Time to question Effingham Parish Council over plans to develop Effingham Lodge Farm
By the Editor: Chris Dick
From time to time we, Effingham Residents Association (EFFRA), put up articles that we may not be totally in agreement with as an Association. We take the views of the majority of residents as they are expressed during our infrequent surveys. But we put up the other points of view so that residents can make up their own minds or indeed change them. It is good to see both points of view expressed in the Comments section below our articles.
A couple of days ago we put up a message from the Howard of Effingham School – a school we are all both proud of and support. However EFFRA does not agree with giving up our Green Belt farm land for 295 new homes in the village to fund a new school – there are other ways of doing this.
What has surprised all of us is that Effingham Parish Council (EPC) appears blind to the concept that, to everyone apart from themselves, mileage will be made by their policy to face both directions at the same time. EPC objected to Berkeley Homes building on Effingham Lodge Farm (ELF) but then put forward the same site themselves – albeit scaled down. Their EPC position against the live Berkeley Homes application logically must be undermined to some extent by this approach.
Because of the stance EPC has now adopted with their draft Neighbourhood Plan they have reduced their initial objection to housing on ELF to simply one of how many houses will be built. This is a far cry from their policy to protect this farm over the past decades. EPC will say about 30 new homes in their Neighbourhood Plan and then Berkeley Homes will say about 150 new homes should be built on ELF and then someone will have to decide on what the figure will be. More than 30 for sure and less than 150. It will come as no surprise that we are not privy to the informal conversations between councils and developers but it is likely that the Local Plan will reflect these suspected intentions.
And what might be the result of these machinations – probably no new school but lots of new houses on Effingham Lodge Farm.
In other words, apart from the developer, we all get what we do not want. The school and kids lose out and so does the village.
Roland McKinney (pictured above) is an EFFRA Consultant and chairman of Handsoffthegreenbelt.
As Roland McKinney puts so succinctly:
“This is precisely one of the arguments we put forward for opposing EPC’s plans to build on ELF. EPC were blind to this possibility, for reasons I will never understand. This is the outcome of EPC’s folly. It was predictable and you can be sure it is an argument that will be used time and time again.”
We understand that Guildford Borough Council Planning Committee will consider the Berkeley Homes/ Howard of Effingham School Planning Application on 9th March.