Save Broom and Lees
... Timeline of Significant Planning Events & Comments

The most recent in date order is at the top,
although *New* denotes both new information and that from earlier years which has recently come to light.
WBC = Waverley Borough Council.
GTC = Godalming Town Council


Date Event and outcome, if known
- More information will be added here
26 Jun 2019 Waverley BC Joint Planning Committee Meeting.
APPLICATION FOR PLANNING PERMISSION - WA/2019/0067 - Land south of Daviesites, Charterhouse, Queens Drive, Godalming.
Information about this specific application
Printed decision
Minutes of this meeting (will be linked when available)

Waverley BC's Decision is:
RESOLVED to GRANT planning permission, subject to consultation with the Secretary of State, and conditions 1 - 21 and Informatives 1 – 6 as set out in the agenda report.
14 Jun 2019 Extraordinary Policy and Management Committee Meeting of Godalming Town Council, 19 June 2019, Council Chamber, Municipal Buildings, 7p.m.
The Town Council objected to planning application WA/2019/0067 on the grounds of encroachment of the Greenbelt where exceptional special circumstances have not been met.
Minutes of this meeting
17 Apr 2019 Planning Application WA/2019/0067
Waverley website - Officers recommend matter deferred to enable an appropriate assessment (re Planning Meeting of 17 April 2019)
Letter from Natural England to Waverley (relating to the above)
10 Apr 2019 Planning Application WA/2019/0067
Waverley website - Planning recommendation for the above

3 Jan 2019 Planning Application WA/2019/0067 - Valid from 03/01/2019
Land South of Daviesites, Queens Drive, Godalming, Surrey.
Erection of 2 buildings comprising over 4,000 sq. m. of floor space up to 4 storeys in height to provide student accommodation with associated landscaping and associated works together with a car park of 77 spaces.
Applicant: The Governing Body Of Charterhouse School.
Agent: Savills
Type: Full Major Application
Comments Due By 22 Feb 2019
Target date 04 Apr 2019.

Note: in the documents the Agents state that this is part of the "Charterhouse Master Plan" (2017) setting out the aspirations to build, originally, four new boarding houses, that was revealed at the public exhibition of July 2018. These plans have been revised, so the application is slightly more modest than originally envisaged.

1. Planning Application WA/2019/0067 - go directly to the application to read the documents, including objection letters.
Suggested reading:
2. Heritage Statements - Appendix A-Heritage Assessment (Savills) 25 January 2019
21 Dec 2018 A number of residents received a letter, dated 18 December and distributed by SP Broadway, from David Armitage Director of Finance and Strategy at Charterhouse. The heading is 'Broom and Lees Fields Consultation'.

It was written to all those who provided written comment at or following the School's public exhibition held on 5th July 2018.

In summary, the letter explains that since that time the School has been reviewing the comments received and discussing its proposals with various organisations and has also met with some residents.

The School now "better understands the concerns of the local community" and is "keen to examine these further". Rather than "rush into a planning application" the School has "decided to review its proposals and re-consider the matter in the early part of 2019".

Recipients are promised that should there be any further developments David Armitage will be in contact again.
30 Nov 2018 A Governors' meeting was held at Charterhouse School and we were advised that the Broom and Lees issue would be discussed. As yet we do not know of any decision but none is likely before early 2019.
27 Oct 2018 A letter, with 373 signatories, was sent to all members of the school's governing body. They were urged to take note of both the levels of opposition and Opinion provided by a Q.C. that any application would be unsuccessful.
They were asked to halt any further action regarding Broom and Lees.
27 Oct 2018 [GTC] From Godalming Town Councillor Steve Cosser.
"As part of the ongoing work being done by your local Conservative councillors in support of local residents opposed to the proposal by Charterhouse School to build houses on Broom and Lees we have been researching the local planning context and, as part of this, a meeting has recently been held with planning staff at Waverley to clarify various issues.
We thought it might be helpful to report the conclusions reached as a result of this activity.
These can be summarised :-
1. If a planning application is submitted for housing on this site the green belt status of the land will clearly be the main planning issue to be addressed. Given that this site has not been released from the green belt as part of the recent Waverley plan approval seems most unlikely.
2. The case put forward by Charterhouse for special treatment is weak and it is hard to imagine it could be viewed as outweighing the harm done by putting a large scale housing development on this site.
3. The proposal put forward at the public exhibition is of much too high a density for a site of this size and the density and layout is completely out of keeping with surrounding development.
4.The loss of playing fields is likely to be opposed by Sport England and is also contrary to Waverley’ s own policies on sports field provision.
5. Godalming is meeting its requirement for additional housing and there is no need for any substantial new developments of this kind.
It seems clear to me that whilst this site remains in the green belt the chances of Charterhouse being successful with an application in support of their current proposal are somewhere between slim and zero.
There are however no certainties in life and it is of course important that we all remain vigilant and that the excellent campaigning work we have seen to date continues.
I remain happy to discuss any of this with local residents.
Cllr. Steve Cosser"
25 Oct 2018 Latest news from the Campaign
One of our Borough Ward Councillors has reported a very useful meeting with the Head of Planning to better understand Waverley’s current thinking about the proposed development at Broom and Lees.

