Berkeley homes could be granted planning permission for 425 new homes despite many unresolved access issues and no affordable housing policy being in place for the site
The original application proposed 425 houses and flats including affordable homes and associated works, and new access points onto Alfold Road and Knowle Lane.
However, documents released of a meeting between Waverley and the developer’s advisors on July 9 include comments made by Barry Lomax, planning officer of Waverley Borough Council.
The report reads: “BL states that there is no affordable housing policy for this site but as long as we comply with the policy which requires the provision of some affordable housing there are no grounds for a refusal.”
Mr Lomax declined to comment on what he said at the meeting.
The local plan has no specific policy for the delivery of affordable housing in locations such as the Berkeley Homes site. Specifically, there is no threshold or percentage requirement for affordable housing on sites outside of settlements, a report prepared by town planners states.
Patrick Haveron, a former Waverley borough councillor, said: “This scheme is financially unviable, not for the affordable housing to drop from 40% to 30% that the community needs, nor for the amount of money the landowner is being ‘enticed’ with at £15m.
“On a gross of £140m, Berkeley should be taking a view on their £28m profit in providing maximum contributions towards affordable housing and community benefits.
“Waverley will never achieve their objectively assessed housing need, social housing, if developments do not contribute fairly to such need.”
Berkeley says this new development was not just about affordable housing.
A spokesman said: “Our plan is much more than just housing. Our aim is to create a sustainable new neighbourhood. It will provide over £10m of investment in infrastructure, including local road improvements, schools and community facilities and help generate an annual spend of over £3m in local shops and services.
“Our scheme has been developed through extensive consultation with the community, local authority and other key stakeholders and we are pleased it is being recommended for approval by the professional planning officers.
“Our plans will provide 425 new homes, including 128 which will be provided as affordable homes for local people.
“There is major need for new housing in Cranleigh and in the borough and we believe the land south of Stocklund Square is the most sustainable opportunity in Cranleigh.
“It will also help to reduce development pressure to release other sites in less sustainable locations.”
There were also objections from the Environment Agency and locals about the site being on a notorious flood plain.
Liz Townsend, who has lived in the village for several years, said: “We are concerned about two things, Berkeley Homes’ immovable stance on why they do not need to consult the emergency services with regards to drafting a flood emergency plan, and why the lead flood authority for flooding, Surrey County Council, has not yet made a comment on the history and risk to life of our flooded roads.
“Berkeley Homes are on record as stating the county was consulted as part of the preparation of their Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) , but we cannot find evidence of Surrey’s comments and they failed to publish them in their original FRA, which they now acknowledge.
“If WBC officers neglect to pay regard to the importance of seeking reassurances from these two consultees they will be playing fast and loose with the safety of future residents.”
Planning officers are recommending approval and granted permission at the meeting, despite a number of issues.
Waverley’s joint planning committee meets on Tuesday (October 29) at 7pm in the council chamber in Godalming to decide on the Berkeley Homes application.