Core Strategy response

Please find below the response from Badshot Lea Community Association as submitted 4/10/2012

Comments on Location of Housing

The distribution of the additional 967 dwellings required on selected greenfield sites is at variance with many of the policies, objectives and problems stated in the Core Strategy.

1. The  allocation of 433 additional dwellings to Cranleigh would appear to have the same basic infrastructure/road link problems as those associated with any residential  development at Dunsfold, just under 3 miles away. The development of Dunsfold airfield offers a major opportunity to create a significant new conurbation without the need to encroach on any Green Belt land and adhere to NPPF 5.12 with the re-use of a brownfield site. As an expanding employment site, with currently over 600 employees, it would seem sensible and more sustainable to co-locate some housing with the jobs. 

2. The additional 434 dwellings on Greenfield sites around Farnham would appear to ignore the problems identified with this area throughout the Core Strategy, as follows:

2.1 Cross Border Activity.  As outlined in sections 1.15, 2.9, 4.1.5, 5.16, 5.17, 5.18, will result in over 5000 new dwellings (Aldershot/Church Crookham/Ash) being built within a two to four mile radius of parts of north Farnham e.g Badshot Lea. In addition the 4000 homes proposed for Borden will add to the existing congestion on the A31 and A325 as outlined in 5.19.  It is difficult to believe that these 9000 new homes will have little or no impact on Farnhams infrastructure.

2.2 Thames Basin Heaths SPA.  As stated in sections 2.12 and 5.26 most of Farnham is covered by this SPA. Building within this area would be a last resort, not option one, if this was being taken seriously. Mitigation, in whatever form, is no compensation for the loss of these areas. 

2.3 Green Belt and the NPPF.  The five aims stated within the NPPF for the Green Belt (NPPF para 80) are:  

●● to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas;
●● to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another;
●● to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment;
●● to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns; and
●● to assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict
and other urban land.

The above describes exactly what is slowly happening to our historic town of Farnham and some of its surrounding villages e.g. Badshot Lea. They will become one big urban sprawl linking Farnham to Aldershot and Farnborough. Is the green belt in the right place? Much has changed over the 50 yrs since it was established. With 80% of the Borough being Green Belt, AONB or AGLV (para 2.11) and approximately 10% already developed, it cannot be long before some boundary changes are required. We must not allow Farnham and some of its villages to be ruined in the meantime.  

Comments on What Changes are Required

The distribution of housing across the Borough is driven by where you cannot build rather than where we need to build. The market analysis cannot possibly support this simplistic distribution between Cranleigh and Farnham, particularly when the 5000 new homes around the Farnham area are taken into consideration. A review of the Green Belt boundary is required if it is to continue to fulfill its main aims and objectives. 

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