A LAST-ditch appeal has been launched by Witley Parish Council urging Waverley planners to refuse outline plans for up to 200 new homes on “unsustainable” land at Milford Golf Club.
Officers have recommended consent be granted for the scheme – which has triggered more than 250 objections – by Waverley’s joint planning committee at its meeting next Wednesday.
Two statutory authorities – the Environment Agency and Natural England – originally objected to the housing development, including 60 affordable homes, on land in a flood zone close to a special protection area that is home to three internationally rare bird species.
But both subsequently withdrew their objections.
Residents have protested the suitable alternative natural green space (SANG) offered in mitigation for the loss of former green belt land is largely inaccessible “swamp”, and neighbours Tim and Isobel House commisssioned an independent transport report that rejected Surrey Highways conclusion that Station Lane could cope with the traffic increase.
Detailing the main issues of concern in a letter circulated to all joint planning committee members, Witley Parish Council chairman Gillian McCalden concluded by saying: “If this application were coming forward a mere eight days later, the developer would be liable for CIL payments of an estimated £7.5m.
“But we have been told delaying the decision for eight days would be an ‘improper use of power’ by Waverley.
“Crown Golf and Stretton Milford stand to make very substantial profits when the site is sold on to Cala Homes, with planning permission. Stretton Milford are being allowed to avoid their infrastructure obligations under CIL, yet very little money has been requested in S106 payments.
“Far from being an ‘improper use of power’, we see this as a scandal residents will find hard to forgive. We believe the developers should be asked for sizeable contributions to local projects to compensate for the loss to Waverley of the large amount of CIL.”
Recommending the scheme be granted, officers reported: “The site has been removed from the Green Belt and allocated as a Strategic Site in Local Plan Part 1 in the recognition it is suitable for development and that the development of the site will make an important contribution to meeting the borough’s housing needs.
“The harm which has been identified as resulting from the proposal is considered to be outweighed by the benefits which it would provide.”