negotiated with other Cranleigh developers, the opportunity to deliver extensive road improvements, due to the limiting characteristics of the A281, was questioned.
Cranleigh Civic Society would stress that we feel that these same characteristics should apply to the over 1,500 dwellings being proposed for our village too.
Cllr Mulliner (Haslemere East and Grayswood Ward) pointed out that this was the most significant site in Waverley and highly contentious, having had over 5,000 objections submitted against it. He disagreed with officers on the point of prematurity with regard to the Local Plan, which he pointed out was at an advanced stage, having been agreed by full council two weeks previously, and was being submitted for examination by the inspector two days later on 16 December 2016 (the Local plan has 3,500 objections against it).
Dunsfold Park is listed as a Strategic Site in the Local Plan with a total of 2,600 dwellings proposed for the site. Cllr Mulliner expressed his concern that the application should not be determined until the Inspector had rigorously examined the Local Plan and agreed that the Dunsfold site should be included. Otherwise, he said, this could be predetermining the scale, position and phasing of 25% of Waverley’s entire housing allocation. He went on to state that this was “clearest possible case of predetermination and pre-emption of the Inspector’s role”.
The Objectively Assessed Need (OAN) figure of 519 dwellings per year for the Waverley borough was also commented on. This figure has already been challenged by the Neil MacDonald Report (September 2016). The report concluded that the OAN figure should be reduced by approximately 120 dwellings per year. Over the lifetime of the local plan this could equate to a total decrease of 2,280 dwellings.
The MacDonald concludes that:
“The key issue emerging from this report is the significantly different picture painted by the most recent projections and population statistics from that set out in the SHMA. Whilst the SHMA suggests that the full objectively assessed need for housing in Waverley is 519 homes a year 2013-33, the analysis in this report indicates that an up to date estimate would lie in the range 400 +/- 30 homes a year.”
( SHMA = Strategic Housing Market Assessment. The last assessment was carried out in September 2015 by GL Hearn and set the annual housing need for Waverley at 519 dwellings – see page 117)
“5.13 In conclusion we recognise that if repeating this work today a different figure is likely to emerge, particularly as we would have a different starting point. This reflects the availability of data. However our approach is one that reflects the NPPF and PPG and remains a sound basis for planning.”
We now await the Inspector’s report to the SoS, which may take a couple of months to be issued.
You can watch the full Waverley meeting from 14 December 2016 here on YouTube.
Julia Potts and Brian Adams
Waverley Borough Council, The Burys, Godalming, GU7 1HR
MP Constituency Address:
Anne Milton MP
17a Home Farm, Loseley Park, Guildford, GU3 1HS
STRONGEST OBJECTION TO THE OUTRAGEOUS DUMPING OF NEW HOUSING IN CRANLEIGH
In the strongest of terms we object to the continued attack by developers on Cranleigh’s green fields and we object to the fact that Waverley seem to be happy to be complicit with this action. Cranleigh is not suitable for these massive developments.
Cranleigh is a large village with a strong community spirit and it is despicable that Waverley Borough Council seem content to see it destroyed. It is not fair that it is seen as an easy target as there is no local plan in place yet, to protect it. It also raises the question as to why there is no local plan in place!!
Cranleigh’s infrastructure i.e roads, schools, doctors transport links would not support this massive increase in housing that are trying to dumped in the village – approximately 1500 extra homes is an extra 35% of existing housing, which is disproportionate to the village.
The housing need calculation has not been disclosed although there have been numerous requests. Are the 3 Borough Councils happy that they do not understand how the subcontractor arrived at these housing need figures!! see letters in Surrey Advertiser
Cranleigh will be blighted by the 3 current large housing proposals which will attack 3 sides of the village, causing additional air pollution, noise, traffic congestion, damage to road surfaces and loss of green fields. Are brownfield sites not meant to be used in preference to green fields as per government policy. It is not acceptable that because it makes it cheaper for the developer to use green field sites that they are granted permission.
