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Councillors Approve Plan for New Send Houses Despite Warning to ‘Tread Carefully’

Published on: 4 Feb, 2022
Updated on: 6 Feb, 2022

Elevations of proposed houses at Waterside Farm Cottage, Wharf Lane, Send

By Emily Coady-Stemp

local democracy reporter

Guildford planners approved an eight-house development in Send on Wednesday night (February 2) despite being warned to “tread carefully”.

Guildford Borough Council’s Planning Committee gave the green light to plans for the demolition of Waterside Farm Cottage in Send with one councillor saying he didn’t think they would have a leg to stand on at an appeal if the application was refused.

Google map showing the location of Wharf Lane, Send

Speaking at the meeting, Send Parish councillor Pat Oven, raised the issue of eight garages on Wharf Lane, owned by the borough council and due to be demolished as part of the plans and replaced by eight parking spaces.

He said: “I’d like to remind you that the first rule of natural justice which is that no one should be a judge in their own cause.

“And this is an application that you must tread extremely carefully within my submission because the borough council stands to benefit substantially financially should this application be granted.”

Cllr Fiona White.

Councillors were reminded by officers to look at planning considerations only and meeting chair Councillor Fiona White (Lib Dem, Westborough) said the planning committee was “notoriously independent” of the council when it came to taking decisions.

She said: “It may not win us friends in some of the offices but I think we all know that we have to judge this purely on planning issues.”

An earlier identical application was subject to a non-determination appeal because of the lack of a decision on it.

When the planning committee subsequently considered the application in December 2021, they said the application would have been approved by the committee had it not been subject to the appeal.

Cllr Paul Spooner

Cllr Paul Spooner (Con, Ash South & Tongham) said he didn’t see how the committee could do anything other than approve the scheme, as they had already done.

He said: “I fully understand the objectors, and whether there is merit or not, and I’m sure that many of us have sympathy.

“The simple fact is this identical scheme has already been approved by this committee.”

Councillor Tony Rooth (R4GV, Pilgrims) said: “I see no reason to refuse this application. I don’t think we’d have a leg to stand on, frankly.”

A total of 32 letters of objection had been sent about the application, raising issues including the loss of the garages, for which there was a waiting list, the density of the development and a worsening of existing sewage problems.

Cllr Susan Parker

After the meeting, ward councillor for Send Susan Parker (GGG) was highly critical of the approval decision. She said; “It is deplorable that Guildford has forced this decision through, against strongly expressed wishes from local residents and the parish council.

“Guildford Borough Council benefits commercially from this. That shouldn’t even appear to be a consideration in granting a planning application – but clearly it is seen that way by some on the parish council.

“The Planning Committee has apparently not shown much independence here. This site adjoins the Wey Navigations and the development will affect views and the ambience of a sensitive area – none of that seems to have been properly recognised. It’s a bad decision and a sad day.”

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