Home Farm estate and the draft Local Plan
The Home Farm estate is Green Belt land comprising Calvert Road (which runs between Orestan Lane and Dirtham Lane) and Chester Road and the immediately adjoining fields. The dwellings along these roads are a mixture of mobile homes and brick-built homes, all privately-owned. This is a long-established community whose residents include both Travellers (Gypsy and Irish Traveller) and non-Travellers. The roads themselves and most of the adjoining fields are owned by Guildford Borough Council (GBC) and the fields are let out as grazing land to local residents.
The ‘Protection of Home Farm Coordinating Committee’ (PHFCC) was set up to bring together Home Farm residents and representatives of Effingham Parish Council and Effingham Residents Association, with the aims of protecting the Home Farm environment and encouraging GBC to manage and improve its land holding and to maintain the roads. Recognising that there are some Traveller families living in unsuitable accommodation at Home Farm, PHFCC agreed last year that they would support the provision of up to six Traveller pitches on GBC-owned fields, providing they were for local families only. GBC have appointed consultants Capita to investigate the best locations and design for these pitches, in consultation with Home Farm residents.
The dangerous junction of Dirtham Lane with the A246 means that no additional dwellings of any sort can be constructed on the Home Farm estate unless they are for families already living there; planning permission for extra dwellings has been consistently refused because they would generate more traffic using that junction. Capita will also investigate ways of making that junction safer.
Draft Local Plan
The original version of GBC’s draft Local Plan proposed to leave the Home Farm estate in the Green Belt, and provide six Traveller pitches as ‘rural exception homes’ in accordance with Policy 5 of the draft Plan. A rural exception home is one constructed on Green Belt land for occupation by local families only, and PHFCC therefore supported this proposal. However the draft Local Plan now out for public consultation was changed: much of the Home Farm estate would now be taken out of the Green Belt (technically, it is to be inset from the Green Belt), including several GBC-owned fields, as shown on the map in Appendix G (see overleaf). This would potentially allow many more than six Traveller pitches to be constructed on those fields. Since they would not be rural exception homes, if the Dirtham Lane junction was made safer the pitches could be given to outside families rather than local families. PHFCC fears that local families would lose out, too many green fields would be lost, and the influx of many outside families could lead to community tension.
What can YOU do to help?
Please respond to the Local Plan consultation making the following points:
Site Allocation 89 ‘Land at Home Farm, Effingham’ should be changed so that:
- All the land at Home Farm should remain in the Green Belt
- Six Traveller pitches should be provided as ‘rural exception homes’ as allowed under policy 5 of the draft Local Plan, to provide for local families only.
- The land allocated for those six pitches should be decided after full consultation with existing Home Farm residents
Before 22 September:
Write to Local Plan Consultation, Planning Policy, Guildford Borough Council, Millmead House, Millmead, Guildford, GU2 4BB, or
Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or
Visit the GBC Local Plan website http://guildfordlocalplan.info/portfolio/getinvolved/