Council's 'severe impact' fear over homes planBy Elena Cresci
January 09, 2013
RUSHMOOR Borough Council has joined the chorus of Ash and Tongham residents objecting to a plan for 400 new homes in the area.
In total, 266 residents have written to Guildford Borough Council in opposition to the proposed development on land to the south of Ash Lodge Drive.
Neighbouring authority Rushmoor has also formally objected to the plans, submitted by developers Bewley Homes and A2Dominion, raising concerns about the effects such a large development between Ash and Tongham could have on infrastructure in Aldershot and Farnborough.
Head of planning at Rushmoor, Keith Holland, said: “The proposal involves development that cannot be reconciled with the National Planning Policy Framework in that it has not been demonstrated that the significant movements generated could not be accommodated adequately on the existing local and strategic transport network within Hampshire and Surrey.”
He added: “It would result in a severe impact on the road safety and operation of the local transport network.”
Rushmoor has also requested that Guildford Borough Council conduct an assessment of the potential impact and demand from the development on existing health and education facilities, as well as any effects the development could have on bats living in the area.
Waverley Borough Council has also been consulted on the application, but is yet to submit a response.
Residents objecting to the proposed development, which is the largest of its kind in Ash, have raised concerns about the increase in traffic, the loss of green space in the town and the impact the development could have on local schools, doctors and other services.
John Ferns, of Manor Road, who also spoke at the planning committee’s meeting to consider a now-accepted proposal to build 60 homes near Ash Manor School, expressed concerns about the number of homes recently approved or under consideration by Guildford Borough Council.
“Although each application has to be examined on its own facts and evidence presented, it has not gone unnoticed that within one mile of this new application, another four applications have either recently been approved or are under consideration by Guildford Borough Council, totalling 160 dwellings,” he said.
“All have been vigorously contested by the people who live in the local area.”
Mr Ferns added: “It is heartening to see that Rushmoor and Waverley councils have been included in the current list of consultees, but as they were not consulted about the 160 dwellings under sanction in the four earlier applications, they will be unaware of the whole picture.”
According to the latest application, developers hope to phase the building work over four years, with 100 homes being built per year.
Guildford Borough Council officials have said on several occasions when dealing with planning applications in Ash that there is a real need for homes and affordable housing in the borough.
Additionally, an application for a village green, which could affect the proposed development, is currently being considered by Surrey County Council.
Submitted by Graham Eyre, chairman of Ash Residents’ Association, the application argues this part of the land is used regularly by residents and therefore should be given village green status.
If the land is registered as a village green, it will subsequently be protected from development by the Enclosure Act 1857.
Ash Parish Council will hold a special planning meeting dedicated to discussing the proposed development on January 10 at the Ash Centre in Ash Hill Road. The meeting begins at 7pm and the plans can be viewed from 6pm.