We take a look at what has been happening in August, with regard to some of the major development works in progress or proposed, in and around Farnham.
A quick update on activity (or lack of it) at the Woolmead site. Work has ceased while Berkeley Homes attempt to change their plans by removing underground car parking space – the local authorities are opposed to the change. Meanwhile steel sheet piling has been delivered from a site in Hull. Sheet piling is used to retain the earth when forming basements. The views reported to come from Berkeley are along the lines of ‘don’t expect anything to happen for up to a year.’ So far Berkeley Homes’ senior management haven’t communicated their intentions to Waverley Borough Council.
Planning consent was granted for this large housing development at the top of Folly Hill, in spite of opposition from the local authorities and in spite of the site not being included in the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan.
Construction has started, with works on the A287 to create access to the development, including a new roundabout. This is for a development of fewer than 100 new houses, yet no roundabout is planned for access to the proposed Coxbridge Farm development with more than 300 houses. Are the developers, CALA, intent on extending the development further to the west across Upper Old Park Lane, to add yet more new houses?
There are proposals for an extra care retirement community in Holt Pound, Rowledge, comprising 121 homes plus communal facilities. For comparison, Hawthorn Lodge (the site of the former police station) has 50 apartments. The proposed development is on the eastern side of the A325, between Wrecclesham and Bird World, in what is now an open field used to graze horses. In the aerial photo above, the A325 is seen running across the top left, Fullers Road runs along the lower edge of the field. East Hampshire District Council’s Land Availability Assessment, December 2018 has designated the land ‘undevelopable’ stating ‘Residential development would potentially have an adverse impact on the rural character of the area, and is disproportionate in size to the existing settlement. Lack of suitable public transport – particularly to the scarcity of an evening bus service – would lead to a substantial increase in private car use.
Of particular concern is the way the developers are using planning law. The proposal ls for Planning use C2 (Residential Institutions) which covers hospitals, nursing homes, boarding schools, residential colleges and training centres. C2 developments do not attract Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) for the benefit of the community, for example to upgrade the A325 nearby. The site being in Hampshire would mean that Waverley would not benefit from it in any way, despite the residents using facilities in Farnham and Rowledge.
If you feel that you would like to let the parish council know what you think, you can write to them at Binsted Parish Council, The Sports Pavilion, The Street, Binsted, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 4PB
or email either their Chairman, Ron Neil, at firstname.lastname@example.org).
or Susan Hodder email@example.com