Judicial Review of Wisley Airfield development to be applied for

An Extraordinary meeting of Ockham Parish Council (OPC) was held on 1 July and was attended by members of VAWNT and WAG and local residents. The purpose was to confirm if a Judicial Review (JR) was viable. Thanks to the generosity of residents, the costs of the important first steps of that JR can now be met. OPC therefore decided they can proceed by instructing a specialist solicitor to apply to take the case to a JR in the High Court. 
If the court approves the case, within the next month, there will then be a hearing later in the year. The retained KC and expert witnesses are already lined up ready to take the case. Meanwhile, VAWNT and WAG will continue to fundraise for the next steps (see our previous updates for their bank account details if you still wish to donate).

Wisley – KC advises there is a case for a Judicial Review

Since the recent decision by the Planning Inspector to recommend the Wisley Airfield development by Taylor Wimpey, Villages Against Wisley New Town (VAWNT) and Wisley Action Group (WAG) have been busy. 

They have received formal advice from Richard Harwood KC about the grounds for a Judicial Review (JR).  They followed up with a lengthy discussion with him and their transport and ecology experts, in which the Inspector’s Decision was thoroughly reviewed. Together they have concluded there is a reasonable chance of successfully challenging this at a JR. 

The KC has advised that threequarters of challenges that are allowed to proceed to a JR have a positive outcome for the claimant. This is another compelling reason why plans to challenge the Decision are an investment in the future of our community.  The next step is to submit a case for approval and, if approved, it will be approximately six months before it gets to a court hearing. 

Fundraising is ongoing and critical as the JR application cannot go ahead without sufficient funding to take the case forward.  Time is of the essence so please donate asap as the case needs to be submitted by Friday 5 July. 

WAG have put their bank account details into the public domain, in order to accept donations:

Bank transfer to: Wisley Airfield Action Group 

Sort code: 20-35-35

Account: 10574287

Whilst they would prefer bank transfer, you can also donate through their Crowdfunding account (a fee is charged):  


Thank you for your continued support and to everyone who has already donated. This continues to be a mass community initiative against unsustainable development.  

Wisley Appeal Next Steps

A packed East Horsley village hall on Monday 10 June demonstrated the high level of local concern about the recent Planning Inspector’s decision to approve the Taylor Wimpey planning application for 1,730 houses on the former Wisley Airfield. Representatives from Villages Against Wisley New Town (VAWNT) and the Wisley Action Group (WAG) summarised the main points of the Inspector’s report and emphasised their surprise that such a decision could be made against all the evidence provided by their experts and the strong opposition of most of the local community. For example, evidence about the impacts of the development on traffic flow, wildlife and air quality were seemingly given little weight.

VAWNT and WAG are now considering whether there is a case for a Judicial Review of the legality of the decision and they are waiting to receive advice from their King’s Counsel – expected in the next few days. If there are strong enough grounds for a Judicial Review in the view of the King’s Counsel then an initial application would be made, which would be reviewed and a determination made whether the case should go to a final hearing.

The Inspector’s decision is final unless successfully challenged in the High Court on a point of law. Any challenge is not an opportunity to look at the merits of the case or to re-run the arguments. The Court’s role is to consider whether the decision was reached in a lawful manner.

Any application for a Judicial Review must be made by 5 July and needs substantial fundraising before then – estimated at £200,000. 

The fundraising is urgent and if individuals feel strongly that the development should continue to be opposed effectively, then VAWNT and WAG ask that you consider making even a small a donation.  They will send you their bank details if you email them at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Remember that the Taylor Wimpey development at Wisley is not the whole story. Two outline planning applications have also been submitted to build another 270 houses on the site, on behalf of two other developers (represented by Hallam Land and CBRE).

If WAG and VAWNT can’t raise the funds to pursue a Judicial Review then such a challenge will not be possible and may open the door to even more development.


Updated Timetable Published For The Wisley Airfield Public Inquiry

An updated timetable has now been published by the Planning Inspectorate for the Wisley Airfield public inquiry, a copy of which can be found attached HERE

Land at Wisley Airfield Update - APP/Y3615/W/23/3320175

At the Wisley inquiry this week the Rule 6 parties concluded their evidence and cross-examination. Representing East & West Horsley Parish Councils, Colin Smith, delivered his evidence in chief on Tuesday 17 October 2023 with a subsequent cross-examination two day's later from Taylor Wimpey's barrister, which lasted all morning. 
Having reached the midway point of the inquiry, seven witnesses for Taylor Wimpey will shortly be presenting their evidence over two weeks starting 31October 2023 to be cross-examined by the various Rule 6 parties lead by the WAG/OPC/RHS barrister, Richard Harwood KC, with the support of the Horsleys'  parish councils.

WISLEY APPEAL: Funding Request

There has been new public funding request issued from Wisley Action Group (WAG), Villages Against Wisley New Town (VAWNT), Ockham & Hatchford Residents Association (OHRA)  and Ockham Parish Council (OPC), to help support their costs of sustaining the appeal. See link for  Funding Request Letter

Wisley Appeal: Timetable Update

The planning appeal by Taylor Wimpey into the proposed development at Wisley Airfield began on Tuesday 26 September 2023 in the Baptist Church in Guildford. 

The first day of this public inquiry saw opening submissions from all the Rule 6 parties, including East and West Horsley Parish Councils delivered by our planning consultant, Colin Smith. Guildford Borough Council (GBC) and Surrey County Council made short submissions later that afternoon. 

