WAVERLEY planing officers have recommended controversial proposals to re-route the access to a major residential development at Haslemere’s Sturt Farm should be approved.

More than 60 objections were triggered by the application to change the agreed access to a development of up to 135 new homes in an area of outstanding natural beauty, granted outline consent in 2015.

Haslemere Town Council and Haslemere Society joined other protestors in objecting the plan to extend an existing access road serving the cluster of four homes at the farm, three of which are grade II listed, would have a detrimental impact on their historic setting.

But a Surrey Hills officer said: “Given that permission has already been granted to construct a new access road, it is considered the current proposal to enlarge and adapt the existing access drive nearby would be no worse from an AONB aspect”.

Members of Waverley’s joint planning committee (JPC) will be asked to support their officers’ recommendations when they determine the application, which includes 8.6 acres of adjoining farmland for public recreation, on Wednesday, November 8.

In a last-ditch protest, Waverley District Campaign to Protect Rural England has requested the meeting be postponed to enable “a huge swathe” of new information submitted by the applicant to be examined more fully.

CPRE joint vice-chairman Tony Bennett said: “The planning officer has recommended approval, based in large part on the huge swathe of new information posted on the website just a few days ago, which there has been no time to examine fully.

“Why was the publication of this information delayed for a month, so that there has been no opportunity for comment? It is a fundamental principle of the planning system that there be full public consultation and that substantial and reasoned objections be properly considered.

“This has not happened and it is questionable whether any decision by the JPC would be valid in the circumstance, which is why we are proposing it be postponed for a month to enable representations to be made on a matter which is by definition of public interest.”

The proposed access forming an extension to the existing access between Sturt Farm House and Sturt Barns, would comprise a 5.5m wide road with a 1.8m footway on both sides.

Recommending the scheme be granted, planning officers said: “It is acknowledged the consented scheme would result in the delivery of a substantial level of both market and affordable housing approved at outline stage.”

The new access would allow for an extra 11 residential units, they added, four of which would be affordable homes, which weighed in favour of the scheme, the report said.

“Officers consider the adverse impact in terms of heritage would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the scheme, particularly the delivery of housing, having regard to the immediate need for additional housing and the lack of alternative sites to achieve the level required.”