Berkeley Homes / Howard of Effingham Development
EFFINGHAM LIAISON GROUP
Following the planning permission given to the development on appeal, the Effingham Liaison Group was set up to discuss the final plans with Berkeley Homes, with the aim of getting the best outcome for Effingham from the development. The Group is made up of parish councillors and members of the Effingham Residents Association committee, and is coordinated by borough councillor Liz Hogger. Notes of the meetings of the Liaison Group are available below:
THE PLANNING PROCESS
The Planning Refusal
The planning application (14/P/02109) from Berkeley Homes to rebuild the Howard of Effingham School on Effingham Lodge Farm, paid for by enabling development of 295 new homes, was refused at Guildford Borough Council's Planning Committee meeting on 9 March 2016. Reasons for refusal included:
- Inappropriate development in the Green Belt, with an insufficent case for very special circumstances, and effectively merging Effingham with Little Bookham
- Damage to the rural character of Effingham village, to the Conservation Area and to the setting of Listed buildings
- No provision of affordable housing
- Possibility of a severe impact on local highways
You can access the Parish Council's research data presented at the 9 Dec meeting here. The Parish Council's objection to the planning application can be viewed here and the relevant appendices can be viewed here.
The Planning Appeal
Berkeley Homes and The Howard Partnership Trust appealed against the refusal of planning permission, and a Public Inquiry before a Planning Inspector Mr David Morgan was held from 16 May - 2 June 2017 (Planning Inspectorate reference APP/Y3615/W/16/3151098). Effingham Parish Council was granted 'Rule 6(6)' status at the Inquiry, meaning they were a full party to the Inquiry, supporting the Borough Council's refusal of the application.
The Parish Council's Statement of Case submitted to the Planning Inspectorate prior to the Inquiry can be viewed or downloaded using the links below:
The Public Inquiry 16 May - 2 June 2017
Four parish councillors and two expert witnessses gave evidence at the Inquiry on behalf of the Parish Council, and barrister Mr Scott Stemp advised on the evidence and acted as advocate. Parish Council key documents from the Inquiry can be viewed or downloaded using the links below:
Highways Proof of Evidence by parish councillor Cliff Hackett
Education Proof of Evidence by parish councillor Paula Moss
School Builidngs Proof of Evidence by parish councillor Keith Cornwell
Planning Policy Proof of Evidence by parish councillor Liz Hogger
Heritage Proof of Evidence by expert witness Peter Bell of Asset Heritage Consulting
Ecology Proof of Evidence by expert witness Paul Whitby of The Ecology Co-op
Closing Submission by barrister Scott Stemp of No 5 Barristers Chambers
Press release following close of Inquiry
Further documents from Guildford Borough Council and the Appellants can be found on the Borough Council website: Berkeley Home - HoE application.
The Appeal was allowed by the Secretary of State on 21 March 2018.
Effingham Parish Council reluctantly decided they were unable to challenge the Appeal decision, since the Council's barrister Scott Stemp advised there was no realistic basis for a challenge in the High Court, and the risk of costs being awarded against the Council would be very high. A summary of the advice is available here.
The Parish Council's former Chairman Arnold Pindar said "This is a devastating result for the village. The Parish Council and many local residents are deeply angry and upset, but sadly we cannot risk local tax-payers’ money in a legal challenge when we have clear advice that there are insufficient grounds.” See the Council's press release here.
Preliminary Comments and HoE Liaison Group
The Parish Council chaired a Liaison Group to discuss issues and proposals regarding the proposed joint venture between Berkeley Homes and the Howard of Effingham School, before the planning application was submitted by Berkeley Homes to Guildford Borough Council. These discussions were Without Prejudice, meaning that all discussions which took place were separate from any Parish Council assessment of future planning applications and would have no impact on the decision of the Parish Council regarding an application. Representatives from GBC Planning Department attended all meetings and all minutes of those meetings are publicly available.
Please click here to view preliminary comments which were sent by the Parish Council to Guildford Borough Council, Without Prejudice, on housing provision, design requirements and Section 106 contributions.