Cranleigh already has a history of flooding and sewage pollution -there are plenty of reports on this by Environment Agency and Thames Water. These will increase dramatically and what will the situation be when someone becomes ill from sewage contamination in the water. My feeling would be that Waverley Borough Council will be liable for allowing the development in the first place when it is clearly an unsustainable site.
There has already been some development in Cranleigh, namely Swallow Tiles and by Glebelands school.There are some other suitable brownfield sites which could be used, such as the Industrial estate. However stating that there will be low cost housing for local people is in itself misleading if those local people come from outside the borough as has happened in some of the housing near Glebelands. I also understand that the site of the old Godalming Police station has allocated 40 apartments to Croydon Borough Council, if this is true then that is not local housing needs!! Swallow tiles is a large site but it does not have many low cost houses, probably because developers are keen to minimise the number where they can.
Please take these comments on board and revisit the planning applications surrounding Cranleigh. Local people do not want their village ruined by inappropriate housing developments.
UPDATE 25 MAY 2016: Appeal Date issued for 11 October 2016 10am at Waverley Borough Council, The Burys, Godalming GU7 1HR
UPDATE: 25 January 2016: An Appeal against the refusal of planning permission for 120 houses has now been lodged by the owners of Hewitts Industrial Estate.
As you are aware Waverley Borough Council refused planning permission for the redevelopment of the site on 30 September 2015. This decision was taken using officers’ delegated powers and was not a decision made by a Planning Committee. The reason for refusal was the loss of an employment site.
Once the administration regarding the appeal has been finalised by the Inspectorate it will consult interested parties. The Cranleigh Society will be consulted as it made representations regarding the planning application.
All of the details that relate to our case are available on the Council’s website under reference WA/2014/2384 and the appeal documents will also be available under this reference in due course.
This is a brownfield site within the settlement boundary surrounded by established residential development and in Flood Zone 1 (low risk of flooding). It has been reported to have reached the end of its life as an industrial estate.
The Council identified the site twice in its Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (2012, and 2014) as being available, suitable and deliverable for residential development. The remaining tenants have been reported to have found accommodation in the vicinity, with the last remaining tenant, moving to new premises at Dunsfold Aerodrome.
Assuming planning permission is granted by the Inspectorate (which appears on paper as likely, as it does meet with a number of the policies set out in National Planning policy and in supporting guidelines) the site is capable of development with five years and can contribute to the Council’s five year housing land supply.
UPDATE 30 September 2015: Waverley Borough Council Officers refused the Application for Hewitts officers under delegated powers, which means that it did not go to the planning committee stage. Owners of the site are still involved in ongoing discussions with Cranleigh’s Waverley Borough Councillors and developers regarding infrastructure contributions. As outlined in the article in the Surrey Advertiser.
1400 Cranleigh residents signed a petition in favour of building on brownfield sites before green fields, in line with the NPPF. This was submitted to Waverley Borough Council on 31 March 2014.
The planning application for Hewitts Industrial Estate has been submitted to Waverley, we are waiting for it to appear on the planning portal (see update below).
The Hewitts application is available on the Waverley Borough Council website Ref WA/2014/2384
The application is for outline planning for 120 dwellings following the demolition of the existing industrial buildings with associated landscaping.
Berkeley Homes – The Maples WA/2014/0912 – 425 dwellings – Planning Application Rejected but an appeal is likely. If you want to object to this application click here. Appeal date 2 February 2016. APPEAL UPHELD 31 March 2016.
WA/2016/1625 Application submitted by Berkeley Homes to vary conditions of outline permission.
WA/2016/2160Phase 1 application for 55 market dwellings with no affordable houisng (out of 425 dwellings approved)
West Cranleigh Nurseries – Knowle Park Initiative WA/2014/2127- 265 dwellings – REJECTED 27 April 2016 . New application submitted 21 October 2106 found to be invalid. Application now in under reference WA/2016/2207 – More here. Application for 265 dwellings GRANTED by Waverley Borough Council Joint Planning Committee on 15 March 2017.
McCarthy and Stone, Horsham Road WA/2015/0495 – 25 flats – and the demolition of Penwerris home to 21 residents – you can object to this application on the Waverley Planning Portal. This application went to appeal and was REJECTED.
