The latest meeting of Waverley Borough Council’s western area planning committee was held on Wednesday, August 29, with councillors consenting to three of the five proposed builds and/or renovations put before them.
The Hotel de Vie, on the corner of Firgrove Hill and Arthur Road, looks destined to close its doors as a hotel and guest house, after councillors approved its change of use to a ‘house in multiple occupation’, to be occupied by no more than 10 residents at one time.
This represents a significant reduction on the 18 flats initially proposed by applicant Roger Williams at the raunchy hotel, which openly advertises “love swings” and “boudoir photo shoots” online.
The applicant also indicated the flats would likely be occupied by students, and provided an email from the University for the Creative Arts acknowledging a need for more student accommodation in Farnham.The plans would also retain the hotel’s existing 10 car parking spaces.
Commenting on the application, borough councillor for The Bourne and committee vice-chairman Carole Cockburn stated “really I think it would be very difficult to find grounds on which to refuse this one.”
Councillors also consented to the demolition of a vehicle workshop, believed to have been part of Wrecclesham’s former coach works industry, at 38 The Street to make way for a new two-bedroom, two-storey dwelling, as well as an enlarged garden to an existing dwelling.
Prior to the meeting, Farnham Town Council “strongly” objected to the perceived “overdevelopment of a restrictive site with limited amenity space for future occupants”.
In their report, Waverley’s planning officers acknowledged the proximity of the new home’s ‘amenity area’ to existing homes “could lead to a poor level of privacy”. But “on balance” officers considered “the benefits of the proposal would outweigh this harm”.
Permission was also granted for the demolition of an office block at 122 Upper Hale Road - to be replaced with a new building providing eight flats, with associated parking and landscaping.
Farnham Hale and Heath End councillor Mike Hodge commented: “I think it’s a rather good use of the space to be honest and I love the contemporary design of it. We need affordable starter homes in Upper Hale and I think it’s a good scheme.”
The first of two rejected schemes, for two new homes following demolition of an existing dwelling at 38 Brooklands Road in Heath End, was dismissed due to concerns over its impact on neighbours.
The second, the erection of a solitary new home following demolition of a barn at 11 Old Park Lane, was rejected for failing to “protect and enhance the landscape character” of the Old Park area, in conflict with the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan.