Fringe Box



Five Surrey MPs Hear First Hand of Wanborough Fields’ Need for AONB Protection

Published on: 16 Mar, 2022
Updated on: 19 Mar, 2022

MPs and councillors listening to the presentation on Wanborough Fields. From left to right: Cllr Tony Rooth. MPs Jonathan Lord, Claire Coutinho, Angela Richardson, Chris Grayling and Jeremy Hunt

By Martin Giles

Five Surrey MPs and three borough councillors gathered at Wanborough Barn on Friday (March 11) to hear pleas, from parish councillor Oscar de Chazal and the chairman of the Surrey Hills AONB Board Heather Kerswell, that the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the northern slopes of the Hog’s Back is extended to include Wanborough Fields.

See below interview with Guildford and Woking MPs Angela Richardson and Jonathan Lord.

A major motivation for the extension is obtaining extra protection from unpopular developments on the fields, one of which has already been sold into small plots.

Cllrs David Bilbe and Tom Hunt

Currently, 73 acres of Wanborough Fields 247 acres lie outside the AONB and only has the less protective Area of Great Landscape Value Designation.

Addressing the Conservative MPs Claire Coutinho (Surrey East) Chris Grayling (Epsom & Ewell), Jeremy Hunt (Surrey South West), Jonathan Lord (Woking), Angela Richardson (Guildford), and borough councillors David Bilbe (Con, Normandy, Tom Hunt (Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas) and Tony Rooth (R4GV, Pilgrims), Ms Kerswell gave thanks to all the politicians, from across the political spectrum, at government and council level, for the support given to the submission to be included in the review.

Heather Kerswell

That having succeeded, she said: “We have now got to tackle the review itself.”

“Over 2,00 submissions from the public had been made including one from Wanborough that was so good our planning advisor said surely its been done by consultants.”

The new draft boundary, she forecast, was likely to be announced in the autumn.

Oscar de Chazal

Cllr de Chazal, set out their aims. He and his parish council wanted:

  • Wanborough Fields to be returned to their 2017 “pristine” state
  • AONB status for Warnborough – the highest level of protection
  • Legislation to allow rejection of bogus planning applications and to enable effective prosection of those in breach
  • A review of the issue of land speculation in the UK
  • Legislation to protect purchasers and stop the use of farmland for financial speculation.

See other articles on Wanborough Fields here.

In his presentation, he showed how one field that had been sold off as plots had changed in recent years.

One of the fields as it was in 2017…

…and as it is now.

He also showed an example of the estate agent’s advertising which he said some might infer implied housing development potential of the land despite its green belt status.

An example presented of an estate agent’s description of land for sale in Wanborough.

Those who had purchased plots were resorting to other activities on the land which Guildford Borough Council despite efforts praised by Ms Kerswell: “Guildford have thrown everything at it. I’m not here to criticise Guildford at all. They put out an article for direction and 40 notices.

“And writing an enforcement notice is not like a parking ticket. You don’t just write it up and stick it on a fence there is a whole lot of legal stuff and administration.”

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Responses to Five Surrey MPs Hear First Hand of Wanborough Fields’ Need for AONB Protection

  1. Daniel Hill Reply

    March 17, 2022 at 5:10 pm

    I think there is a big misunderstanding from residents what AONB status for Warnborough would actually mean. The high level of protection will only restrict the ability of GBC to grant new planning permission.

    It will make absolute no difference to the breaches of Enforcement Notices at Warnborough Fields because planning permission would not granted for that site under the existing green belt protection.

    GBC need to stop making excuses. It’s their legal responsibility as a planning authority to take action. They already have powers under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to take direct action to put the field back to it’s original state. This is what residents need to be demanding.

    It’s time residents took their own legal advice on this situation.

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