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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.”