Berkeley Homes/Howard of Effingham Planning Application


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Squash in Effingham
This application for a 2,000 place school( the biggest in Surrey) and around 300 new homes on Greenbelt land in a bottleneck in Effingham, will be considered next week. If you thought there were many more objectors than supporters, I would remind you that the school recently sent out an email begging parents for support. Many have responded as the number of supporters has increased exponentially. If you don’t want this development to go ahead, now is your last chance to have your say. I’ve copied the link.

Ben L

Personally I am in favour of the new school. I would genuinely be interested to understand what the alternatives would be as the school desperately needs developing (and no I don’t have any children that attend.)


My kids attend the school Ben L. and yes it needs refurbishing which it could do so on site. The Head has said that she has no intention of increasing the catchment and so most of the 400 new places will be taken by kids from the new development. Surrey CC has written in support of the school saying that it will relieve pressure on Guildford Borough which is rubbish as the catchment isn’t to increase. Every child who meets the school’s admission criteria gets into the school, has done so for the last 5 years at least and will do so upto 2021.My objection is that Berkeley Homes are using the lure of a new school to get planning permission, that would have otherwise have been refused to build 300 homes on Greenbelt land. This to me is morally wrong. I think 300 homes in that small space will mean that several hundred extra cars-500 or 600? will be driving up and down Lower Road. 300 homes will accommodate at least 1,000 extra people in a small village putting extra pressure on primary schools, doctor’s surgeries, station carparks etc. Not to mention the loss of Greenbelt land separating Effingham from Bookham.If the Howard was having to turn away kids who live in catchment and went to feeder schools then maybe there would be a case. The school and Surrey CC are trying to make this case but hopefully Guildford Borough Council Planning application will ask Surrey CC to provide evidence of where school places are needed in the county. Plans should then be made by Surrey CC to shore up schools in those areas.
Berkeley Homes no doubt bought Lodge Farm Field at a knock down rate as it is agricultural land in Greenbelt. I undetstand lots if people want a new school, who wouldn’t? To use the school as a lure to get planning permission by greedy developers is just wrong. Why don’t they seek out a site which will get planning permission, why go for an agricultural site in Greenbelt?


Well said Squash!

Ben L

Thanks Squash, very informative and I agree, very well said.


I reckon Berkeley Homes are set to make upto £200 million from the sale of these homes, how much does a new school actually cost? These developers are no better than travellers who buy cheap agricultural land and illegally build chalets.Shame that Sir Paul Beresford attacks such travellers but supports wealthy developers who are intent, albeit legally, on doing the same thing.

Sandra C

Very eloquently put Squash! I think a lot of people who are supporting the school are not fully aware of all the facts and really should take time to find out the big picture.

Nicola R

Is it true that the farm site would be built in anyway as it has been earmarked for development? If that is the case we might as well get a new school and houses rather than just houses?

There is an allocation for 30 houses in Effingham Parish Council’s draft plan, presumably being the type of homes Effingham actually needs. A slight difference to 300 houses and THE biggest school in Surrey.

Bo J

Thanks Squash for letting us know about the approaching deadline. I was not aware that comments could still be made, but have now voiced my objection to the destruction of our greenbelt that so many seem happy to destroy.

Julia D

Yes Nicola R, between houses and a new school which would have the same footprint as the EPC proposal, the school is a much better use of the land. Traffic need not go beyond Effingham Common Road, & new paths on the former school site to give Manor House girls and St Lawrence pupils safe routes to school. It would also release the playing field near Little Bookham church for much needed flood relief measures so that the paths the children use would stay dry and the residents in Water Lane won’t face regular flooding.Adding 2 extra forms per year group will not make the Howard the biggest school in Surrey; it would make it the same size as a number of schools including George Abbot!

Keith F

Squash, you should be careful describing Berkeley Homes as “no better than travellers.”  Why?  You don’t know that Tony Pidgeley, the Chairman of Berkeley Group, could object to that description as he was adopted via Barnados by a family of travellers.

