DUNSFOLD PARK DEVELOPMENT
As reported over recent months, the planning application for this development has been ‘called in’ to be decided by the Secretary of State after a Public Inquiry. The Inquiry opens at the offices of Waverley Borough Council (WBC) in Godalming on 18th July this year and is estimated to last for 12 days. This has taken everyone by surprise, because there is usually some delay in making the necessary arrangements. It seems likely that the early date has been chosen to keep in step with the Examination of WBC’s Local Plan (opening on 27th June), which depends on the Dunsfold development of 1800+houses and associated facilities to meet much of the Borough’s housing needs.
The case for refusing the planning application is being made jointly by two bodies: the POW (Protect Our Waverley campaign) and the group known as the Joint Parish Councils, which in addition to Shalford PC includes eight councils from Waverley Borough and two from West Sussex. Procedure at the Inquiry will be very like that of a trial, and funding is needed for legal representation and expert evidence from planning and traffic consultants. Parish Councils in the areas which would be most affected by the development are contributing to a fund for this purpose, and in addition a fair amount of money has already been raised by the POW from fund-raising events and donations from individual residents. However, the unexpectedly early date for the Inquiry means that additional funds are urgently required.
At its April meeting Shalford PC resolved to make a contribution to the Joint PCs’ fund. In reaching this decision, Councillors took into account the consequences for the parish if the Secretary of State decides to permit the development. In order to ‘mitigate’ the additional congestion which the development would create on roads between Dunsfold and Guildford, a package of measures known as the ‘Shalford Common Works’ would be carried out. A new roundabout would be created at the junction of the Broadford Road with the Horsham Road (A281), the existing roundabout at the junction of the A281 and Kings Road (A248) would be improved and the road between the two roundabouts would also be ‘improved’. The new road system would be required to make provision for pedestrians, cyclists and buses. At the very least, these plans must involve the construction of major traffic lanes in both directions on the A281 and the loss of significant parts of Shalford Common, particularly around the cricket green, changing the character of this central part of the village for ever. A statement would be developed in consultation with GBC, detailing the process for deregistering the common and transferring the land required for the works.
In our view, this threat to the centre of Shalford village and the common would by itself be sufficient reason for supporting the Joint Parish Councils’ opposition to the development, but councillors are well aware that Chilworth and Peasmarsh will also suffer from the increase of traffic on New Road, Broadford Road and the Old Portsmouth Road, and the growth of rat-runs along narrow country lanes. The JPCs’ fund for fighting the development is being co-ordinated by Alfold Parish Council and Shalford PC will decide how much to contribute to it at the May meeting. If you share our concern about the effect this development would have on the parish, please make a donation to the fund – for details of how to do so, see below
Cheques can be made payable to Alford Parish Council and sent to them c/o Lock House Lodge, Knightons Lane, Dunsfold GU8 4NU. For details of making a BACS payment please contact