The hearing by the Planning Inspector of an Appeal against the issuing of an Enforcement Notice regarding “Land at Plot D, Land to east of Wanborough Woods, Westwood Lane, Wanborough, Guildford GU3 2JN” has been postponed for a second time.

If anyone witnesses any importation of waste into any of the fields at Wanborough under threat, please report this to the Environment Agency incident hotline number – 0800 807060 - and quote the reference number 1920237. If you can provide any information such as times & registration plates that would be most helpful.

While we have understandably been focused on the damage being done to Wanborough Fields (see article), the current trend of selling off areas of agricultural land or woodland and parcelling them up into small plots for onward marketing is affecting other areas within our community.

Planning application 19/P/00167, which was an outline application to consider access for change of use and creation of up to a total of eleven dwelling houses at Wanborough Business Centre, having been refused by GBC, subsequently went to Appeal [APP/Y3615/W/19/3240419]. The Planning Inspectorate dismissed the Appeal on the grounds that would be “inappropriate development in the Green Belt”.


GBC has refused an application [20/P/00113] for a Certificate of Lawfulness for the sinking of a borehole by the owner of one of the plots in the AGLV part of the larger field at Wanborough Fields.

Such a Certificate would have meant the applicant did not need to apply for planning permission. We now wait to see whether planning permission is sought. 

Three sites for 295 homes and a new 2,000-pupil school at Effingham have been granted planning permission two years after the scheme was rejected by Guildford Borough Council. The school’s application to demolish its current site on Lower Road and rebuild on Effingham Lodge Farm was originally refused in March 2016. An appeal led to a public inquiry, held between May 16 and June 2 2017.

Normandy Action Group is pleased that the council has responded to residents' concerns that the evidence brought forward to justify 1,100 homes on Site A46 was incorrect, removing the site from the Local Plan; Site A47 (an SNCI) has gone too.

As a consequence of the identification of Normandy as a 'strategic site' in the revised draft Guildford Local Plan, proposed for 1,100 new homes, a school and retail developments and more, Normandy Action group is arranging a public meeting to be held in Normandy Village Hall at 7.30pm on Tuesday 3 May 2016.

Residents that wrote to object to the second planning application [15/P/01670] have been notified recently by letter from Guildford Borough Council dated 14 April 2016 that an appeal [PINS Ref: APP/W/Y3615/W/16/3146286] has been lodged against Guildford Borough Council's refusal of planning permission. The appeal commenced 11 April 2016 and comments should be submitted by 16 May 2016 to The Planning Inspectorate, 3/05 Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS16PN  or by email to the PINS case officer Paul Puddy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In both instances, quote ref APP/W/Y3615/W/16/3146286 and 3 copies of any documents are requested.

5 days before the revised draft Local Plan was published on 4 April 2016, a new application [16/P/00649] for outline permission for 30 homes on the land to the rear of Fiddlers, 140 Glaziers Lane was submitted to Guildford Borough Council [GBC] planning department. The land lies adjacent to the public right of way that runs over the fields between Glaziers Lane and Westwood Lane.

7 April 2016

For immediate release:

Revised draft Guildford Local Plan impact on Normandy and Flexford

Chairman of Normandy Action Group, Roger Shapley commented

"Normandy Action Group is very disappointed that GBC has chosen to extract 72.4 hectares of agricultural land farmed for crops over decades and used to pasture livestock to be concreted over. While we appreciate the county council need for new school places, such provision should not be used as an excuse by Guildford Borough Council to remove this land from the Green Belt. A "developer-led" proposal means not just a school but thousands of houses for private profit. 

With the increasing urbanisation of Ash & Tongham, the Green Belt in Normandy plays a vital role in preventing urban sprawl between Guildford and Aldershot and this proposal does completely the opposite. The local infrastructure is already under strain with local flooding issues and poor sewerage services as Normandy and Flexford settlements are on the Hogs Back spring line. Doubling the size of the community will not solve these problems but likely make them worse. Developers cannot develop away the local terrain and its dominant drainage issues. 

The A323 is already at capacity at rush hour and any accident on the A31 or A3 in the Guildford stretch sees thousands of car journeys diverted down our D class roads, bringing the whole area to a standstill. 3,000 new homes implies approximately 4,750 more cars. The Surrey County Council OGSTAR traffic simulation Scenario 7 published in January 2014 shows that if all houses are built our local roads will exceed their design capacity almost continuously. Residents will be lucky to make it out of their font driveway in a car anytime. 