Mary M

The difference between George Abbot and The Howard is that George Abbot is in the city of Guildford, where you would expect to find a huge school whereas The Howard is in a village. Although the roads and paths around the school may be improved the builders have no responsibility to improve the roads in Bookham, Fetcham, Horsley etc. There is no doubt that these roads will become more congested by the increase in traffic both going in and out of Effingham. 20 years ago I chose to live in a village which is turning into the sprawling outskirts of Leatherhead.

Julia D

Schools are sized to meet the needs of the area, Mary. I only mentioned George Abbott because it is the next secondary school along so most people know it, and to point out that 10 form entry secondary schools are not new to Surrey. The vast majority of children at the Howard live within easy walking and cycling distance of it, and the majority do. Improving the paths around the school will encourage more to do so, as well as enabling that choice for around 300 girls at Manor House who currently have to come by car. Even if the school stays the same size, it needs rebuilding anyway so moving it is the right thing to do.

Annabelle S

I think the main issue that people have are the new homes being built, without having adequate infrastructure in place to deal with all that comes with the build.

If it was literally just a matter of the build of a new more spacious school on the new site, then I’m sure that everyone would be thrilled – even those who seem to insist that the school as it is, does not need anything, but a little bit of upgrading.

Times change, which not many of us want or like, but needs must.

Mary M

Schools do not need to be sized to meet the needs of the area. What is wrong with having another school built in Cobham or Horsley. There are plenty of green belt sites in both those villages which can be swallowed up by developers. As Squash wrote in an earlier post, the children applying to get into The Howard from feeder schools are getting in, so where is the need for a bigger school?
Moving the school is not the right thing to do but the most profitable for Berkley Homes and The Howard of Effingham Acadamy with no consideration for the people of Effingham who will have to put up with building work, road closures and noise for months if not years.


Keith F, I don’t know anything about anyone at Berkeley Homes! Our MP stood up and attacked the actions of travellers and said that they shouldn’t”t be allowed to change the use of the Greenbelt, yet he seems to support very wealthy developers doing the same thing.Julia D, you seem very confused. Berkeley Homes want planning to build 258 houses and a 2,000 place school on Lodge Farm Field .Effingham Parish Council have suggested upto 30 houses may be built on Lodge Farm Field. How is that the same footprint?As to your comments about footpaths through the old school site, there will be a housing estate there and there will be houses on the field you think will provide flood relief. If the largest cohort of pupils is still to come from Mole Valley, why would they go via Effingham Common Road? Why will more suddenly walk or cycle when there will be more school traffic as more childten will be going to a bigger school and much more traffic from the 300 new houses. This will make cycling even more dangerous. The new cycle paths run in front of the school, what about the journeys upto this point?

John D

The problem is simple, children need schools but in The Bookham and Effingham area the infrastructure to support such a large school and a big increase in housing cannot support it. Try getting out of Bookham after 8:15am the whole area is affected.

1 thought on “Berkeley Homes/Howard of Effingham Planning Application”

  1. I understand the comments regarding upgrading of the school but as others have said this can be done on the existing site. Destroying a village and adding substantial further congestion to a road that is already a bottleneck is not sustainable.
    The additional places are not required. Once again in 2015/16 HoE has met demand from every parent that required a place and lived within catchment (regardless of preference) plus an additional 11 children who did not meet any of the admissions criteria or live within catchment. This is according to SCC own published information on their website. Similarly HoE is increasingly less attractive to parents who are now choosing other local options (The Free School at Cobham is more oversubscribed, as is The Ashcombe, Priory, George Abbot – just about every other local school that competes with HoE catchment. (When I say over subscribed I mean by applications from outside of their catchment / admissions criteria ) There is no justification for a new expanded school based on parental choice, or demand that could support ‘Exceptional circumstances,’ and the fact remains that this site, with the exception of a small area of Previously Developed Land on the far western corner, is inappropriate development within Green Belt according to both paragraph 89 of the NPPF and Strategic Policy RE3, of the current Local Plan. The land is also susceptible to groundwater flooding, is not supported by roads and public transport infrastructure, and will not deliver the mix of affordable housing that local people (and I mean Effingham and beyond) require. It will be a complete travesty if the proposal is accepted and I would urge all local people to oppose it by writing to the case officer here:

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