This article, written by NAG chairman Mike Aaronson, was first published in the Guildford Dragon on 15 September 2020.

The recent White Paper on reforming the planning system, although a mixed blessing, includes a welcome emphasis on “protection” for green belt and other sensitive landscapes.

But it fails to address planning enforcement. There is no point in having a planning system if it can be flouted with impunity. Would-be developers need to understand that if they break the rules they will be penalised, and swiftly.

There is still no news about the public consultation regarding the Ash Ranges. In January 2020, the MoD published a “Communications Plan for the Proposed New Aldershot & District Military Lands Byelaws”, which stated that public consultation would start in April. A subsequent update said that this had been delayed, although both documents now appear to have disappeared from the web. In the meantime there is a Petition calling for there to be no reduction in public access to the ranges, which has already attracted nearly 11,500 signatures.

The most recent success enjoyed by local residents has been the refusal by GBC’s Planning Committee on 17 June 2020 of the application 19/P/01980 for a horticultural business in the smaller field just to the right of the road before the bend. This went to the Committee in February because over 20 objections were received (in fact 26, all strongly objecting).

The land at Wanborough Fields is the large open field running down from the Hog’s Back to Westwood Lane and the smaller field to the right just before the first sharp bend to the left coming from Normandy. The upper half of this land is in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the lower half is designated an Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV). As long ago as 2013 it was recommended that the AONB boundary be changed to include the AGLV. This has dragged on and on, but earlier this year we were promised that Natural England, who would be responsible for any review, were shortly to start on it.

Less positively, the smaller field of Wanborough Fields to the right before the bend in Westwood Lane continues to be blighted by the various structures that were erected not long after the plots were sold and whose owners have been directed to take them down.

Saturday the 26th - Published by Normandy Action Group, 166 Glaziers Lane, Guildford GU3 2EB - with thanks to Keith Witham, Surrey County Councillor - Hostgator Coupon Template