On Tuesday 30 October the GBC Executive Committee Meeting voted for making a bid to gain government ‘Garden Village’ status for former Wisley Airfield (SIte A35 in the Local Plan).
Matt Furniss Deputy Leader, stated, that if this status is secured it will not only bring in funds but allow the Council to stipulate guidelines on the style of development. This is important as the previous planning application for development at Wisley had not been acceptable and had been refused.
Not all the committee spoke in favour and Cllr Colin Cross, Ockham and Wisley and Cllr David Reeve, Clandon and Horsley, voiced their opinions against the bid and on the controversial timing of the report being issued at the last minute. They were also disappointed by Cllr Reeves’ decision not to call in the bid to the Overview & Scrutiny committee.
Read more at Guildford Dragon.
Quote from the GBC Director of Planning and Regeneration report:
The Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government (MHCLG) has published a new Prospectus for their Garden Communities Programmes requesting submission of bids for ambitious, locally led garden villages. The emerging Local Plan is in its advanced stages of preparation and now carries considerable weight. The Local Plan includes a number of strategic sites, of which a new settlement at the former Wisley Airfield (site allocation policy A35) is one.
Given the stage of the Local Plan and the proposals for the new settlement at Wisley Airfield, which aligns with the garden village principles, it is considered appropriate to submit a bid as part of this round of garden village bids. Securing Wisley Airfield garden village (WAGV) status would enable increased funding opportunities and set a high benchmark for design quality for future development. The deadline for submission of bids is 9 November 2018.
Read the GBC report here.
The decision to dismiss the Wisley planning appeal is very welcome. However, the proposal to establish a new settlement at the former Wisley airfield does not end here. The new settlement remains within the submission version of the Guildford Local Plan as Policy A35.
Following the Secretary of State's decision on Wisley airfield, GBC have recently issued a new Position Statement on the Wisley airfield development, setting out their arguments to the examiner as to why Site Policy A35 should remain within the Local Plan. Click here to view a copy.
Policy A35 is very similar to WPIL's outline planning application, but with additional fields to the south of the runway being added, increasing the land area of potential development. The purpose of the Local Plan is to set out an overall framework for development. If Policy A35 remains within the approved local plan, then a future planning application based upon this policy is likely to receive GBC's planning consent.
EHPC have submitted a Statement to the inspector, Mr Bore, arguing that inclusion of Policy A35 within the local plan is unsound. Click here for copy. Many of the reasons we cited were similar to the arguments used by the appeal inspector and the Secretary of State in dismissing the WPIL appeal. This is obviously encouraging. However, the criteria used by Mr Bore in determining soundness are not precisely the same as those of the appeal inspector nor the Secretary of State, so nothing can be taken for granted.
The Secretary of State's decision is to dismiss the Wisley Appeal.
With reference to the appeal made by Wisley Property Investments against the decision by GBC to refuse the application for planning permission for phased development at Wisley Airfield, Hatch Lane, Ockham. Application ref: 15/P/00012:
This appeal was considered by an Inspector at a Public Inquiry September - October 2017. The Inspector recommended that the appeal be dismissed. This appeal was recovered for the Secretary of State's determination and as of 13 June 2018 the Secretary of State agrees with the Inspector’s conclusions and agrees with his recommendation and has decided to dismiss the appeal and refuse planning permission.
However the site known as A35 remains in the Guildford Borough Council's Local Plan as a potential development site and as such could be the subject of further planning applications.