Our community is within the important restricted zone of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area. Introducing 1,000 school children daily and up to 3, 000 new residents with pet dogs and cats does not bode well for the rare bird species on this European protected habitat.

The community has yet to digest the full implications of this proposal and voice their response."

The revised draft Guildford Local Plan proposes 1,100 new dwellings and a 1,000-place secondary school to be built on 72.4 hectares of Green Belt land between Flexford and Normandy settlements. It is framed as a "developer-led" proposal, implying a major house builder is pressing its commercial interests on the council.

Three days after fire crews damped down the initial destructive fire, strong winds re-energised the embers to increase the habitat damage and loss of rare species.

Currently, the temporary planning permission for named occupants [13/P/00447] expired on 31 March 2015. A new planning application [15/P/00521] has been submitted for the Palm House Nurseries traveller and Gypsy pitches site to become permanent. 

It is noted that the largest areas of industrial brownfield land within the borough are near to or adjacent to the River Wey, particularly in the Walnut Tree Close area and in the Slyfield industrial area. These areas could support much more housing than the relatively small numbers indicated in the policy on the town centre, under a town centre regeneration scheme. This would have huge benefits for the community as a whole since relatively run down areas would be subject to regeneration, the river banks would be cleaner and more attractive.

It is important for the town as a whole that the run-down Walnut Tree Close area is used for well-designed housing, as indicated by the Master Vision document by Allies and Morrison. It is important that the desire for Green and Blue infrastructure does not become an excuse for preventing regeneration of Walnut Tree Close. This policy should be explicitly amended to permit construction of a regeneration zone on the brownfield areas surrounding the river in the middle of the town.

Congestion is a widely recognised factor in the local area of Guildford, and this is a major factor in the public response to the proposed housing numbers, which represent approximately a 25% increase in housing numbers in a borough that is already profoundly congested. The population recognises that to increase the population by this level within the existing transport provision is not feasible, and this informs much of the public response to the proposed level of housing accommodation.

As noted above transport infrastructure is already overstretched and there is nothing in Policy 18 to rectify this.

There is in reality no policy on infrastructure. The housing proposals in the Plan have been put forward with no serious plan to deal with the present defects in infrastructure let alone the increased pressures that would be put on infrastructure by the new houses. Roads are already unable to deal with the weight of traffic particularly in the town centre and areas around schools. Schools themselves are full and will clearly be unable to cope with the increased number of children requiring education if all the new homes proposed are built. Drainage is already a problem with flooding a regular occurrence and this will only be worse if the Green Belt is concreted over.

The settlement of Normandy lies on a spring line where even new housing at the junction of Glaziers Lane and Guildford Road finds sewage backing up into its toilets after a heavy rain storm. Wyke School is full so that new arrivals in the village have to be sent many miles to find their education and the Normandy surgery list is effectively full and local residents often find themselves sent to the alternative Fairlands Medical Centre 2 miles by bus or car for treatment. The train service from Flexford Station is acceptable but the car park is small and would be overwhelmed by all the extra cars that would be generated by the proposed development in the ‘safeguarded’ land.

This policy is based on the settlement hierarchy which is flawed and as noted above has been amended without attention being drawn to the changes.

The policy is assuming there will be proposals from developers to build retail, leisure and office space in the villages and the Green Belt - “Retail, leisure and office development proposals over 500sqm (gross) outside of local and district centres on sites not allocated in the local plan must be supported by an impact assessment.” This is unacceptable development out of keeping with most of the 24 villages in the borough and the paragraph should be withdrawn from the policy.

There is no definition of the Guildford town centre and the vision of enhancing retail experience is contrary to likely economic trends whereby retail will be increasingly based on the Internet. The policy needs to adopt the report from Allies and Morrison in their master vision for the town centre.

The development of the Pirbright Institute as an international conference centre with leisure facilities and accommodation begs the question of its purpose. The site is situated in the Green Belt based on the historical requirements of bio security. These failed in September 2007 and foot and mouth disease broke out in the fields of livelstock in neighbouring communities. The current planning application is backed by a multi-million pound investment injection from government. It is proposed that the development of this site as an international conference centre increase the risk of further bio-hazard for the communities of Worplesdon and Normandy wards.