In summary, Waverley is taking a very robust approach to the proposed application and continues to resist attacks on the Green Belt. B&L was not put forward for release during the recent consultations and the council has rejected much smaller householder applications on local Green Belt in the past.

The suggested ‘benefits’ of the development are not seen to be in the public interest and the site would represent over-development and poor design and out of keeping with its surroundings. Moreover, Godalming is meeting its requirement for housing and therefore no new proposals are required.

Editor’s note:
The size and scale of this development means that would almost certainly go to the Secretary of State and public enquiry, resulting in high costs and damaging reputational risk within the local community in which the school is embedded.

While Waverley’s stance is extremely pleasing – and warrants the community’s wholehearted support – it remains essential that the present campaign maintains its momentum.
24 Oct 2018 Article in the The Times, 24 Oct 2018, page 2.
"Lack of paths on new estates forces people into their cars", by Graeme Paton, Transport Correspondent.

The journalist draws attention to housing estates, especially those away from town centres, that are being built without footpaths or green spaces. His comments are based on "analysis of residential development in England". The article points out that lack of pavements increases car use as cars are being used for every journey and is based on a study by the campaign group Transport for New Homes (who were quoted in The Times article of 24 Oct).

Within our community the July 2018 exhibition plans for Broom and Lees show a site without any clearly distinguished internal site pavements and a plan for twenty one homes on a Binscombe field within the Green Belt is currently going through planning at Waverley BC (WA/2018/1525) that has internal pavements, but nothing roadside to connect the site with the community.
28 Sep 208 Article and large photograph on the front page of the Surrey Advertiser, 28 Sep 2018.
The school was urged to reconsider its proposals to sell off its playing field in prime Green Belt at a roadside protest by residents.
We have images on the Pictures page.
28 Sep 2018 Article in the Surrey Advertiser, 28 Sep 2018 - Extract
Cut to housing projection.
"Waverley needs around 3,000 houses fewer than previously thought, according to official figures released last Thursday.
The Office of National Statistics has cut its projections for the number of households in the borough from 56,871 in 2032 to 53,849.
These figures would reduce by around 25% the number of new houses needed in the borough between 2018 and 232, the period covered by the Local Plan that was adopted in February 2018. ...
... a council spokesman said "Waverley .... can confirm the housing requirement set out in the current ... Local Plan was agreed by a planning inspector ... This took into account the latest household projections at the time and therefore the new household projections published last week do not affect the current local plan
".
21 Sep 2018 Letter to the Surrey Advertiser, 21 Sep 2018 - Extract
from David Gill, Acting Chairman, Surrey Playing Fields.
[The thrust of the letter was about Spelthorne but Mr. Gill, who previously worked from Waverley BC, makes some significant comments]
"Whereas the Surrey Playing Fields (just like the local authority) are strong advocates or the promotion of active and healthy lifestyles, we do have huge concerns about the loss here (i.e. Spelthorne) and around the county of valuable playing fields and open green spaces.
Surely we all have a responsibility to safeguard them not just for today but for future generations.
" ...
"Remember, once gone, it is gone for ever".
7 Sep 2018 An excellent interview was given by Maxine Taylor, a member of the Save Broom and Lees Steering Committee, on BBC Surrey's Drive Time in which she robustly argued the case for the protection and retention of Green Belt within the Borough and pointed out that Waverley has already rejected the site as unsuitable for development. Listeners were also reminded that Waverley is fully able to meet its future housing needs without further compromising protected Green Belt space and so the development of Broom and Lees is totally unnecessary.
6 Sep 2018 Eagle Radio (Report)
Charterhouse school to sell off playing fields.
30 Aug 2018 A QC was instructed by a member of the Steering Committee to provide advice on our Save Broom and Lees Campaign and discussions are continuing.
17 Aug 2018 Letter to the Surrey Advertiser, 17 Aug 2018 - Extract
from Steve Williams, Charterhouse Ward resident.
