The Surrey Branch of CPRE is challenging the adoption by Waverley Borough Council of its Local Plan: Part 1 Strategic Policies and Sites.
CPRE Surrey has launched this challenge on the grounds that the Planning Inspector who examined the draft Plan, Mr Jonathan Bore, “failed to take into account the environmental constraints and specifically the harm to the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the London Metropolitan Green Belt”.
Mr Bore – who is also the Planning Inspector for the Guildford Local Plan – increased the housing targets for Waverley in order to accommodate half of the “unmet housing need” from Woking Borough, for reasons that CPRE describes as “inexplicable and perverse”.
The three boroughs – Waverley, Guildford and Woking – together comprise the West Surrey Strategic Housing Market Area. CPRE has described the housing numbers for the whole of the West Surrey area as “excessive and unsustainable” and has called for a significant reduction in the numbers due to environmental and planning constraints, including AONB and Green Belt.
Last month Waverley Borough Council adopted the Local Plan: Part 1 Strategic Policies and Sites after the Inspector had increased its housebuilding targets.
CPRE Surrey Branch Director Andy Smith said: “The Inspector’s decision to increase the housing figure for Waverley will inevitably result in loss of countryside in the AONB and Green Belt. This lack of regard for policies of restraint cannot be right. The trustees of CPRE Surrey felt compelled therefore to issue a claim in the High Court against the adoption of the Waverley Local Plan. We cannot stand idly by and witness yet more ‘protected’ countryside being lost to housing development, especially when this new development will do nothing to address genuine local housing needs.”
CPRE submitted its application for a Judicial Review to the High Court on Thursday 29 March. Two other legal challenges to Waverley Borough Council’s adoption of the Local Plan were submitted on the same day, one of which is from the local action group Protect Our Waverley (POW).