Cranleigh Brickworks Knowle Lane – WA/2013/1947 – 19 dwellings – decision GRANTED – this will follow remediation of the contaminated site and will involve 70 HGV movements a day for approximately 5 1/2 years traveling down Knowle Lane and Wildwood Lane to infill the site.
The planning application for Hewitts Industrial Estate approx 120 dwellings Waverley Ref WA/2014/2384 . This is a brownfield site that doesn’t flood and should be developed before green fields that flood are considered in line with National Planning Policy Framework. This application was refused by Waverley. This application has now gone to Appeal which will be heard on 3 October 2016. The successful appeal decision was published on 5 Jan 2017.
Cranleigh Primary School sites 98 houses proposed. Read more about this application.
TOTAL INCREASE OF DWELLINGS AT THIS STAGE STANDS AT OVER 1,200
Cranleigh in Crisis as Developers Swoop in on Green Fields
Prior to Waverley Borough Councillors Planning meeting on Tuesday 28th October to vote on whether or not to approve the 425 houses by Berkeley Homes on Green Fields to the South of Cranleigh High Street.
Angry Cranleigh villagers paraded up and down their High Street on Saturday before meeting Anne Milton, MP.
Cranleigh Residents say NO to Dumping Houses on Green Fields
Addressing a meeting of over 140 villagers, Anne Milton discussed a number of concerns raised by villagers about the 425 dwelling Green Field planning application submitted by Berkeley Group Holdings PLC WA/2014/0912 to Waverley.
Villagers complained that the many valid concerns they have raised about a lack of infrastructure, jobs, flooding and other issues are simply being ignored by Waverley Borough Council. Many villagers stated that Waverley simply had not replied to their letters or emails.
Richard Bryant, an insurance broker working in Cranleigh outlined the possible very serious flood insurance implications for people buying one of the proposed new Berkeley Homes’ houses in Cranleigh.
He explained that the owners of houses built before 1 January 2009 and at the highest risk of flooding, will be helped to obtain flood cover under a special arrangement set up by the Association of British Insurers and the Government (Flood Re).
However this arrangement does not apply to houses built after 1 January 2009. New home buyers could face the prospect of not being able to obtain flood cover or have to pay a high premium and a high excess.
Mr Bryant went on to say that he doubted if this will be mentioned in the Berkeley Homes sales brochures. “There will be no warning given to prospective house buyers of the potential for flooding. Even if a house escapes flooding by a few inches, but neighbouring houses are under water, the owner of that undamaged house may well have problems at their next renewal date”.
Flood Re state “New housing development should be located to avoid flood risk, or where development in a flood risk area is necessary, it should be designed to be safe, appropriately resilient to flooding and not increase flood risk elsewhere, in line with national planning policies in place. For this reason, properties built after 1 January 2009 will be excluded“.
Anne Milton Offers Support to Cranleigh’s Civic Society
Liz Townsend, Leader of Cranleigh Civic Society said “The Cranleigh community has spoken clearly. We do not want housing dumped on our green fields that flood whilst viable brown field sites exist within Cranleigh and the borough. We will not bear the brunt of Waverley’s failed Core Strategy. People who live in Cranleigh and new residents deserve a better future with a vibrant mixed community that contributes to our village life and not a dormitory town.”
Adrian Clarke, long-term resident and a Chartered Builder said “Since the 1920’s Garden Cities were built, we’ve learnt that houses, job creation and infrastructure all need to be put in place concurrently, which means thinking them all through at the beginning. Waverley has not done that; they have only considered house numbers to meet overall Government targets. Canary Wharf in London is a good example of a current scheme where everything came together into a well-thought-out contemporaneous mix.”
Anne Milton confirmed that she would present the views of Cranleigh residents to Waverley Borough Councillors preparing for Tuesday’s planning meeting on the Berkeley Homes green field site. The MP echoed residents’ concerns that any decision be deferred until such time as major concerns, including available brown field sites, surface water flooding, inadequate infrastructure, and excessive traffic levels were answered and addressed.