This policy should propose appropriate recognition of conference and accommodation facilities both at the Pirbright Institute and on the University of Surrey campus (new Vetrinary College) that increase the risk of bio-hazard and expressly exclude them from the “new and improved accommodation and conference facilities” that the council should be supporting in its policy

This Corporate Plan referred to in this policy has not been the subject of public scrutiny. With very full employment in the Borough the need for economic development should be related closely to increase in population otherwise it will lead to increased pressure on the infrastructure and inappropriate development in the Green Belt. New employment sites in the Green Belt should not be considered until urban brown field sites have been utilised.

Henley Business Park, Normandy is sited less than 400m from the TBHSPA SSSI. It has been re-developed in the last 5 years to become a site of large distribution facilities serviced by 44 tonne articulated HGVs. There is the potential for significant rises in the CO2, NO, NO2 and particulate emissions produced by the vehicles based here and visiting businesses here, threatening the protected species on the SSSI. These businesses are low density employment and employ few if any local people from the settlements of Normandy and Flexford. There is no public bus service past this site and access for employees is mostly by private car.

This policy refers only to floor area and makes no reference to the type and economic quality of organisations that might be attracted to this site. Currently 30% of the floor space is empty. In the long run of this plan period the ecological damage potential of this site is great but unpredicted and the economic viability is unassessed. This policy should refer to both parameters and give a measurable threshold for air pollution components (see above) that should a) be measured perpetually and b) be enforceable and give a measurable threshold for a) occupancy based on proportion of floor area occupied over a 12 month period and b) gross number of employees over a 12 month period. Where such thresholds are not met, the site should be put forward for other non-commercial options that do not damage the ecological requirements of the immediately adjacent TBHSPA SSSI.

This policy proposes ‘We will support development that recognises, protects and enhances the borough’s distinctive heritage and landscape assets, character and their settings, and will seek to ensure that it makes a positive contribution.’. The policy presupposes development that will potentially damage heritage, landscape and character. The policy should be re-submitted with this whole sentence removed.

Presenting future documents that cannot be reviewed in this consultation that will only ‘illustrate’ the provision of such infrastructure as SANG is unacceptable. The proximity of Ash and Tongham to the TBHSPA SSSI makes it imperative that land proposed as Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace should be identified within a 5 km radius of any major housing development and suitably designated by Natural England while subject of a suitable planning application for change of use in advance of any proposals for ‘hard’ infrastructure delivery. Furthermore, in line with recent developments in case law, “exceptional circumstances” must be brought forward in advance of proposing any land to be subject to a new boundary that inserts it into the Green Belt. Such evidence is not contained in this ‘Sites and Policies’ document and therefore this policy is null and void and should be re-thought and if necessary removed.

Surrey County Council voted unanimously to protect the Green Belt but although the draft Plan states that `we will continue to protect the metropolitan Green Belt the policies in the Plan itself do exactly the opposite.

The Policy's treatment of Normandy and Flexford is excessive. It firstly treats both as one village, when historically the area has always been composed of five dispersed hamlets and to this day Flexford and Normandy are clearly separated by open fields; the open land in the hamlet of Wyke to the west helps to prevent both Normandy and Flexford merging with Ash; the hamlet of Willey Green in the east prevents Normandy merging with Wood Street. Having inappropriately treated all as part of one village, the Plan proposes to ‘safeguard’ the Grade 3A agricultural land between the settlements. The result of the draft Plan is to propose a total in excess of 1,000 and up to 2,000 new homes at an indeterminate point in and beyond the plan period that will totally destroy the character of both settlements and in the interim blighting the land.

Without drawing any attention to the fact, the revised Green Belt Purposes Assessment has blatantly manipulated the named land areas that contribute to the score for ‘contribution to the Green Belt’ for all of the land proposed to be ‘safeguarded’. There seems to have been no communication about this despite the critical effect this downgrading will have in leading to likelihood of development. For example the land parcel H12, that contains the proposed ‘safeguarded’ land, has had its contribution to preventing the ‘merging of Ash, Normandy and Flexford’ downgraded to preventing the ‘merging of the settlements of Wyke, Normandy and Flexford’ despite the fact that Wyke is not included in the Settlement Hierarchy as its openness defies the establishment of a settlement boundary, and removing any mention of the Ash & Tongham urban area whose boundary is adjacent to the open land of Wyke where the land of Wyke prevents the merging of Normandy and Flexford with the increasingly urbanised Ash and Ash Vale.

