Fringe Box



‘Green Buffer’ Motion to Reject Plan for Another 93 Homes in Ash Defeated

Published on: 17 Aug, 2023
Updated on: 18 Aug, 2023

Residents protesting against a plan to build 93 homes at Ash.

By Martin Giles

Ash residents were left angry last night (Wednesday) when GBC’s Planning Committee approved an application for 93 new homes to be built on a green field site on Ash Green Road.

In the prepared report, planning officers had recommended approval.

The chair of the Planning Committee, Cllr Fiona White (Lib Dem), herself an Ash resident, explained that most of the issues relating to the planning decision, such as the need for adequate extra infrastructure, had already been considered at an earlier meeting.

May and Juniper Cottage building site, Ash

But the committee had felt a site visit to the land at May and Juniper Cottages was required to assess a proposed green buffer, to prevent settlement coalescence. This is required under the 2019 Local Plan, which had also allocated up to 100 dwellings on the site close to the Grade II* listed Ash Manor.

The site visit was conducted on Tuesday (August 15) by Planning Committee members and planning officers while a “silent protest”, so-called because participants had been told they could not speak to the visiting councillors during the visit, was made by 25 residents.

The “silent protest” by residents against development of another building site at Ash.

During the committee’s debate, it became clear that there was no accepted definition of a “green buffer” and that the developers had made last-minute changes, which had not been documented, in light of councillor concerns expressed during the site visit.

Sue Wyeth-Price

Cllr Sue Wyeth-Price (R4GV, Ash South) proposed that the application was rejected on the grounds that the planned green buffer was inadequate; the only reason, she was told, she could use.

Cllr Howard Smith

But Cllr Howard Smith (Lab, Westborough) was in favour of the planned development. He said: “I am supportive of this, I think it is a good development.”

Cllr Wyeth-Price’s motion was defeated by 11 to 2 with 2 abstentions.

A motion was then proposed to allow the application and passed by 12 votes to 2 with 1 abstention.

As part of granting permission, it was agreed that planning officers would send a request to Surrey County Council that the speed limit on Ash Green Road be reduced to 20mph.

Gillian Squibb, chair of Ash Green Residents Association (AGRA), commenting on the decision this morning, said: “A disappointing outcome following a heated and lengthy debate at a planning meeting, where no one could define the size of a ‘buffer zone’.

“I am unable to go into further details at the moment until we regroup and decide on our next steps.”

See the webcast of the Planning Committee meeting here.


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Responses to ‘Green Buffer’ Motion to Reject Plan for Another 93 Homes in Ash Defeated

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    August 17, 2023 at 5:43 pm

    Actually during the Local Plan Examination 2019, the only change to the whole Local Plan was put forward by the chair of the Burpham Neighbourhood Forum, Christian Holiday, and it was for a “30-meter Green Buffer” between the housing and the A3 on the approach to Guildford.

    I believe therefore there is a definition as set out by the planning examiner. It is a shame the Planning Committee had not attended all the examination days.

  2. Lou Reply

    August 17, 2023 at 6:22 pm

    Thanks, Jim, for that confirmation;

    I live in one of the affected Victorian cottages, and there will be NO Buffer between my plot and the new development. The gardens of two new houses will share my fence. I don’t feel gardens should be used as buffers.

    I welcome the 20-mile hour speed limit and the extra planting, and Bloor has moved the electrical substation, which would have backed onto my shed. I cannot blame Bloor for the lack of Buffer. The council shaped this plan. The original one had a buffer behind my home.

  3. John Ferns Reply

    August 17, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    The Dragon singles out Cllr Smith’s enthusiasm for this development.

    The Man from Del Monte strikes again! Those readers of more senior years will remember the long-running series of television advertisements from the ’80s for a tinned fruit company, where the inspector, after tasting the fruit, signals his approval, upon which the workers burst into celebration exclaiming: “The man from Del Monte, he say yes!”

    Councillor Smith readily says yes to any development in any ward that is not his own. The basic infrastructure in his ward he may deem inadequate, as it is in multiple other wards within the borough, especially Ash, which has borne the brunt of 80 per cent+ development in the borough over the last four years. The difference is that the promised infrastructure improvements in Ash have not been implemented, which should have been in place before the first occupation.

    Editor’s comment: Cllr Smith did vote against the proposal for the former Wisley Airfield but that was an “in principle” vote as the application had already gone to appeal.

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