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Wisley Campaigners Confident They Can Defeat New Garden Village Proposal

Published on: 9 Mar, 2020
Updated on: 9 Mar, 2020

Campaigners are confident they can defend farmland against an expected new “Wisley Garden Village” planning application from Cayman Island developer Wisley Property Investments (WPIL).

Although Three Farms Meadows (TFM), the former Wisley airfield, was removed from green belt status in Guildford Borough Council’s (GBC) new Local Plan, in a press statement the Wisley Action Group (WAG) points to GBC’s previous refusal of a WPIL planning application for a “village” of 2,000 houses on 14 separate grounds.

A view across Three Farms Meadows. Picture supplied by the Wisley Action Group.

That council decision was upheld by the Secretary of State after developers lodged an appeal.

Tony Edwards, WAG committee member and press officer, said: “It is most certainly not the case that that GBC’s removal of TFM’s green belt status in the Local Plan qualifies the land for inappropriate housing development.

“The planning inspector, Clive Hughes, stated at the appeal hearing that failure to provide adequate infrastructure was a major failing of the scheme, with particular reference to the Junction 10 interchange [of the M25 with the A3].

Tony Edwards, Wisley Action Group spokesman.

“But other valid planning issues include transport links, major air-quality issues, devastation of wildlife, flower and fauna destruction, and much more, all of which still disqualify the land for large-scale development.

“And the massive question mark which now hangs over anticipated Junction 10 improvements does nothing to support the concept of a garden village at Wisley.”

Mr Edwards added: “WAG is already preparing for another round of defensive action to protect Three Farms Meadows and we are confident that the Secretary of State’s previous appeal decision against a garden village scheme can form a spearhead of our planned opposition.”

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Responses to Wisley Campaigners Confident They Can Defeat New Garden Village Proposal

  1. Robert Good Reply

    March 12, 2020 at 11:09 am

    It is alarming that an organisation in the secretive Cayman Islands should be targeting Guildford.

    Who are the ultimate beneficial owners of this firm? Are they offshore tax dodgers?

  2. Ian Campbell Reply

    March 13, 2020 at 9:30 am

    Stopping development on Wisley airfield does not solve the problem.

    As the main driver of housing demand is the impact of an ageing population, not immigration as many wrongly believe, where will these houses be located?

    One suggestion is that in areas of high demand with a lot of protected land the housing demand is ‘exported’ to other areas with plenty of unprotected land.

    The challenge is to persuade these ‘host’ locations to take on this ‘import’ role. Simply, what is in it for them?

    • S Callanan Reply

      March 14, 2020 at 7:01 pm

      Is it accurate to say that “the main driver of housing demand is the impact of an ageing population”?

      Presumably the ageing population already have somewhere to live, so if they move they swop one house for another and there’s no new demand or increase in the number of households.

      So why would anyone want to ‘export’ that particular group of people as opposed to any other?

      And how does Mr Campbell propose to persuade them to be ‘exported’? This may prove to be a greater challenge than to “persuade the ‘host’ location to take on this ‘import’ role”.

      I hope this idea is a joke but somehow I doubt it.

      • George Potter Reply

        March 16, 2020 at 11:18 am

        The issue with an ageing population is primarily that you have one or two older people living together in a family house with far more bedrooms than they need.

        Meanwhile their children, and grandchildren, who have all flown the nest, are struggling to find or afford homes big enough for themselves and their own children.

        Once upon a time this issue would have resolved itself by, on the one hand, about as many older people dying as new people being born (which balanced out population changes and caused houses to become vacant), and on the other hand there being lots of small two-bedroom bungalows and similar for older people to affordably downsize into.

        However, nowadays developers know they can make far more profit on a big house than on a bungalow on the same plot so the availability of downsizing properties is limited and you have many older people living longer with spare bedrooms in their houses.

        This is not anyone’s fault as such. Nor is it something where the solution is to blame older people for living longer (I for one hope everyone lives as long as possible!).

        But we do need to face up to the fact that we have a very inefficient allocation of housing in this country. And any housing strategy that doesn’t make it easier to tackle this imbalance (such as by providing more downsizing properties) is one that will inevitably fail.

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