Judicial Review judgement handed down

2325 edited G

In the judgement from the preliminary hearing on 31 January, Mr Justice Dove ruled that the five claimants did not have the necessary standing to take Waverley Borough Council (WBC) to Judicial Review over management of the East Street / Brightwells development contract.

His reasoning was that a retendering of the scheme would not result in a development different to that currently proposed.

Click here to see full judgement

WBC  stated at the meeting in May 2016 that it was for the courts to decide upon the legality of the changes which they made to the development contract. WBC have prevented the courts from judging whether they have acted lawfully.



Neighbourhood Plan Consultation


Farnham Neighbourhood Plan Regulation 15, July 2016

The Farnham Neighbourhood Plan has finished its consultation stage, last comments having been accepted on Monday 3 October 2016.

The documents can be viewed on both the Waverley Borough Council website,

and the Farnham Town Council website



Waverley Lane planning inquiry


Waverley Lane, Farnham, Planning Inquiry Appeal

The Public Inquiry Appeal by Wates Developments Ltd against Waverley’s refusal of their planning application for 157 dwellings on the fields in Waverley Lane starts on Tuesday 16 August, and could last between four and six days. Wates have withdrawn the two supplementary applications but are appealing the first and main application which received 1,192 objections.

At several recent Appeals the Planning Inspector and the barrister for the developers have taken note of the attendance in the public galley at Waverley Borough Council’s offices and the barrister commented on the apparently low interest in the case, despite the number of objections.

In view of the number of objections The Farnham Society and South Farnham Residents’ Association are keen to show a strong presence in the gallery, ideally filling its 25 seats or so, throughout the Inquiry to reinforce the level of public opposition to the proposals. Sessions are usually 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm but the Inspector will indicate on the first day the times the Appeal will sit.

South Farnham Residents’ Association will have a number of representatives there giving evidence supporting the refusal, and if you are able to attend one or more sessions as an observer it will help illustrate to the Planning Inspector, Wates and their barrister that there is strong opposition to the proposals, which may have a bearing on the likelihood of the Appeal being refused.

If you are able to attend could you e mail and give your name and contact details, identifying which sessions you could attend. The sooner you can let us know the better but no later than Friday 12 August please.

Proposed Extension, Refurbishment and Conversion of the Memorial Hall

Mem Hall Alterations

There have been several letters in the Farnham Herald recently about the question of the legality of Waverley Borough Council (WBC) relocating the Gostrey Centre into the Memorial Hall. Mark Westcott also spoke at The Farnham Society AGM on Tuesday 3 May about his views on WBC’s current proposals.

WBC granted themselves planning permission on 26 August 2015 to alter and extend the Memorial Hall, described as an existing multi-use community facility, to provide additional community services. Several residents of Farnham objected to the proposals, based on the location away from the town centre, the poor appearance of the proposed design, the impact that the shared use would have on existing users and the appalling impact that the extension would have on the Memorial Hall aesthetically.

You can view the approved Ground Floor Plan by clicking on this link (hyperlink HL1) and the approved Street Elevation by clicking on this link (hyperlink HL2).

What has been highlighted recently, Spring 2016, is the blatant disregard that WBC has shown for the Deed of Gift from Farnham United Breweries.

Farnham United Breweries Limited gifted the Hall and Sports Ground to Farnham Urban District Council in October 1947 ‘for the benefit of and use and enjoyment by the inhabitants of the Urban District of Farnham’. Clause 2 stated that ‘The Hall shall be maintained by the Council and shall primarily be  used for the purposes of organised indoor games, dancing and physical training and the Sports Ground shall be maintained as such and shall primarily be used for organised outdoor games, Sports and physical training

Clause 2 continues ‘but the Council may permit the Hall and/or Sports Ground to be used for any activity of an educational culture social recreative or charitable nature which the Council shall in its discretion deem to be a normal and desirable activity for such a Hall and/or Sports Ground and the Council shall in particular give consideration to (a) organised childrens Sports and the training therefor  and (b) the meetings of the Farnham Elementary Schools Association and the training therefor.’

