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Developers Increase Number of Housing Units in Ash Planning Proposal

Published on: 12 Nov, 2017
Updated on: 15 Nov, 2017

The site south of Ash Lodge Road on which Bewley Homes hope to build nearly 500 housing units.

By David Reading

Developers Bewley Homes have amended their plans for a new housing estate on land south of Ash Lodge Drive, Ash, by increasing the overall number of houses to 492.

Outline permission for around 400 homes was granted in 2014 and detailed proposals including layout, housing design and public open spaces were granted planning permission in January 2017.

Now residents in the surrounding area have received a joint letter from Bewley Homes and residential property group A2 Dominion giving reasons for changes to the proposals.

The letter states: “Since the ideas for development at this site were conceived six years ago, the housing market has significantly altered. Our outline consent was for more than 25 per cent four and five-bedroom homes, but market testing has identified a much greater need in the area for two and three-bedroom family homes.

“The change in the unit mix and associated reduction in the size of a number of dwellings means we are able to accommodate more dwellings and thus increase the overall number of homes to be delivered on this site to 492 homes.”

The letter also refers to plans for health care provision. The developers say an original idea was to set aside land for a new health centre to be run by two doctors as a satellite from an existing surgery. “But since the publication of NHS England’s Five Year Forward View in October 2014, it became clear that such a proposition would not be viable,” the letter goes on.

“As such we are seeking to significantly expand the land available, enabling a new doctor’s surgery to be provided that could service the whole Ash community. We have been working with the partners of the Bartlett Group Practice (in Ash Vale) to create plans for such a health facility, and will be seeking to bring this forward in due course.”

The developers say they are seeking comments from local people to be delivered to them by December 1st. The new changes to the plans require consent from Guildford Borough Council.

Graham Eyre, chairman of Ash Residents Association (ASHRA), told The Dragon it was too early to comment on the new proposals at this stage, but a statement would certainly be made when more information is available.

In the past, residents and some councillors have suggested that the number of homes should be cut rather than increased. Throughout a long campaign to have the housing plans scrapped, or at least amended, residents raised concerns about:

  • The inevitable increase in traffic. The area’s roads are already congested, particularly after 8am and around 5pm.
  • The potential for flooding. The land is already susceptible to being waterlogged when there is heavy rain. At the moment the water soaks slowly into the ground, but residents are anxious about what will happen when the area is concreted over. Bewley Homes have answered this by saying their proposed flood alleviation measures, including balancing ponds and streams, will be sufficient to deal with any excess water.
  • The increased pressure on health services. Bewley’s latest statement would appear to have addressed this concern.
  • The threat to wildlife, notably the deer, rabbits, bats, woodpeckers and spring nesting birds such as blackcaps.

Bewley Homes are inviting people to view the proposed changes at:

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Responses to Developers Increase Number of Housing Units in Ash Planning Proposal

  1. Jan Messinger Reply

    November 12, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    The residents concerns are very real concerns. If all the proposed development goes ahead Guildford borough will be an awful place to live.

  2. Jules Cranwell Reply

    November 13, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Guildford should take note. This will happen to every development planned in the Local Plan, as this is entirely typical of developers.

    Phase 1: Get planning permission for the highest amount thought likely to get permission, promise 40% “affordable” homes.

    Phase 2: Once permission granted, apply to massively increase the number of houses, in the example by 25%.

    Phase 3: Reduce the “affordable” home to little or nothing, following a “viability assessment”.

    GBC has given developers a get-out-of-jail-free card to reduce the “affordable” numbers.

    If this disastrous plan goes ahead expect to see 3,000 homes at Wisley, 2,500 at Blackwell Farm, and 3,000 at Gosden Hill etc. The greed of developers should not be underestimated.

    • Jim Allen Reply

      November 13, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      I do so wish Jules Cranwell was wrong. Sadly, I don’t think he is.

  3. David Raison Reply

    November 13, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    No doubt these will be undersized homes, crammed in as tight as possible. Not much quality of life.

  4. Fiona Samuel-Holmes Reply

    November 15, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Pure manipulation by the developers, yet again. They should have reduce the amount of housing and put in the health centre in the original plan not as a afterthought to gain more houses!

    The local roads are already horrendous and now, not only are they looking to increase the amount of cars further with the extra houses, but also add more cars visiting the proposed health centre!

    Yes we need more doctors’ surgeries, but putting one on this development will be a nightmare as no proposal has been put forward to sort out the road infrastructure.

    However, let’s see what our council say about the matter, or do others, like me, think it’s a foregone conclusion?

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