Dunsfold Planning Application Approved – What now?
On the 29 March, the plan to build 1,800 homes in Dunsfold park was approved by the Secretary of State Sajid Javid despite heavy opposition from residents.
It’s time to put pressure on regarding the effects on infrastructure.
Get Surrey has reported that Councillors have expressed fear on Increased traffic and congestion in the area once the homes are built and included a map to show likely problem areas following the development.
Specifically mentioned is more traffic expected on an already busy A281, but other areas for concern include:
• The partly single-track route from Dunsfold Park via Markwick Lane, Salt Lane and Station Road to the nearest railway station at Milford – this is also the quickest route to the A3;
• The use of B2130 through Hascombe to Godalming, and onto Guildford; and
• The roads through Hambledon towards Witley Station.
However, the increase of traffic on country lanes was assessed and deemed sustainable by transport planners.
Jim McAllister, Dunsfold Park Ltd’s chief executive said:
“The development of Dunsfold Aerodrome will provide homes for all sections of the community including young families currently priced out of the area, create new jobs and deliver a range of new community facilities together with infrastructure improvements. We look forward to working with Waverley Borough Council to progress the detail.”
What can be done now?
The pressure on infrastructure is the main concern affecting residents when any new housing development is approved.
If these developments effect you and your family, you can still make an impact. Cranleigh Society welcomes new members to help spread awareness and ensure our voices are heard. For further information email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
If you are planning to attend the meeting we would suggest you arrive at least an hour before, as there is bound to be considerable interest in this development.
The application includes 1,800 residential dwellings, in addition to 7,500sqm care accommodation; a local centre to comprise retail, financial and professional, cafes/restaurant/takeaway and/or public house up to a total of 2,150sqm; new business uses including offices, and research and development industry up to a maximum of 3,700sqm; light and general industry up to a maximum of 7,500sqm; storage and distribution up to a maximum of 11,000sqm; a further 9,966sqm of flexible commercial space; non-residential institutions including health centre, relocation of existing Jigsaw School into new premises and provision of new community centre up to a maximum of 9,750sqm and a two-form entry Primary School.
The application also includes a new sewage treatment plant. We have continued to raise concerns about water quality and the discharge point of liquid sewage effluent (by-product of the treatment process) from the site.
The Environment Agency in a letter to Waverley Borough Council on 6 December 2016 have objected to the application, stating that:
“In accordance with paragraph 109 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the associated National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) we object to the proposed development as submitted for the reasons outlined below and on the basis that it may have a significant adverse impact on water quality.”
The current proposal now appears to favour discharging into Loxwood Stream (sometimes referred to as the River Lox). The previous proposal had included the use of the Wey & Arun Canal but this has now been ruled out as unsuitable. A new report published against the planning application “Risk assessment for treated sewage disposal” Ref: 65550TN1D1 and dated November 2016 states that:
“Indeed, for the purposes of this assessment, Loxwood Stream has been taken forward as the potential receiving watercourse. This is based on the fact that the pro rata calculation to estimate flow at the point of discharge would seem to be more reliable than that undertaken for Cranleigh Water, where the influence of sewage treatment effluent downstream of the proposed Dunsfold Park outfall makes any pro rata calculation potentially unreliable without benefit of more detailed flow data.”
Cranleigh Civic Society is now a member of the Cranleigh Waters Partnership, along with Thames Water, the Environment Agency and Surrey Wildlife Trust. Our next meeting takes place on 15 December 2016.
Permission has already been GRANTED for nearly 800 new houses in Cranleigh and the following pending applications will also be sending their sewage to be treated in Cranleigh and will discharge sewage effluent into Cranleigh Waters:
WA/2016/2207 Knowle Park Initiative (West Cranleigh Nurseries) – now in name of A2Dominion Developments Limited- Alfold Road, 265 dwellings
WA/2015/1381 Springbok Estate, Alfold 480 dwellings and primary school (at Appeal)
With the recent publication of the Agenda and accompanying Local Plan documents for the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee for Monday, 27th June, 2016 7.00 pm came the shocking news that Waverley are dumping 45% of their total housing allocation in and around Cranleigh, with a new settlement on Dunsfold Park.
Waverley’s published Local Plan documents include Strategic Sites selected across the borough. This includes two strategic sites in Cranleigh, including phase 2 of the Crest Nicholson site with an additional 101 houses off the Horsham Road, this increases the total housing number on this site to 250 houses.
It is clear that Waverley are now favouring 2,600 new houses at Dunsfold Park and this has also been identified as a strategic site.
At the moment there is a planning application for 1,800 houses on this site, however, Waverley have delayed making a decision on this. You can still add your comments and objections against this application.