The important words are ‘Council may permit’ and ‘shall in its discretion deem to be a normal and desirable activity’. The Gostrey Centre currently provides a range of services to the elderly between 9am and 4pm. It must be questioned whether the Gostrey Centre relocating to the Memorial Hall will effectively prevent the many other users being able to use the Hall as they have, negating the Gostrey Centre use being considered a desirable activity in the terms of the Deed of Gift.

The following link will connect you to the transcribed document that Mark Westcott completed, (hyperlink HL3), this link will connect you to the plan attached to the Deed of Gift, (hyperlink HL4).

The approved proposals for the Memorial Hall which enable the Gostrey Centre to relocate to the Hall breach the conditions of the Deed. The Deed states that ‘The Council shall not build or allow to be built upon any part of the said premises any building or erection other than in connection with the objects specified in Clause 2 above’. It seems that Waverley would potentially be in direct contravention of this clause.

Yes, the Gostrey Centre carries out highly commendable social and charitable work but doing so in the Memorial Hall will be contrary to the Deed and exclude or restrict the purposes for which the Hall was gifted to the residents of Farnham.

What would the descendants of the owners of Farnham United Breweries think ? What would the descendants of the members of staff of Farnham United Breweries who died in the service of their country in the First World War think ?

HL5 Memorial Hall Plaque

Especially this year, when Farnham commemorated the 100th anniversary of the first ever recorded two-minute silence.

The extension and refurbishment works to the Hall are due to start next month, June 2016,

Contact one of your Ward Town Councillors and / or your Borough Councillors (hyperlink HL6) and express your dissatisfaction if you feel that Waverley are acting in an inappropriate manner, disregarding the clearly stated Covenants attached to the Deed of Gift.


Proposed Redevelopment of the Memorial Hall Sports Ground for Housing

Also recently, the issue of Farnham Town Football Club relocating to Brambledon Park in Weydon Lane has been in the headlines, (hyperlink HL7), the intimation being that the cost of the relocation would be funded by the development of the Memorial hall Sports Ground for housing. Covenants in the Deed of Gift state, as above, that the Council shall not build on the Sports Ground unless in accordance with Clause 2, above, which states that it should be used only for organised outdoor games, Sports, etc.

The expenditure of an estimated £50,000 of public money has been authorised to undertake a feasibility study of relocating the Football Club to Brambledon Park. It could be argued that public money should not be spent taking legal advice on how to get around the terms of the Covenants in the Deed of Gift unless it is self evident that circumstances have changed so much from the time of the Gift that it is now in the interests of the residents of Farnham that overruling the Covenants is justified.

It has been acknowledged that there is a shortage of recreational space in Farnham and across the Waverley Borough, so building houses on the land would be contrary to that aim.

Yes, Farnham does need new houses, but to sacrifice the Sports Ground is an unacceptable step. Building on the Sports Ground would send an unfortunate message to any current or future benefactors considering gifting community facilities to the residents of Farnham, knowing that their wishes would very likely be ignored.

If you think it is completely wrong and inappropriate for Waverley to fund the relocation of the Football Club by selling off the Memorial Hall Sports Ground for a housing development, please express your concern by contacting your local Councillor, details in the hyperlink above.

WBC Meeting on East Street

Waverley Borough Council

Waverley Borough Council

Waverley Borough Council has decided to proceed with the East Street/Brightwells development. A Special Executive Meeting on 24 May, recommended proceeding, and this was followed by a full Council meeting which approved the recommendation.

The proceedings can be viewed as a webcast via the WBC website


Planning Report October 2015

12 OCTOBER 2015

The Planning committee has met on two occasions since the last Executive with the following matters discussed and acted upon:-

Bourne Mill Community Recycling Centre

SCC are considering a re-think and re-design of this centre which could mean some cutting of hours to save money. As many people are unhappy with the centre and in particular having to carry (often heavy) items up a flight of steps, Mike Clements has produced an alternative layout with ramps. He is to discuss this with Krish and will bring copies of the suggested new layout to the meeting. If the Executive agrees, we should like to forward this to SCC. They are unlikely to consider this alternative, but this should not stop us trying.

