…Other Airfield developments have been called into question.
Waverley Borough Council had resolved to approve developer Dunsfold Park’s hybrid application for 1,800 homes and other facilities at Dunsfold Aerodrome near Cranleigh, Surrey in December last year. The application sought outline consent for the wider development, alongside full permission for the permanent change of use of existing commercial buildings on site. Planners had recommended approval, concluding that the “principle of the proposed development is considered to be acceptable, and … the benefits have been found to outweigh any harm”.
However, a local campaigning group, Protect Our Waverley, sought to have the council’s decision overturned in the courts. According to local press reports “the judicial review will specifically investigate the way the decision was made”. A statement from Waverley Borough Council said: “The Protect Our Waverley campaign group have had their application for a judicial review into the Dunsfold Park planning application resolution approved by the High Court. This means that the application will now proceed a full Judicial Review hearing. “A rolled up hearing has been listed for the High Court on 13 July 2017. Waverley Borough Council will be contesting the claim and have until 6 July to submit the council’s outline argument”.
Bob Lees, chairman of Protect Our Waverley, said: “We, and the thousands who protested against this proposal, are delighted. “It is absolutely right that an independent view be taken of this application. The site was found to be unsustainable in 2008 and is still unsustainable.”
Waverley Borough Council leader Julia Potts previously said she was disappointed by the decision to call in the application, saying it “ticks all the boxes” in current government policy, including a recent housing white paper. Protect Our Waverley argued that the white paper, Fixing Our Broken Housing Market, emphasises that “it is brownfield sites within settlements that should be used, not sites in remote rural areas that lack the essential infrastructure”. Mr Lees said: “The response by Waverley Council leader Julia Potts is disappointing as it continues the myth that inadequate promises of contributions by the developer to infrastructure will somehow, magically, turn Dunsfold Aerodrome into a sustainable location. “Further, there have been substantial objections from key statutory bodies, including the Environment Agency, and Surrey County Council Highways. “Historic England has raised major concerns about the harm to the site’s heritage assets which are currently being considered for listed status.” He praised the decision to call in the application, saying a public hearing “will give a fair hearing to all local needs and concerns”. “We are grateful to all our supporters, especially Anne Milton MP, for helping us to reach this position,” he said.
Chalgrove Airfield Action Group hopes that when the time comes, we get the same level of support from our local MP.