The next two days saw traffic and transport evidence presented by John Russell of Transport Consultants, Motion Group, speaking on behalf of joint Rule 6 party comprising Wisley Action Group (WAG), Ockham Parish Council and RHS Wisley. He was subjected to over six hours of intense cross-examination by Taylor Wimpey’s barrister.

The public inquiry now has a break and continues on Tuesday 10 October 2023 in the GBC chamber in Millmead with the three remaining WAG witnesses giving their evidence: Dr Ben Marner on air quality, Andrew Baker on ecology and Richard Hall of Planning & Design Group on planning.    

Next will come the Horsleys evidence from our planning consultant, Colin Smith. This will probably be on the morning of Thursday 12 October although the precise timing depends on how long previous witnesses actually take.

We will be followed by the Send/Ripley team, then various residents speaking for Villages Against Wisley New Town (VAWNT) on Tuesday 17October. The subsequent day of Wednesday 18 October has been fixed for any members of the public who wish to speak.

The seven witnesses for Taylor Wimpey are expected to begin giving their evidence on Tuesday 31 October and will probably take up all of the subsequent two weeks, although precise timings have still to be announced. 

Closing of the public inquiry is scheduled for Tuesday 29 November 2023. 

Wisley ‘New Town’ Appeal Begins

The appeal into the planned development on the former Wisley Airfield began on 26 September. The appeal will sit for 24 days until 24 November.

The planning inspector will be hearing evidence from parties opposed to the development and from the appellant, Taylor Wimpey. East and West Horsley Parish Councils will be jointly presenting our own evidence, prepared with input from a planning consultant, in support of the case against the development. Our Proof of Evidence is available on the East Horsley Parish Council web site Proof of Evidence. Much of the discussion during the hearing is likely to be technical.  But on 18 October members of the public will be able to speak about the potential effect of the development on their community.

The public are able to attend the appeal as observers. The hearings are taking place at the Guildford Borough Council offices on Millmead. Alternatively, there is a live webcast of each day’s hearing.  The dates of sitting and the live stream options are provided on the GBC web site: Click here

Finally, Villages Against Wisley New Town is providing a regular update on the appeal to its mailing list. If you are not on this list already, you can contact them This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Update On Wisley Airfield Planning Appeal

The planning appeal by Taylor Wimpey into their proposed development at Wisley airfield starts on Tuesday 26 September 2023. For the first three days the appeal is held in the Guildford Baptist Church, thereafter in the GBC Council Chamber. All meetings are public.

East Horsely and West Horsley parish councils are a Joint Rule 6 party objecting to this development. Last week we submitted our Proof of Evidence, to be presented by our planning consultant, Colin Smith. Click HERE to view a copy.

Horsley residents might note the extensive traffic calming installations now proposed along six local roads around the site, including Long Reach and Old Lane.

The appeal runs until 24 November 2023 and will sit for a total of 24 days. 

Given this very lengthy timescale our parish councillors would appreciate any support from residents during the appeal. For example, by helping to monitor Taylor Wimpey’s witnesses and formulating questions for their cross-examination. Even a few half-days would help. Please contact me if you’d like more details.

There are three other Rule 6 parties opposing this development with us, including a joint team from Ockham Parish Council, WAG and RHS Wisley who have engaged a barrister who will call four specialist witnesses to give evidence on ecology, air quality, transport and planning issues. WAG have recently launched a new fund-raising to support their costs. Click HERE to view their letter.

Screenshot 2023 09 13 at 15.27.44

Wisley Airfield

Planning Appeal To Start In September

PLANS TO DEVELOP a new settlement at Wisley airfield will be decided by Planning Inspector, Cristina Downes, with the public inquiry due to start in Guildford on 26 September.

This spring Taylor Wimpey filed their planning appeal citing grounds of ‘non-determination’. Guildford Borough Council (GBC) still went ahead and held their own Planning Committee on 10 July when councillors voted unanimously (but hypothetically) to refuse the application.

East and West Horsley Parish Councils have again teamed up as a joint ‘Rule 6 party’ and have submitted our Proof of Evidence.

Three other Rule 6 parties are also objecting to the Taylor Wimpey appeal:

Ockham Parish Council, Wisley Action Group

(WAG) and RHS Wisley are jointly leading the Rule 6 objectors’ cause. They are represented by barrister Richard Harwood KC, who also led for WAG in the 2017 appeal. Their expert witnesses intend to address air quality issues, ecology, road traffic and planning matters.

Ripley Parish Council and Send Parish Council are another joint Rule 6 party. VAWNT (‘Villages Against Wisley New Town’) are the fourth Rule
6 objector, representing residents opposed to this development.

The appeal hearings are open to the public and will be held in the GBC Chamber, except for the first week when larger crowds are expected, with sessions to be held at the nearby Guildford Baptist Church. The inquiry is scheduled to close on 28 November.

Wisley Airfield Planning Application

Wisley Airfield Planning Application


A public meeting of the Guildford Borough Council planning committee was held last night to consider the development of the former Wisley airfield site.

It was held to confirm what decision would have been made if the application had not been the subject of an appeal.

The principle of the development of the site is supported by the local plan. However, officers recommended that the benefits of the Development Plan did not outweigh the harm.

The committee agreed that they would have resolved to refuse the planning application.

The full report can be viewed here