Recrafting Farnham – A RIBA South East Project

Laith Anayi of Stedman Blower is proposing to establish a group of architects to explore how, as a collective, they can grow Farnham without damaging its character and hopefully to inform the emerging Local Plan (his words). It appears the initial work will be carried out by this group or collective of architects and they will present some broad ideas to a workshop made up of others such as non-architects, and representatives from the likes of The Farnham Society and the Town and Borough Councils. It would then be for the architects to articulate the ideas and stage a public exhibition.

The Planning Committee supports this initiative but is aware that architects must look after the interests of their clients and these are normally the applicants. However we must expect growth and it is right that this is carried out in the best possible way to safeguard the interests of Farnham. As it is an RIBA project, I assume such groups are being considered in other towns.

Public Consultation and Engaging the Public

David Howells, a new member of the committee, has helped draft a letter that I have sent to WBC to encourage them to consider that applications for significant developments should carry out public consultations as a matter of form. At the moment many are just paying lip- service by means of a public presentation rather than a consultation.

New Applications

We have objected to the following applications:-

Bindon House, Monkton Lane: following refusal of a 61 dwelling scheme we have again objected to a 56 home application.

13 Long Garden Walk: We have again objected to another application to replace a pleasant 1930’s bungalow with a large house.

Thornbrake, 14 Woodcut Road, Rowledge: Replacing a single dwelling with three houses adjoining the Conservation Area.

Knowle Farm, Old Park Lane: Erection of 9 dwellings at a former stables.

Chairmanship of the Planning Committee

I have informed the Planning Committee and the Society’s Chairman that I am to stand down as Chairman after the next AGM. I have sat on the committee since 2010 and will have been Chairman for two years by next summer. As you all know, there has been a marked increase in planning applications especially but not only on greenfield sites. This could escalate even further with continuing Government support for increased house building especially for first-time buyer end of the market. There is now a strong committee of ten and I am confident they will carry on the good fight to help keep Farnham a good place to live – but it will be a battle.

Peter Bridgeman

Planning Report September 2015


The Planning Committee has met on three occasions since the last Executive with the following matters discussed and acted upon:

Greenfield Applications

An updated list of all applications, decisions and appeals for major residential developments on greenfield sites in Farnham will appear Planning Report in the Autumn Newsletter, (I will bring an up-to-date list to the meeting). This now totals 937 dwellings in the last year with 191 already granted consent.

Woolmead Redevelopment

The Chairman and members of the planning committee have met with representatives of the owners on three occasions to discuss the proposals with an application expected soon. They have agreed to make a brief presentation at the Residents Associations’ meeting on 20 October with a 3D model of the existing and proposed layouts.

The scheme will involve the complete removal of the existing buildings and replaced by retail and a few one-bed flats on the ground floor and up to 100 residential units on the first. Second and third floors with allocated basement parking.

There were some differing opinions on the detail of the scheme but overall we took the view that we would confine our comments to the broad principles on the layout, design and policy issues as they affected public interest. We considered internal detail like waste disposal, accesses off balconies, and deliveries where a matter of concern between seller and purchaser and in any event we could comment further or object at the outline application stage or when the reserved matters are applied for.

39 Ford Lane (Heroncourt)

The refused two house application is to go to an appeal and there are four new applications, two for a new single house with alternative accesses and two more for extensions and alterations to the listed Heroncourt. They seem determined to get something approved and obviously one new house would be better than two.

26 Crooksbury Road

We have objected to an infill development to build a Surrey mansion on a former paddock.

16 Old Church Lane

Following an earlier refused application for a large replacement dwelling completely out of keeping in this Conservation Area we also strongly objected to a revised scheme. To our surprise this was granted consent by delegated powers by the Officers despite numerous objections and a request for it to be called in and go to a Committee decision. Local residents, led by Celia Sandars, have complained to the Chief Executive. A reply from Matthew Evans deals comprehensively with the decision but does not address the issue that this application should not have been determined by officers.

Police Station Site

The retirement homes are now half built and the first should be available by the spring. The murals salvaged from the old police station have been reinstated. We still await the replica clock tower.

