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Agencies Queue Up To Object To Wisley Development Proposal

Wisley Airfield Plan

Plan of Wisley Airfield almost immediately south of the Junction 10 of the M25 with the A3.

Three agencies are recommending refusal of proposals to develop a housing settlement on the disused Wisley airfield, near to the M25 The agencies are: the highways department of Surrey County Council, Surrey Police and the Wildlife Trust.

It is one of the main potential green belt developments included in the controversial Draft Local Plan The scheme is hoped by some to make a major contribution to a higher house building target for the borough.

The highways department at Surrey County Council, considered, by many borough councillors, rare objectors to planning proposals, wrote: “The proposed development has been considered by Surrey County Council (SCC) as County Highway Authority and it is recommended that the proposal is REFUSED on the grounds that it has not been demonstrated that the development is in a location which is or can be made sustainable from a transportation point of view, or that the residual traffic generated by the development can be satisfactorily accommodated on the surrounding network.”

The main concern of Surrey Police is the cost that policing the new settlement would create. In a letter to Guildford Borough Council’s (GBC) planning department, Matt Sillito, a planning consultant for Surrey and Sussex police, wrote: “I therefore trust that the Surrey Police contribution of £215,235 can be secured through the Section 106 legal agreement, should planning permission be granted.  Without this contribution, Surrey Police would object to this development.”

The Wildlife Trust are concerned that there has been sufficient consideration of the environmental impact. Ken Ankorn, a conservation manager at the trust wrote: “[The Trust] would advise that the Environmental Statement supplied by the applicant in support of a proposal for a development for the former Wisley Airfield site does not adequately address the potential for the protracted construction on this site of a development of this scale, to impact adversely on legally protected and important species and habitat both on the development site and on the adjacent SPA.”

“We would therefore advise the planning authority to seek further ecological information from the applicant prior to the determination of this outline application for this site.”

Paul Spooner, GBC’s lead councillor for planning said: “At this stage my only comment is to welcome the letters and it is good that consultees are taking the Wisley application very seriously given the comprehensive and detailed responses received.”

Cllr Susan Parker (GGG, Send) said: “The Highways Agency state that, ‘it has not been demonstrated that the development… can be made sustainable from a transportation point or view, or that the residual traffic… can be satisfactorily accommodated’. This is an important planning consideration which should not be disregarded.

“The Highways Agency is a statutory consultee, so the council is required to take their views into account when considering a planning application. They have recommended that the proposed development at the former Wisley Airfield should be refused.

“National Planning Policy Guidance makes it clear that, ‘Local Authorities should be aware of the need to be able to justify a decision taken, including where it is contrary to a statutory consultee’s view.’  Since a statutory consultee has recommended that this proposal is refused, it is hard to see how this proposal could be justified.”

Caroline Reeves, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group at GBC said: “The correspondence shows the importance of going out to consultation to statutory bodies for their opinion on sites. It’s fortunate that work such as this has been on-going over the last few months.”

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5 Responses to Agencies Queue Up To Object To Wisley Development Proposal

  1. Andrew Procter Reply

    May 21, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Thank goodness that SCC are taking their highways responsibilities seriously. The applicants assertion, in the original outline planning application, that there was already highways consent was patently false and quite misleading.

    Development on the green belt in this location is in itself unjustifiable but the infrastructure problems that would be triggered by the additional number of cars which would extend to the main road through Ripley and Send are clear grounds for refusal.

    Andrew Procter is a member of the Save Send Action Group

  2. Ben Paton Reply

    May 21, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    SCC Highways is just another objector in a very long list of objectors which includes:

    Ockham Parish Council;
    Ripley Parish Council;
    Effingham Parish Council;
    Cobham Conservation and Heritage Trust;
    Elmbridge Borough Council;
    Campaign for the Protection of Rural England.

    Surrey Wildlife Trust wrote:
    “Having read the material submitted in support of this planning application the Trust believes that the development will have an unacceptable impact on the biodiversity of this highly sensitive area, which cannot be mitigated for…The Trust therefore objects to application 15/p/00012.”

    Natural England wrote:
    “Natural England disagrees with the conclusions reached by the HRA [Habitats Regulations Assessment) and SA [Sustainability Assessment – neither of which were prepared before the decision to send the draft LP out to consultation] and advise that the plan is unsound on this basis…”

    For many decades officials in Guildford have known this to be an unsuitable site. GBC went to enormous lengths to prevent inapproporiate development on this site in the 1980s.

    Anyone with any local knowledge knows that the A3 slows to a standstill almost every day at the Wisley intersection. Only consultants coming in from outside and paid to gild the lily could promote development on this site.

    What changed? A new owner based in the Cayman Islands somehow persuaded GBC to ‘promote’ the ‘new town’ in the draft local plan. GBC apparently kept no minutes of meetings with the developer. At least that’s what it has written in response to Freedom of Information requests.

  3. Jules Cranwell Reply

    May 22, 2015 at 10:47 am

    At least one Tory councillor, Graham Ellwood, is reported to have claimed at a hustings meeting that the development of Wisley must go ahead, to meet Guildford’s supposed ‘housing need’.

    Can he now confirm that he is on board with the Tory election manifesto pledge to protect the green belt?

  4. Valerie Thompson Reply

    May 23, 2015 at 9:16 am

    How often do we read about Guildford’s housing “need”. The “need” is for small homes and flats, many of which could be in Guildford itself.

    Studies have shown that the actual “need” in the area is considerably less than GBC proposes. They are confusing “need” with “demand”.

    There will always be a demand for housing; people would like to settle in leafy Surrey, as there is a migration from the suburbs of London.

    Don’t people realise that these new towns will be suburban, not rural, and that the rural character of the areas where large housing estates are established, will be totally lost, thus destroying the very places in which incomers want to live.

  5. Ben Paton Reply

    May 30, 2015 at 12:01 am

    Highways England wrote to Guildford ~Borough Council on May 26 (letter on the GBC website).

    ‘Our view is that without appropriate mitigation the proposed development may result in severe harm to the A3 Trunk Road. We would recommend that you do not determine the application while we discuss with the applicant our concerns …’

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