Any housing on Dunsfold is in addition to 1,520 houses in Cranleigh, as well as 335 in the surrounding villages. This brings the total amount of new housing in this area to 4,455, which is equivalent in total to a new settlement the size of Cranleigh.
Dunsfold in the 2011 census had a population of 989 with 467 dwellings. Should an additional 2, 600, plus 80 dwellings be added to Dunsfold village, this will be almost a six-fold increase in the number of houses and with the proposed business expansion create a new town adjacent to Alfold and Cranleigh.
A previous attempt to develop a new town at Dunsfold Aerodrome was put forward in 2007 and sought to develop a town of exactly the same size with 2,600 houses. This was rejected by Waverley and dismissed at Appeal as unsustainable.
The planning inspector stated at the 2009 Appeal; “The site is not in a sustainable location and little can be done to improve the existing infrastructure.” Under Overall Conclusions, he stated “The Secretary of State has concluded that the development would generate a considerable amount of additional road traffic and he concludes that this would have a severe and unacceptable impact on an overstretched local road network, and that the scheme would be unsustainable in transport terms.”
What has changed in the surrounding area since 2009 to make the road network around Cranleigh now sustainable to Waverley Planning Officers?
What are the implications for Cranleigh?
With the proposal for 1,520 more houses for Cranleigh and almost 3,000 in total in neighbouring villages the effect on Cranleigh and the high risk of coalescence between Cranleigh, Dunsfold and Alfold is huge.
In the gaps between these three areas there will be continued pressure by developers to acquire land for residential and commercial use. The Cranleigh Neighbourhood Plan provides no policies for any buffer zones or strategic gaps between these settlements, and it does not suit Waverley to limit development in countryside beyond the green belt. The pressure to develop and fill these gaps could be constant and overwhelming.
Cranleigh is deemed the nearest main service centre for Dunsfold and Alfold and there will be massive impacts on the village from all the development:
Urbanisation of our village and loss of countryside. At the recent consultation regarding the relocation of the Cranleigh Primary School when the developer’s agent was asked about the urban feel to the proposed housing they replied that Waverley wanted an urban look.
4,500 houses will double the number of local cars on our road infrastructure (this is approximately the same number of houses that Cranleigh has in total NOW). That’s a potential 9,000 extra vehicles.
Increased traffic will lead to increased congestion, especially on the roads in and out of Cranleigh, Bramley and Shamley Green as well as all locations along the A281.
There will be a significant impact on local services including our doctors and schools.
The negative impact on Air Quality from traffic emissions from petrol and diesel-engined motor vehicles include a wide variety of pollutants, principally carbon monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (PM10), which have an increasing negative impact on air quality, on public health and on the environment. In addition, pollutants from these sources may not only prove a problem in the immediate vicinity of these sources, but can be transported long distances.
The current sewerage system has no capacity and there is no provision being made for a 100% increase in liquid effluent being discharged into Cranleigh Waters and no mitigation being proposed. Waverley have not even done a Water Cycle Study, which is usually carried out at the beginning of the Local Plan process.
Requirement for large increase in electrical supply. EDF indicated to Waverley in January 2011 that Cranleigh would require an increase in capacity if there was a significant increase in population. This also appears to have NOT been factored in so far.
Have your say
Waverley say in the Local Plan documents that:
“The vitality and viability of the main centres of Farnham, Godalming, Haslemere and Cranleigh will have been safeguarded in a way that takes account of their distinctive roles. This will have been achieved through carefully planned development, which meets the need of these centres, whilst recognising the importance of preserving and enhancing their historic character” [our emphasis]
We have never read such utter and blatant ‘spin’ regarding development in and around Cranleigh. We know that the only reason they are dumping housing here is simply because there is NO GREEN BELT.
It’s time to let the Leader of Waverley Borough Council, Julia Potts and the planning portfolio holder, Brian Adams what you think about their decision to dump 45% of their housing allocation in and around Cranleigh
Anyone can request for an application to be called in. IF this call in is successful this means that the Secretary of State will take the decision-making power on this planning application out of the hands of Waverley Borough Council as the local planning authority and he will decide whether it should be granted or refused.
‘Calling in’ can be done at any time during the planning application process, up to the point at which the local planning authority actually makes the final decision.
Once the planning application is called in, there will be a public inquiry chaired by a planning inspector, or lawyer, who based on their findings will make a recommendation to the Secretary of State.
The Secretary of State can choose to reject the inspector’s recommendations if he wishes and will genuinely take the final decision.
You can read more about the application in the recent article on the GetSurrey website