Premier Inn/Beefeaters

Work has commenced by the demolition of the existing buildings on the site between the Homebase store and Bourne Mill. We could soon see the commencement of work to build the 61 bed hotel and the 190 cover restaurant.

7 Frensham Road

We have again objected to another application of a block of 5 flats on this site due mainly to overdevelopment and inadequate on-site parking. To meet the required parking numbers they are proposing and ugly and cumbersome hydraulic lift system of double parking. This is used in very congested inner city locations but in our view is inappropriate for this site or Farnham.

New Committee Member

David Howells, a practicing surveyor, has joined the committee. There is now a good mix of acting or retired professionals, former Councillors and representatives from local resident groups.

Local and Neighbourhood Plans

There has been little news on the progress of the Local Plan but clearly it is already at least six months behind schedule and it looks like we will not have a new adopted plan until 2017. The Neighbourhood Plan is continuing on its slow path through various consultations and a draft should go to Waverley by November. Andy Macleod is now part of the team.

Peter Bridgeman

Consultation on Recycling Centre


Surrey County Council has conducted a public consultation aimed at reducing the cost of operating recycling centres. This included the Farnham recycling centre in Guildford Road. Notably, the consultation looked at the options of closure of recycling centres, restricting opening hours, and charging for disposal of certain types of waste.

The consultation closed in September 2015.

For further information, see the Surrey County Council website.

Planning report July 2015


The Planning Committee has met on two occasions since the last Executive Committee and the following matters have been discussed and acted upon.


Air Pollution

This item was deferred from the last Executive due to the absence of Roger Steel. To recap, it is the suggestion of establishing a committee/working party to look into the whole issue of air pollution/traffic congestion, particularly in relation to the dramatic increase in housing applications and the Supreme Court Ruling. Roger Steel will introduce this item.

Woolmead Redevelopment

Alan G, Michael B and I met with representatives of F & C Reit on 12 June to discuss their latest proposals. The Planning Committee discussed these and indicated general support for the broad principles of the scheme but with some observations/criticisms on the detail. AG has written to F&C Reit on these lines. An outline application is expected within a month, with the hope of an allocation of SANG at Farnham Park. This is probably the most important brownfield application in Farnham. We should support it, but it is important for the detail to be right.

Brightwells/East Street

As expected the NMA (Non Material Amendment) was granted consent by the Joint Planning Committee (JPC). However the eight votes against shows some change in the political make-up of WBC.

Bishop’s Steps Wall

The Farnham (Building Preservation) Trust has asked The Farnham Society to consider further financial support for this scheme. AG to elaborate. There is a fine line between deciding what is the right design and who will finance it.

Police Station Site

A further application to amend the condition to replace the clock tower indicates that the original has been damaged beyond repair.

Compton Fields, Waverley Lane

An objection was made to the 157-dwelling application and we have also objected to the duplicate applications for 59 and 98 dwellings on similar grounds. Each application has received over 1100 objections.

Little Acres, Badshot Lea

An outline application has been submitted for 99 dwellings on this greenfield site. We are working in conjunction with the Badshot Lea Community Association to object or at least to ensure the correct conditions at the detailed stage.

Hale Road

 An application has been submitted for a 189 dwelling scheme on this greenfield site close to the Six Bells roundabout. This site appears to be more sustainable with good transport, schools, shopping and the hospital all in close proximity. They are proposing their own SANG adjoining Farnham Park.

The total number of new dwellings applications on greenfield sites in the last year in Farnham now totals 956 (see attached list).

Low Lane, Badshot Lea

Although this outline application for 30 dwellings was recommended for approval by the officers, it was unanimously- with one abstention – refused by the JPC on the grounds of flood risk. It appears that WBC may have been incorrectly advised by the legal department on the ‘sequential test’ that alternative sites with less flood risk should be considered first.

Dunsfold Park

 A Public Exhibition was staged on 1 July at Cranleigh to show various levels of housing development from 1800, 2600 and 3400 new homes. The larger the number of dwellings the greater the internal provision of retail, professional services, food and drink, primary education, medical centres and community facilities. It could be that an application for just the 1800 homes would be more likely to succeed and, if so, they could build on that and apply for greater numbers to save greenfield sites in the rest of the Borough.

