Normandy is a dispersed community made up of 5 hamlets joined together by ribbon development. From a planning point of view we are regarded as made up of two settlements, Flexford and Normandy. This has been deliberately misrepresented in the GBC evidence documents as a Large Village when it is no bigger than and has almost the same services as the combined settlements of East and West Clandon.
Within the 2003 settlement boundaries there is 585 population in Normandy and 1,199 in Flexford. Excluding mobile homes, there are 1,127 houses in Normandy overall and we are slated to receive a minimum of 724 new homes added in the next 5-10 years, nearly a two-thirds increase, 550 in Flexford settlement and the balance in Normandy settlement. Current residents fear a loss of identity for Flexford and Normandy.
The Sustainability evidence has factual errors (e.g. Normandy has no pub and no secondary school) and deliberately conflates the two settlements in order to ensure assessments of journeys on foot from the proposed new housing sites to essential local services fit within the time and distance criteria, whereas if the two settlements were separately and appropriately assessed, they would fail the sustainability tests.
All sites contain agricultural land (quality 3), some actively farmed for cereal crops, used for livestock fattening and grazing. No evidence has been collected of actual quality by physical soil sampling. Perfectly good farmland for now and an uncertain environmental and food security future will be lost for ever.
Propensity of areas to flood in Flexford and Willey Green has been overlooked; sewage back flush around Guildford Road is due to a high water table that was well-known to the developer of Old Hall Cottages
Redrawing the settlement boundaries will cause permanent breaches of the contribution land in Normandy makes to the key factors offered by Green Belt status
- preventing urban sprawl
- prevent towns merging
- safeguard countryside from encroachment
and support the position that Normandy should remain ‘washed over’ by the Green Belt acting as a buffer to Ash growth
Normandy makes a contribution to the openness of the Green Belt according to the Planning Inspectorate, acting as a transition area between the north slopes of the Hogs Back of Surrey Hills AONB and the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area [SPA] of European importance that accounts for 8% of the GB nightjar population, 10% of the GB woodlark population and 28% of the GB Dartford warbler population.
All Normandy’s eight proposed development areas are within the 400 metre-5 kilometre protection zone of the SPA. All sites require Strategic Alternative Natural Greenspace [SANG] to be found in advance before any development can be considered. The proximity of an increased human population and associated air pollution from predicted additional car journeys is a threat to the SPA.
Normandy’s role as a recognised part of the natural openness of the Green Belt in this context will be further and severely threatened if the unsubstantiated claims in the Sites Issues and Options document (para 9.58) are to be believed – no evidence whatsoever has been produced to illustrate how a further 2,700 homes could be accommodated by 2031. This is an unwarranted threat that sounds more like a developer’s charter than consultation and should be withdrawn from the document.
Taking Normandy out of the Green Belt by using the expediency of “insetting” will add further threat when used in combination with the redrawing of the settlement boundaries. All Green Belt land taken into the settlement boundary and Green Belt land already within the settlement boundary will be available for any urban-style development without redress. This will open the door to unwarranted sprawl towards Ash and the eventual creation of a conurbation from the west Guildford approaches to Aldershot.
It is obvious that the evidence base has been collected together in a manner deliberately intended to support a pre-determined strategy already agreed by councillors and to encourage agreement to intrusive Green Belt development. The Green Belt should continue to wash over Normandy.