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Council Crackdown on Wanborough Fields Landowners Who Ignored Planning Laws

Published on: 5 Oct, 2020
Updated on: 5 Oct, 2020

Wanborough fields, Area of Great Landscape Value (ALGV). Field viewed from the west showing unauthorised structures subject to enforcement.

Guildford Borough Council is threatening court action against owners of two plots on green belt Wanborough Fields, issuing enforcement and stop notices for ignoring planning laws.

See also: Opinion: We Need Planning Protection to Counter Rogue Builders and Wanborough Residents Lobby GBC Over Tree Nursery Threat to Green Belt 

Without permission, fences had been installed and one landowner had also laid stoned surfacing and stored several shipping containers, although the land is reserved for agriculture.

The fields are protected from development, designated an Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV) and some parts within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

A GBC statement said: “We have also issued this landowner with a stop notice to cease the unauthorised work and activities. Failure to comply can result in a maximum fine of £20,000 in magistrates’ court or an unlimited fine by Crown Court.”

Cllr Tony Rooth

Cllr Tony Rooth (R4GV, Pilgrims), said: “In the past two years, agricultural fields at Wanborough have been sold to a buyer who has further subdivided the land into plots. There are now many landowners, and some are doing what they want, all without planning permission.

“Issuing a stop notice is rare and shows the severity of the damage. We have a large number of complaints. Ignoring the need for planning permission is unacceptable and we will not tolerate this.”

Cllr Caroline Reeves

Cllr Caroline Reeves (Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas), lead for Housing and Development Control, said: “We share the concerns of the local community. There have been planning breaches with several landowners and we are dealing with these.

“This behaviour is not acceptable. Protecting our green belt land to limit urban sprawl is important, as is focussing on regenerating our brownfield sites. Planning permission protects key sites and ensures safety of development.”

Mike Aaronson, chair of the Normandy Action Group, whose article last month alerted Guildford Dragon NEWS readers to the deteriorating situation at Wanborough Fields, said: “It’s good that GBC has at last taken action against these breaches of planning regulations. But severe damage has already been done to the landscape, and restoring it as required by the enforcement notice will take a great deal of vigilance and determination by enforcement officers, plus strong political leadership from councillors.

“Unless the council’s planning enforcement team is given the resources it needs to secure compliance from those who break the rules, the requirements of the notice will remain mere words on a piece of paper. This would weaken respect for the planning system as a whole, and leave our countryside vulnerable to further depredation.”

Breaches of planning control can be reported on the GBC website: www.guildford.gov.uk/planningenforcement.

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test 4 Responses to Council Crackdown on Wanborough Fields Landowners Who Ignored Planning Laws

  1. Mary Adkins Reply

    October 5, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    Wanborough residents have worked tirelessly for the past three years to prevent our beautiful, protected landscape from degradation by plot owners who ignore planning restrictions.

    We are heartened that Guildford Borough Council has taken strong action in this latest and most destructive example of unauthorised activity. We are grateful for the considerable efforts of our borough councillor, Tony Rooth, and our parish council who have communicated the scale of the problems we face to the borough council.

    Finally, we thank our neighbours in the Normandy Action Group for their vigilance and continuing support.

  2. Peter Elliott Reply

    October 27, 2020 at 10:49 am

    This sorry saga is a direct result of GBC’s support for Surrey University’s plans to build 2,000 houses further along the Hog’s Back at Blackwell Farm. They were warned at the time that this would inevitably create a precedent, and send the message that anywhere in the Surrey Hills AONB was potentially up for grabs for developers. How right those warnings have turned out to be.

  3. Bernard Corrie Reply

    November 6, 2021 at 3:52 pm

    All this talk is falling on stony ground. No one is taking the slightest bit of notice so why is GBC waiting before they carry out all the legal talk and actions or is someone getting a nice payday out of the mess?

    I pass the site every day but it is only getting worse, so less blah, blah and enforce the law.

    • John Ferns Reply

      November 6, 2021 at 6:50 pm

      Perhaps Mr Corrie should follow this up with his friendly local GBC Cllr, who can then address the questions with the relevant council officers? With the Pirbright “waste site” scandal fresh in our minds, an update is overdue on the Wanborough Fields issue.

      Heaven forbid this affront on the AGLV remains for the next 20 years.

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