The policy should not inset any village nor safeguard any land from the Green Beit unless and until it is shown to be exceptionally necessary to meet housing needs after first developing brown field sites. There should be a specific commitment by GBC to protect the Green Belt’s contribution to the five purposes set out in NPPF 80 many of which are met by the sites in Normandy and Flexford.

The draft plan states that when reviewing the villages presently washed over by the Green Belt `National Planning Policy states that only those villages whose open character make an important contribution to the openness of the Green Belt should be included in the Green Belt'. This is contrary to NPPF with a view to maximising development. NPPF 83 and 84 are permissive allowing review of boundaries and do not prescribe requirement to do so.

The ability to change the boundary of the Green Belt to ‘safeguard’ land is disputed. The NPPF is advisory, not the law. “Exceptional circumstances” must be brought forward in order to propose adding land to or removing land from the Green Belt. Where “exceptional circumstances” might be established satisfactorily, the statement “Land is excluded from the Green Belt at Fairlands, Send Marsh, Normandy and Flexford and safeguarded to meet longer term development needs. These sites can only be considered for development through a Local Plan review” should be revised with the second sentence as follows “These sites can only be considered for development at the end of the current plan period (2031) through a Local Plan review”, preserving the land for continuing agricultural use and protecting from planning ‘blight’ while sitting in the land bank of a major house biuilder.

The Plan states that `those villages that do not make an important contribution to the openness of the Green Belt should instead be inset from the Green Belt, removing the Green Beit status'. This is a distortion of NPPF 85 which sets out five ways boundaries should be defined. There is no National Policy requirement to inset settlements from the Green Belt. Defensible boundaries are required which are likely to be permanent. The draft Plan states that `in accordance with National Policy Green Belt boundaries need to follow defensible lines that are easily recognisable and likely to be permanent. This includes woodlands and hedgerow'. Trees and hedgerows are, however, not permanent particularly with the diseases currently attacking trees in Surrey and the risk that developers will simply rip out hedgerows and ignore tree preservation orders so that the supposedly permanent boundaries disappear.

New building in villages should be confined within the existing settlement boundaries as modified only by historic changes in the built area without compromising existing density.

AONB is the equivalent of a National Park. This policy should contain a statement of support for the Surrey Hills Management Board proposals to bring land previously designated as AGLV into the Surrey Hills AONB, recognising the established land management principles and protections.

This policy is vague and unenforceable. The Corporate Plan within which this Local Plan is couched has never been subject to public scrutiny or agreement and commits the council to a capital investment programme in commercial property for indeterminate future income streams in an already falling market. This money would have been better invested in a programme of sustainable and renewable energy sources for the villages dispersed in the borough’s Green Belt. The policy wording should commit to a timed and council-funded programme of renewable energy sources in rural villages based on digesters, reducing the need to collect recyclable domestic and green waste using municipal waste vehicles powered by fossil fuels. These should form the basis of micro-CHP schemes in villages.

The policy is vague and unenforceable. Neither should it be a vehicle to attempt to implement a climate change response. In the first 5 years of this plan, it is unlikely that residents shall be forced from their cars in droves. The policy is unlikely to deliver more walking to local amenities simply because in many of the Green Belt villages the communities and their supporting services are dispersed, that’s why they are in the Green Belt. Designing out garages and car parking spaces will result in on-road parking, leading to unsafe roads and unsafe areas around new housing. All references in this policy that seek to enforce walking should be removed as that is enforcing change by planners’ ‘dictat’, not by consent.

The Plan suggests that rural exception schemes should be used to grant planning permission in the Green Belt outside settlement boundaries for market housing. This would be a breach of NPPF 89 which stipulates that a local planning authority should regard the construction of new buildings as `inappropriate in the Green Belt. New market housing does not meet the criteria and should be prohibited as confirmed by recent planning decisions in court.