16 Old Church Lane

We have objected to a second application following refusal of an earlier scheme.

Peter Bridgeman

8 July 2015


















Planning Report June 2015



The Planning Committee has met on one occasion since the last Executive Committee with the following matters discussed and acted upon:-


1. New Member of the Committee

Following a proposal by Michael Blower, seconded by Andy Macleod and supported by Roger Steel, the former Independent Councillor David Beaman has joined the Committee. This could only be a short-term appointment as David’s health might mean he has to move away from Farnham.


2. Air Pollution

Some of you will have seen the paper circulated by Roger Steel outlining the Supreme Court ruling that the UK Government must, by the end of the year, make plans to reduce air pollution which in Farnham is mainly caused by traffic congestion, diesel cars and trade vehicles.

This is mainly a Surrey CC matter but it is vitally important that the Society puts pressure on all levels of local government to ensure Farnham meets the legal requirements. At present it is falling woefully short.   To this end we should like to recommend the establishment of a committee or working party to look at the whole issue of air pollution and, through the Executive Committee, put pressure on the relevant bodies. Such a committee wouldrequire people with specific expertise and Roger Steel has some suggestions. Work has already begun by Celia Sanders and Robert Mansfield and there is a planned meeting with Jeremy Hunt.


3. Town and Borough Elections

Congratulations to our former Vice Chairman Andy Macleod on being elected as a Farnham Town and Waverley Borough Independent Councillor; we are sure he will represent Farnham well. He has already been appointed to the Joint Planning Committee where he can ensure that the voice of the Society will be heard. However it has left a gaping hole on the Planning Committee and the Executive. We understand Roger Steel has offered to cover Andy’s place on the CPRE.


4. Bishops Steps Wall

 As previously reported, the new wall on the castle side of the Bishop’s Steps is causing ongoing debate. It has generally been agreed that the new wall will be demolished and replaced with a low brick wall and then post and rail fencing to match the other side. The one remaining issue, as yet unresolved, is lighting. The wall as built included built-in low level lights to illuminate the steps but it is now suggested lighting could be provided by high level street lights along the embankment leading down to Castle Street. Surrey CC would be responsible for their installation to match the existing lamps along Castle Street. The Planning Committee supports the high level lights but FCAMP and the Castle operators prefer the low level lighting.

The architect appointed by the Church Commissioners, who are responsible for the property, has advised that five courses of bricks would be required to incorporate the low level lights and this would be out of keeping with the other side and the Grade 1 listed building. He is asking for the views of TFS and others on these two options.


5. Compton Fields, Waverley Lane

 Following discussions with SOFRA we have objected to the 157 dwelling greenfield application on many grounds and, to sum it all up, the site is totally unsustainable. The added problem now is that Wates, the developer, has submitted two more application – one on the southern fields for 59 dwellings and the other on the northern fields for 98 homes, totalling 157. It appears they are hoping one of these smaller schemes will be permitted and then they can re-apply for the other. We will be objecting to these two new applications.

We are expecting another greenfield application at Little Acres Nursery, Badshot Lea for 99 dwellings very shortly. That will make some 750 new home applications on greenfield sites in the last nine months – ten times the annual new-build in Farnham.


6. Heroncourt

 The two refused applications are perhaps going to appeal and the developers are up to their tricks. Since late May they have been planting a row of 3 .5 to 4m tall cypress-like trees between the retained Heroncourt and the likely appeal site. I assume this can only be a temporary screen as the trees are planted, complete with their hessian wrapped root-balls, in 1.2m diameter buried containers so they can be removed.  It is also clear that some of the excavations for the planting were within the root protection areas of a protected tree.


7. Woolmead

A further meeting is planned for 12 June to discuss the designs for the new build.


