Fringe Box



Letter: Only a Quarter of the Former Airfield Site is Under Concrete

Published on: 31 May, 2024
Updated on: 31 May, 2024

Corn being harvested at “Three Farms Meadow” part of the Wisley Airfield site

From: Ben Paton

In response to a comment on the story: Wisley Planning Appeal Allowed for 1,800 Homes on Former Airfield Site

The comment from David Smith that “masses of concrete hardstanding” will be destroyed at the former Wisley Airfield site, when redeveloped, is a misrepresentation of the facts in this case.

The developer’s evidence for its first planning application included an Environmental Statement. At Vol 1 para 4.5 in the tables for that statement the developer stated that the total site area was 114.7 hectares.

The developer’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Vol 2 pt 1 states that the total area under concrete is 27 hectares or about 24 per cent of the total. Of that only 16 hectares is classified as previously developed. The former hangar area is the “previously developed” area, or brownfield land. All of that falls within 400 metres of the SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and Special Protection Area and therefore may not, by law, be built on for residential housing. It follows therefore that the developable brown field land on this site is about 11 hectares or 10 per cent of the total area.

From the total area of 114.7 hectares the developer agreed with Natural England that it should set aside 49.9 hectares for a Site of Alternative Natural Green Space aka SANG – to provide some protection for the adjacent Site of Special Scientific Interest or SSSI. So the entire new town must fit onto about 65ha – a higher housing density than in central London.

70.1 hectares, or 61 per cent of the land, is classified as Grades II and III arable farmland. 45.5 hectares of the arable land is classified as “best and most versatile” land. This will be lost to agriculture forever – after being farmed for the past thousand years.

Mr Smith’s comments may fit with his ideology but they don’t fit the facts. For the man with a hammer everything looks like a nail. Like Donald Trump and the Post Office, people are entitled to ignore the evidence. As Judge Fraser stated in his judgement in Mr Bates v the Post Office Horizon Issues trial, lawyers can make the twenty first century equivalent to the argument that the earth is flat if that is what their clients ask them to.

But you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

Taylor Wimpey, like Paul Vennells, is obsessed with public relations – accentuating the “positive” and eliminating the “negative”, “off message” facts.

Development of this demonstrably unsustainable and unsuitable site is another monument to the the legal profession’s preference for form over substance. It carefully selects evidence to support predetermined conclusions.

Lawyers will present as “truth” whatever their clients find expedient. They know which side their bread is buttered. How many millions did the lawyers bill the Post Office to defend the Post Office’s lies about its Horizon IT system?

Share This Post

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *