First shots fired in development salvo

An architect representing the owner of the land at North Wyke Farm, Normandy (Issues and Options Site 43, SHLAA Site 2007, H16-D, 3.4 Ha) brought along some initial outline illustrations of site development to wave in front of residents and the parish council at last night’s (Wednesday 27 November 2013) parish council meeting.

There was the ‘indicative 76 dwelling’ option or the ‘maximum 88 dwelling’ option.  Both significantly in excess of the ’64 dwelling’ level of the SHLAA (Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment) site description and representing 22 dph (dwellings per hectare) and 25 dph respectively, not the suggested 18 dph.  Some suggestion of retail perhaps?

Lots of ideas about setting up local community interest groups to run the inevitable affordable homes rather than a faceless housing association (got one of those already at the Beech Lane project and they’re a nightmare!) or even manage the community-run retail outlets.  Nice man, trying to make a crust ‘guv, says he’s done it before in Sussex.

If just one site it might be interesting but when you take all 8 sites across Flexford and Normandy settlements at an increase of 30% that this represents, you’re soon over 1,000 new houses, not the 724 in the SHLAA estimates.  The true reality of development proposals dawns!

I think he and the landowner have missed the point.  The initial consultation period hasn’t even closed and here they are pushing and jostling the community in a pre-emptive strike – can’t get their noses in the trough fast enough!

That’s what you get with a borough council that’s employed a consultancy that works for developers to identify land for housing development as a speciality, that has been talking to land owners and developers in secret for five years since the Pegasus SHLAA report was released to them privately and is supine in  front of government pressure for large scale house building in the Green Belt.

Other villages in the borough Green Belt are similarly threatened, even in the Surrey Hills AONB.  They are not going to take this lying down and neither should we.  I can hear the bleating of council officers now as they tell us to ‘lie back and think of England’. What did Maggie Thatcher tell someone once? “No!” “No!” “No!”

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