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Wisley Airfield Planning Application Postponed

A controversial planning application for outline permission to construct an extensive  development on the site of the former airfield at Wisley will not be determined until December 24th, following a postponement by Guildford Borough Council.

Location of Wisley Airfield

Location of Wisley Airfield

Paul Sherman a principal planning officer at GBC wrote to the applicant, Savills: “Further to our ongoing discussions in respect of the above application it now seems unlikely that the council will be in a position to determine the application by the current deadline of 7th August 2015.”

The outline planning permission is for the phased development of a new settlement of up to 2,100 dwellings incorporating up to 100 sheltered accommodation units and associated infrastructure including accesses onto the A3 (Ockham Interchange), Ockham Lane and Old Lane and revised access to Elm Corner, a primary school, community provision, nursery provision, health facility, a local centre (incorporating food & drink, retail, a visitor centre and offices), employment area, eight travellers pitches, sports and recreational facilities (incorporating a floodlit sports pitch and pavilion).

Also required would be Sustainable Drainage Systems and an area of Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) and demolition and removal of the runway and the VOR (VHF omnidirectional range) beacon used for air navigation.

Wisley Action Group [WAG] have commented: “Guildford Borough Council’s five months postponement of determination of this controversial planning application, from an off-shore company, no doubt reflects the volume and strength of objection which it has received in recent months.

“The growing list of well over 1,700 letters of objection to the plan to build 2,100 houses on this green belt land is a clear indication that the people of Guildford reject the concept.  And their concerns are echoed by Thames Water, Surrey County Council’s Highways Department, and Highways England, who say that any such development may result in “severe harm” to the A3 trunk road.

“Surrey Wildlife Trust has expressed concerns relating to the proposed SANGS [Suitable Accessible Natural Green Space] which is immediately adjacent to an area of land protected under EU law as a SPA [Special Protection Area] which would bring humans and domestic pets into direct contact with the rare wildlife species living there and intended to be protected from such schemes.

“Elmbridge Borough Council and the RSPB are among many other objectors to a proposal which would destroy agricultural land and open countryside and has more to do with profits than people.

“In reality, of course, the would-be developers own insufficient land on which to build a sustainable settlement, and Surrey County Council has said that it wants to preserve the existing planning consent for an in-vessel composting site – making the area unsuitable for housing.

“WAG has been advised that this is the wrong project – in the wrong place.”

Cllr Paul Spooner, lead councillor for planning commented this evening (Jul 18) only to say: “I welcome the extension.”

Mike Murray, representing Wisley Property Investments, said (July 20): “We welcome the extension to the determination period for our application to create a sustainable new community at Wisley Airfield, which contains the largest brownfield site in Guildford’s green belt, and which can help to address Guildford’s urgent housing shortage.

“This additional time will allow us the opportunity to give recent stakeholder feedback the attention it deserves in order to demonstrate how our plans for new homes, parkland, community facilities and a school can be brought forward.”

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3 Responses to Wisley Airfield Planning Application Postponed

  1. Tony Edwards Reply

    July 19, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    You couldn’t make it up. Guildford Borough Council seems unable to determine this farcical proposal and asks for five more months to decide whether it has any merit.

    Can this be the same Guildford Borough Council which had already decided the self-same proposal was worthy of inclusion in the ditched Draft Local Plan?

    This proposed assault on the green belt at ‘Three Farms Meadows’, the former Wisley airfield, as the Wisley Action Group has confirmed, is the wrong project in the wrong place.

    And, importantly, Wisley Property Investments (WPI) seems to have forgotten its successful bid for permission to build an in-vessel composting facility on a small part of the land – rendering the whole site unsuitable for residential development.

    Surrey County Council has made it clear, it doesn’t want to pass up its option to build the facility so WPI has probably been hoisted by its own petard.

  2. Jules Cranwell Reply

    July 20, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    This development has nothing to do with the much over-hyped housing need, and housing need is not synonymous with housing demand.

    It is all to do with profit for the developers and CIL [Community Infrastructure Levy] payments to the council.

    It will never be acceptable for its so-called merits, as it has none.

  3. Jim Allen Reply

    July 28, 2015 at 9:06 am

    So where does that leave Gosdon Hill and Blackwall Farms? Both would bring considerably more traffic into congested areas, both are also adjacent to the A3 with inappropriate and poor junctions.

    Central government seem intent on increasing housing stock (for what ever reason, I doubt it is to provide homes). This appears to be supported by the GBC Executive but not the residents who pay for their allowances.

    I guess all we are left with is taking villages out of the green belt, insetting them instead, and infilling them with more houses?

    Is that not where we came in some three years ago?

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