Today was devoted to evidence from Waverley Borough Council (WBC).
In the morning, WBC’s transport consultant, Mrs Vera Lamont from Mayer Brown, gave evidence. Our QC, Paul Stinchcombe, pressed her on what had changed since 2009 when WBC had defended the refusal of a similar application from Dunsfold Park. She argued that the scheme was smaller and mitigation was now possible. The discussion ranged over the lengths of queues at Bramley Crossroads during peak hours, HGVs, diversions on to minor roads, the viability of the bus service and the extent of reliance on cars. However, it was clear that Mrs Lamont had in effect done a literature review: her report contained very little original work. (Remember that the responsibility for transport issues lies with Surrey County Council, not WBC.)
In the afternoon, Mr John Adams of Deloitte Real Estate, gave evidence on planning matters. As before, Mr Stinchcombe pressed him on what had changed since WBC in 2009. Mr Adams’ basic reply was the need for housing. There was much discussion of the relative importance of the adopted Local Plan (2002) and the emerging Local Plan; Mr Stinchcombe argued that the adopted Plan carried significant weight and drew attention to the apparent inconsistencies in WBC’s position on this in respect of refusal of the Springbok application, the Planning Inquiry on which is running concurrently. Mr Adams argued that the Sprinkbok application was different in scale and, unlike Dunsfold Park, offered no employment opportunities. Mr Stinchcombe also raised the question of the extent to which the policy on Dunsfold Park in the emerging Plan would require redrafting following the recent Examination-in-Public; and the relationship between the Dunsfold Park planning application and the emerging Plan (“the prematurity argument”). There was little agreement between Mr Stinchcombe and Mr Adams.
Both witnesses provided the opportunity for Mr Stinchcombe to make a strong case for us.
Tomorrow the evidence from Dunsfold Park will commence, starting at 10am.