8. Heath Hill, Old Park Lane

This application for a replacement modern dwelling in an out-of-the- way site in north Farnham has split the committee.   At our meeting most were in favour of objecting as they thought it was out of keeping with the architecture of Farnham. I questioned this view and suggested one of the architectural members should comment. I asked Mike Clements to take a look and his reply was ‘What a beautiful house. I wish I had one like that. Its design is a good response to its function, with an exciting structural expression. I see nothing harmful and suggest supporting it’.  At the last online count there were 2 objections and 19 supporting, I may have to use a Chairman’s casting vote! It does however show personal opinions count as much as technical and architectural viewpoints.



Peter Bridgeman

2 June 2015

















Waverley Lane Development

Created from Ordnance Survey Street View

Created from Ordnance Survey Street View



 South Farnham Residents’ Association have made the following appeal.


Wates Developments have applied to build 157 houses on the fields at the top of Waverley Lane, cleverly submitting three separate planning applications at once to baffle and confuse the people of Farnham.


WA/2015/0771 for 157 houses on both fields

WA/2015/0894 for 98 houses on the field near Old Compton Lane.

WA/2015/0895 for 59 houses on the field near Abbots Ride.


They are planning spaces for 347 cars on this site, which will put a huge burden on Waverley Lane and onto the queues at the level crossing. Therefore this development would affect anyone in Farnham who uses the railway station.


Please would you object to all three planning applications. The closing date is the 12th June.


Reasons for objection are similar for all three: -


***An unsustainable location for housing – too far away from the town (1.75km), too far away from any local shops (1.3km), too far away from the railway station (1.25km). It is in effect a village separate from the town – but with no facilities provided.


***Congestion at level crossing due to get worse. No solutions offered by developer to increase road capacity or solve the blockage of the crossing barrier. This means making already illegal air pollution levels even worse – not good for health, both for us and local schoolchildren.


***Unacceptable adverse impact on the character of the area – high density housing (34 dwellings per hectare); speed markings on the road, flashing speed signs near site; complete removal of 62m of hedging , cutting back of further 125 metres – this includes Ancient hedgerow, irreplaceable.


***The fields are rated ” high landscape value” and “high landscape sensitivity” by Waverley’s Landscape consultant. They provide the setting for the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Beauty right next to it; fields are bordered by Ancient Woodland and Veteran Trees (very rare in England and protected by national planning policy)


***Site considered “Not suitable ” in Farnham Neighbourhood Plan.


***This is the countryside!! – it is against Waverley’s own policy (Policy C2) to build in it – and National Planning Policy says the countryside must be recognised “for its intrinsic character and beauty” – this is a CORE PLANNING PRINCIPLE !




Via the Waverley – follow the planning prompts to reach the THREE reference numbers above, and fire away (copying and pasting your comments will be fine). Alternatively, write to The Planning Department, Waverley Borough Council, The Burys, Godalming GU7 1HR. Please remember to quote all three reference numbers.


Many thanks for all your support.





Planning Report May 2015

Police station site (742x800)



11 MAY 2015


The Planning Committee has met on two occasions since the last Executive Committee with the following matters discussed and acted upon:-


Application List


We have objected to the following:-


White Beam, 79a Middle Bourne Lane, 2x 5 bed houses in place of one

59 Boundstone Road, 2 or 3 dwellings in place of one


We are preparing objections for the following:-


Brethren’s Meeting Room, West Street, 71 bed care home

David Lloyd Centre. Double tennis court dome covering

Bourne Club, Double tennis court dome covering

The Coach House, Leigh Cottage, additional house in narrow lane

We are also, in conjunction with SOFRA and The Town Council, planning to make a strong objection to the very large greenfield application at Compton Fields, Waverley Lane for 157 dwellings.


Bishops Steps Wall

A final design has been prepared by Mark Westcott and Mike Clements which should result in the removal of the recently built wall and the erection of a low wall and post and rail fencing to match the other side and with lighting provided by more street lights in Castle Street. We have been informed funding is in place and I thought this was a conclusion to the saga but I have just heard FCAMP and Farnham Castle Operations will be proposing an alternative design for consideration by the Church Commissioners.


Baker Oates Stables, Gardeners Hill Road.

The refused application for 43 dwellings is going to appeal.


Peter Bridgeman

7 May 2015