High Court challenge to Secretary of State’s decision to approve 1,800 houses on Dunsfold Park

May 8, 2018

PRESS RELEASE: Dunsfold – Tuesday 8th May 2018

From Protect Our Waverley campaign

On Wednesday 2nd May, Protect Our Waverley (POW) lodged a legal ‘Section 288’ challenge in the High Court against the Secretary of State of Housing, Communities and Local Government with Waverley Borough Council (WBC), Dunsfold Airport Limited and Rutland Limited as interested parties. The appeal challenges the Secretary of State’s decision on 29th March to grant planning permission to build 1,800 houses on Dunsfold Aerodrome.

This follows POW’s High Court ‘Section 113’ challenge issued on 29th March against WBC with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government as an interested party, regarding the policies on housing targets contained in its Local Plan Part 1. The two challenges are inextricably linked because in his announcement on 29th March, the Secretary of State noted that much had changed since 2009, when planning permission had been refused for a similar proposal on the grounds that it was unsustainable. In particular, he argued that the need for housing was “massively greater”, especially with “the need to take development from the neighbouring borough of Woking, pushing up the housing requirement still further”.  It is this need, especially to take Woking’s shortfall, that is being challenged.

Furthermore, in reaching his decision on the planning application the Secretary of State failed to take into account the policies set out in the recently revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) concerning the preservation of aviation facilities; greater protection for ancient woodland and historic assets; and the appropriate use of brownfield land.

POW Chairman Bob Lees said “POW’s two legal challenges are inextricably linked. If left unchallenged, this decision would destroy irreplaceable ancient woodland and historic assets, wreck general aviation facilities – vital for business, leisure, training and emergency services – and ruin the quality of life for thousands of people for decades.” He added “Yes, of course more houses are needed, but Government policy is to build houses in the right place.  Dunsfold Aerodrome is not the right place and it should not be permitted to go ahead.”

Notes for Editors:

1.    The application by Dunsfold Airport Limited and Rutland Limited to build 1,800 houses on Dunsfold Aerodrome was approved by Waverley Borough Council in December 2016. However, in March 2017 following local pressure, the application was called in by the Secretary of State for him to determine because of his concerns about the location and its sustainability (under section 77 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990). As a result, and befitting a major and controversial development affecting thousands of people, a full Public Inquiry was held by Government Planning Inspector Philip Major from 18th July to 3rd August 2017.

2.    Waverley Borough Council adopted its Local Plan Part 1 on 20th February 2018. POW and the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) have both lodged legal challenges against it on the basis of the need for housing. The Plan provides for 2,600 houses to be built on Dunsfold Aerodrome.

3.    The consultation draft of the revised NPPF was published on 5th March 2018: paragraph 105 deals with preserving aviation facilities; paragraph 173(c) with protection for ancient woodland; paragraph 189 with protecting historic assets; and paragraph 118 with the use of brownfield land.

Protect Our Waverley Campaign

Protect Our Waverley Campaign is a group formed to campaign against the development of Dunsfold Park New Town on the Dunsfold Airfield and other unsustainable planning applications throughout the Borough of Waverley. The campaign is managed by POWCampaign Ltd. For information about POWCampaign please see the campaign’s website.   www.powcampaign.org and its companion website  www.dunsfoldvillage.co.uk

For more information please contact: Bob Lees, Chairman of the Campaign 07860 406093    bob@powcampaign.org

Press release POW s288 080218

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