WAVERLY leader Julia Potts has condemned taxpayers’ money being spent to defend the borough council’s Local Plan against fresh legal challenges lodged by Surrey Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and Protect our Waverley (POW).

Last month, the High Court rejected challenges by CPRE and POW that Waverley’s Local Plan housing target to build 11,200 homes by 2031 was “unsustainable”. A linked challenge by POW against the Secretary of State’s decision to grant outline planning consent for 1,800 houses at Dunsfold Park was also dismissed.

But both campaign groups have now announced that they are appealing against the High Court ruling concerning the Local Plan - POW has admitted defeat concerning the Dunsfold Park development.

Responding to the fresh attacks, Miss Potts said: “On behalf of a significant majority of Waverley residents, I am quite frankly angry and disappointed that having already gone through a costly and lengthy judicial process, which delivered an extremely robust judgment in favour of Waverely’s adopted local plan, POW and CPRE have now chosen to continue this attack on the people of Waverley.

“Like many Waverley council taxpayers, I am tired of these continued attempts to undermine Waverley’s local plan by these two pressure groups who, it would appear, have an endless pot of money from what could appear to be secretive funders.

“Yet again Waverley has no choice but to spend more council taxpayers’ money defending yet another court case.”

Surrey CPRE director Andy Smith said: “Recently published figures from the Office of National Statistics confirm that both nationally and locally the growth in population and new household formations is lower than previously thought. Local authorities should be recalculating their housing targets in line with the latest data available, as the NPPF stipulates.

“Part of the increase in Waverley’s housing numbers under the Local Plan is supposedly to meet ‘unmet need’ from the neighbouring borough of Woking.

“But Woking Council say that they no longer have a shortfall. This casts serious doubt on the allocation of 1,577 additional houses to Waverley.”

POW chairman Bob Lees, said: “This is a golden opportunity for the council to significantly reduce the mandatory number of new houses to be built in the whole of Waverley over the next 14 years.”