Planners back 1,800-home Surrey aerodrome scheme

Plans for a 1,800-home development on a 248-hectare aerodrome site in Surrey have been recommended for approval by planners who concluded that the development would offer 'significant social and economic gains'.

Dunsfold Park: housing plans recommended for approval
Dunsfold Park: housing plans recommended for approval

Developer Dunsfold Park submitted its hybrid application to Waverley Borough Council for the homes and other facilities at Dunsfold Aerodrome near Cranleigh in December last year.

The application sought outline consent for the wider development, alongside full permission for the permanent change of use of existing commercial buildings on site.

The move came more than seven years after the council refused permission for a 2,600-home scheme on the site, a decision upheld by the then communities secretary John Denham in 2009.

But council planners have recommended that the revised plans be approved, subject to conditions.

A report, to be considered by the council’s planning committee next week, says that the site "is located within the countryside beyond the green belt outside any defined settlement area".

It says that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) "states that, as a core planning principle the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside shall be recognised" and that a policy in the council’s adopted Local Plan 2002 "states that building in the countryside, away from existing settlements will be strictly controlled".

"Substantial weight can now be given to this policy given that the council can demonstrate a five-year supply of housing", the report says.

However, the document goes on to say that the council’s pre-submission Local Plan Part 1 includes a "draft allocation for 2,600 homes at Dunsfold Park".

The report says: "In taking account of the current [adopted local plan policy], the principle of development would be unacceptable. However, whilst this policy has a timeless element in terms of protection of countryside beyond the green belt, account must be taken of the NPPF presumption in favour of sustainable development and its encouragement to use brownfield land as well as the pre-submission Local Plan Part 1 policies.

"The principle of the proposed development is considered to be acceptable, and ... the benefits have been found to outweigh any harm."

The council will consider the application on 14 December.


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