Since this article was published we have provided a comment for an article on the same subject in the Guildford Dragon, here. Now read on!

In recent months local residents have watched with dismay as the once pristine field in the Area of Great Landscape Value to the right of Westwood Lane as it bends left at Wanborough Fields has seen extensive offloading of ballast, the erection of fencing, and the open storage of building materials, including containers. Aerial photos showing just some of the damage done can be seen here. Following determined lobbying by residents and local Councillors alike Guildford Borough Council (GBC) has finally issued an Enforcement Notice and a Stop Notice on the owners of the plot in question and their agents.

 The key elements of the Enforcement Notice are that the owners must:

i) Take down all the fencing on the Land and remove it from the Land.
ii) Take up and remove from the Land any and all material laid to create a hard surface.
iii) Remove from the land any rubble, waste, debris or other materials and rubbish resulting from compliance with steps i) and ii).
iv) Cease the use of the land for storage purposes including but not limited to the storage of building materials, pipes, liquid containers, liquid tanks and shipping containers and remove all items being stored on the Land.
v) Reseed the land with grass seed and restore the Land to its condition prior to when the breach of planning control took place.    

The owners have until 24 October to appeal against this Notice, failing which they must carry out the actions by 24 December. In the meantime the Stop Notice requires them to cease any further activity of this nature on the site.

This is commendably robust language but the history of previous enforcement notices in this location shows that securing compliance can be very difficult. The Appeals process is lengthy and cumbersome and other buildings in the same field which have been subject to Enforcement for over a year are still standing. The enforcement function in GBC is also woefully under-resourced; there are just 3 case officers dealing with 300 enforcement cases in the Borough, of which 29 are in Wanborough Fields. The moral is that the fight to preserve the integrity of this special landscape will be a long and a hard one, and will be highly dependent on the vigilance and determination of local residents.


Saturday the 18th - Published by Normandy Action Group, 166 Glaziers Lane, Guildford GU3 2EB - with thanks to Keith Witham, Surrey County Councillor - Hostgator Coupon Template