The Secretary of State has made it clear that traveller sites are not appropriate in the Green Belt. In the Sustainability Appraisal, proposed Sites 92, 93 and 94 are shown to be significant distances from local services and without the existing settlement boundary. A proposal to move the settlement boundary to include or become adjacent to these sites or inset these sites requires “exceptional circumstances” to be proved. Furthermore, proposed government changes to the planning requirements surrounding such pitches (existing or not) in consultation, shall require pitches to be provided for Gypsies that continue to travel and are not seeking permanent residence, therefore it is not possible to claim in this policy that such homes are secured as affordable in perpetuity and this phrase should be removed from the policy in relation to Gypsy and traveller pitches.

There is a need for more affordable homes for key workers, local young people and elderly disadvantaged groups but the policy set out in the Plan will not achieve this purpose. The capacity to deliver these in the plan period is distorted by the presence of students in market housing that should be available in the affordable sector due to the University of Surrey failing to build over 2,000 homes for which it has existing permissions, forcing students to rent off campus.

It is stated that increasing the supply of housing will make housing more affordable, but given the demand for houses in the area, there is no reason to suppose that more houses built on more land will reduce prices and make them more affordable for key workers, rather than drawing in commuters. GBC has plenty of land of its own to build affordable homes if it wished and has funds that it could use for this purpose rather than investing in commercial property. There is confusion between `need' which should be met and `demand' which in proximity to London is limitless.

The requirement is to meet housing ‘need’ not to meet the SHMA total unadjusted for constraints. The policy states ‘new residential development is required to deliver a wide choice of homes and meet a range of housing needs as set out in the latest strategic housing market assessment’. The SHMA is defective; consequentially Policy 3 objectives so derived are flawed.

The policy is based on the need to provide 13,040 homes. This is flawed for the following reasons:

  1. it is not based on the latest ONS figures that are the basis for population projections from which the OAN is derived;
  2. it uses a 5 year trend when a 10 year period is more appropriate and accurate;
  3. it is not subject to the constraints imposed by the fact that 89% of the borough is Green Belt and inadequate infrastructure;
  4. it does not reflect the latest Government policy on re-use of office buildings for residential;
  5. it does not require brown field sites to be used first;
  6. it does not reflect Government policy to reduce international migration which accounts for over 50% of the projected population growth;
  7. it fails to require Surrey University to house its own students (if the university built out the land on which it already has planning permission for student accommodation, it would house not only the future growth of student numbers but many of the students occupying properties in Guildford which could therefore be released for affordable housing);
  8. it proposes ‘insetting’ 16 out of 24 villages in the Borough and identifying a few very large areas of land to be ‘safeguarded’ without presenting the ‘very special circumstances’ required in order that development can take place on the Green Belt

The policy states that development applications will be approved wherever possible' regardless of sustainability. NPPF 14 notes that policies within the framework may require development to be restricted. The draft Plan should therefore not imply that development applications will be approved whatever their merits. Policy 1 fails to distinguish between presumption in favour of sustainable development and a presumption in favour of any development at all. Of the 12 core principles set out in NPPF 17, Policy 1 seems to be disregarding at least 7 of these. These core principles must be taken into account in order to meet the requirement to comply with NPPF 17.

Location: North Wyke Farm, Guildford Road, Wyke, Normandy Guildford GU3 2AN

Ref: APP/Y3615/W/15/3002308

Appeal Open Date: 8 April 2015

Guildford Borough Council today (9 April 2015) informed residents that had commented on the initial planning application 14/P/00779 that the applicant had lodged an appeal.  The appeal will be heard in public by a Planning Inspector visiting the district. Usually, such examinations in public are held at the council offices at Millmead in the main council chamber.  No date for the appeal has been fixed.

The architects for the proposal hosted a public consultation event at Normandy Village Hall on 24 March 2015.

A representation of one possible configuration of the site, showed 43 dwellings of which 8 were 4-bedroom houses, 16 were affordable houses and the remainder a mix of 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom semi-detached and terraced housing, each with 2 car parking spaces. An access road was proposed directly onto Glaziers Lane.

The site drawing displayed in the consultation appeared to be the western half of an area of land initially identified in the draft Local Plan Strategic Housing Land Area Assessment [SHLAA] document of December 2013 (Site 2010: Land between Glaziers Lane and Strawberry Farm) and assessed as capable of supporting 105 dwellings of mixed type but withdrawn from the second draft Local Plan.

Wednesday the 17th - Published by Normandy Action Group, 166 Glaziers Lane, Guildford GU3 2EB - with thanks to Keith Witham, Surrey County Councillor - Hostgator Coupon Template