CPRE Waverely Local Plan Green Belt Challenge Goes to Court

13th Oct Haselmere Herald

The astonishing thing here is the amount of money people have been prepared to spend JRing everything.

CAMPAIGNERS objecting to “excessive housing numbers” in Waverley Borough Council’s Local Plan went to judicial review at the High Court on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the High Court challenges by Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Surrey and Protect Our Waverley, against Waverley, the Secretary of State for Communities and Dunsfold Airport Ltd were still in full flow.

CPRE and Protect Our Waverley both object Waverley’s housing target to build 11,200 homes by 2032 is “unsustainable” given its landscape constraints and will result in further erosion of currently protected areas of the green belt.

Separately, Protect Our Waverley has challenged the SoS decision to approve outline plans for 1,800 houses at Dunsfold Aerodrome . The airfield has been allocated at least 2,600 houses in Waverley’s local plan part one, which was adopted in February.

The jury is still out on whether CPRE and Protect Our Waverley were correct to challenge Waverley’s agreement to take Woking’s unmet housing need, which has added 1,600 houses

But the gloves have come off concerning the costs incurred as a result of the High Court action, with Waverley joining Dunsfold in dismissing Protect Our Waverley’s application for its costs to be capped.

Waverley has set aside £300,000 as its “fighting fund”, but costs for CPRE and Protect Our Waverley could be limited to £10,000 each.

Waverley’s barrister Wayne Beglan maintained Protect Our Waverley was not entitled to Aarhus cost protection, because it had not supplied enough information about the financial support it could draw on from its supporters.

Dunsfold barrister David Elvan QC went further, saying: “Protect Our Waverley has pursued a concerted and well-resourced campaign against the development of Dunsfold Aerodrome for many years.

“In 2017 that campaign included: issuing a judicial review of WBC’s resolution to grant planning permission; making detailed written and oral representations against the Dunsfold allocation in Local Plan Part One; and presenting the main opposition to the grant of planning permission in the planning inquiry.

“Protect Our Waverley has been represented by leading and junior counsel and has engaged several specialist consultants. The costs of so doing exceeded £200,000.

“It is understood that those funds have been raised from the local community, primarily from a small number of individuals with a direct interest in resisting the development of Dunsfold.

“Despite its name, Protect Our Waverley appears to be exclusively concerned with Dunsfold.”

Defending the SoS decision to approve 1,800 homes at the airfield, barrister Clare Parry said: “The amount of development attributed to Dunsfold is entirely unaffected by any error in the approach to unmet need from Woking.”

Protect Our Waverley barrister Paul Stinchcombe QC maintained that the the Dunsfold Park outline planning consent for 1,800 houses was granted unlawfully on appeal, because part one of Waverley’s local plan had been adopted unlawfully.

* A government examiner has approved Waverley’s community infrastructure levy charging schedule for developers, setting out how much they must contribute towards the cost of infrastructure. The council will now seek to formally adopt the levy at full council on October 31.

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