Bewley Homes Appeal – BLCA Objection

There has been an appeal on the Bewley Homes application (WA/2019/1905), land opposite Swiftsure. The BLCA are planning to object once again, the details of which are shown below. Residents are encouraged to make their own representation with the planning inspectorate at this link.

  1. Housing Need
    The site is not supported by the Waverley Local Plan or the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan (FNP). Within the FNP the council has identified sufficient sites to accommodate the assessed need for housing during the plan period until 2032 and Badshot Lea has played its part in that process.
    Badshot Lea currently has three sites under construction providing 244 homes and another completed last summer of 69 homes. In addition, one other site has outline permission for a further 23 homes. Together they will provide 336 homes, of which 109 (32%) will be affordable. All within 800 metres of the centre of Badshot Lea and all at the expense of the green fields around our village.
    The FNP also contains another site, 250 meters from the Appeal site, that will provide up to 100 homes.
    Badshot Lea is providing a significant number of market and affordable homes. There cannot be any justification for developing this site based on local need.
  2. Cumulative Effect
    The cumulative effect of 336 additional homes, together with 600+ cars on our already congested roads, is yet to be experienced and is certain to have a detrimental impact on the everyday lives of the local community.
    We should not be adding to the problem through unplanned development.
  3. Build Density and Design
    The appellant claims There is, therefore, opportunities at later stages to consider the layout of housing and the appearance and landscaping of the scheme to enhance the overall landscape character of the area. This is entirely achievable and normal within outline applications which specify an ‘up to’ quantum of housing.
    However, it is our experience that if an outline application is granted for up to a specific number, 140 homes in this case, the applicant will expect to build to that level and the other considerations become secondary. This ensures that quantity overrides quality and results in the kind of anywhere place recently described as unacceptable by the Secretary of State. He also stated Through planning policy, every new street should be lined with trees, ensuring ready access to nature, with all the advantages to health and wellbeing that provides, for everyone.
    Considering the comments from the Secretary of State and the guidance contained in the Building for Life document, as per para 129 of the NPPF, is impossible to accept that this outline proposal will result in an acceptable built form that fulfills these objectives.
    The Sectary of State also states that In recent decades some development has acquired a bad name due to shoddy workmanship, at times outright unsafe, and the development of “anywhere” places, which have little relevance or connection to local character or identity. This would be a perfect example of an “anywhere” place, create urban sprawl, and is entirely unsuitable for Badshot Lea.
    The application is a throwback to its origins in 2013. Much has changed since then and it is evident that Place Making, good design and quality over quantity, key elements of an application in 2021, are not the guiding principles driving this proposed development.
  4. Access
    The appellant based the site access requirements on the basis that a higher-than-average flood risk existed at the main entrance and therefor a secondary emergency entrance was required. This is highly controversial locally and the secondary entrance seen as having the potential to become a rat run through Badshot Park at a later stage.
    The appellant now claims that the issue of potential flooding at the main entrance has now been resolved. Therefore, there is no justification now for a secondary entrance other than through the poor design and minimum standards of the on-site roads.
    There are much larger sites than this that function perfectly well with one entrance. The access proposals are unacceptable.
  5. Public Consultation
    Although not a direct concern of this Appeal it has a bearing on the resultant application now under consideration. The appellant refers to extensive public engagement. It is true that the local community have voiced their opinions when able to do so at the time. This included the original application, the resultant Appeal and the current application. During this time there has been absolutely no public engagement by the appellant. The last communication we had from them was immediately after their consultation in October 2013.
    They state that the Bewley Technical team have been addressing the concerns of the local community. There is absolutely no evidence of this. Had any local consultation taken place they would certainly not be submitting an application based entirely on the proposal put forward over 7 years ago.
    They have shown from the outset a complete disregard for local opinion and this is evident throughout this application.
  6. Summary
    This Appeal is largely based on the appellants claimed under performance of Waverley Borough Council. However, this is not the case and it is clear that para 14 of the NPPF applies.
    The application concerns a site within Badshot Lea, a community that has embraced the need for change and will accept a substantial amount of planned new housing. A community that has supported the formulation and adoption of the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan and now rightly expects that Plan to protect it from speculative development and ensure that this Appeal dismissed.
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