..."In terms of this proposed sale of land for inappropriate housing development, it seems the school is set to override the clear objections of the community and submit a planning application in the autumn.
This would be a clear example of the school riding roughshod over the views of local residents in its own relentless pursuit of profit
." ...
13-14 Aug 2018 Residents noted that Broom and Lees was surveyed by Warner Surveys.
10 Aug 2018 Letter to the Surrey Advertiser, 10 Aug 2018 - Extract
from Susan Ryland, Green Party (Guildford and Waverley) and Guildford BC Councillor
"We should remember that green belt is vital to controlling air quality, maintaining wildlife corridors, and preventing urban sprawl' (with all its concomitant impact).
.. the use of 'exceptional circumstances' for building houses on green belt has, in my view, been cynically exploited.
The Charterhouse proposal is simply a fundraiser for the school with no concern for, or interest in, genuinely affordable housing for local community needs.
As a piece of diplomacy by the school, it has failed miserably, demonstrating that it cares little for the impact it has on its neighbours. Charterhouse should not, therefore, in my view, submit a planning application in the Autumn
".
3 Aug 2018 Letter from David Armitage, Director of Finance and Strategy (Charterhouse School), dated 3 August re Feedback from the public exhibition, summarising the main points raised by residents in their responses.
The feedback is being reviewed and this process is likely to take until the end of September.
Prior to any formal planning application, a further exhibition and consultation will be held (date will be notified to residents).
1 Aug 2018 [GTC] Three of our ward councillors and one councillor who lives in the ward (Cllrs Cosser, Reynolds, Gordon-Smith and Bolton) met the bursar of Charterhouse and their agent, at Charterhouse's request.
The councillors confirmed the substantial local opposition and residents grave concerns over development in the Green Belt.
Late July 2018 [GTC] Steve Cosser, a Conservative Town Councillor for the Charterhouse Ward, has given us permission to use the following extract of one of his postings:
..."in meetings I and other Conservative councillors have had with the school and their agents we have made clear the overwhelming local opposition to this proposal.
Some of us those I have spoken to have asked me what my own view is on the proposal as their local representative. I have made clear that I do not support their current proposal. We have already largely met our housing targets for the Godalming area and there is no need or justification for taking further green belt land for housing"
. ...
30 July 2018 [WBC] SO/2018/0008
Comment to Waverley BC from the Godalming Trust's Planning sub-committee following their recent review of applications.
Read their comment
24 July 2018 [WBC] SO/2018/0008
Decision Notice. Sent to Savills re their request of 3 July.
Broom and Lees Playing Field Hurtmore Road Godalming.
The proposed development would not be EIA development.
Read the notice in full.
23 July 2018 [WBC] SO/2018/0008
Waverley's response to Savills request of 3 July.
It is ... recommended that the proposed scheme does not constitute EIA development (Environmental Impact Assessment). The site exceeds the relevant threshold.
Read the response in full (it includes a large number of neighbourhood comments up to 23 July).
17 July 2018 End of the period that Charterhouse allowed for responses to their exhibition on 5 July.
13 July 2018 Surrey Live (Report)
Private school in Godalming plans to sell playing field to housebuilder for 132 homes
12 July 2018 High Court Challenge and Partial Judgment re Waverley's Local Plan (from Waverley CC website)

"A High Court judge heard the challenges against Waverley’s Local Plan and the decision to grant planning permission for Dunsfold Aerodrome. Mr Justice Lewis dismissed claims that Waverley and the Local Plan Inspector failed to consider environmental constraints (in the context of calculating Waverley’s objectively assessed need) and confirmed that both the council and the Inspector correctly applied the two-stage approach as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)".

"However, the council will still need to go to a full hearing on a technical ground relating to Woking’s unmet need allocation; the key issue being how the Inspector calculated the final figure. The hearing is not based on the principle of attributing Woking’s unmet need to Waverley but the lawfulness of the Inspector’s reasoning on the issue. The council will participate in a full hearing on this technical ground later this year".
Read the report in full.
5 July 2018 Public exhibition regarding proposals for new homes on Broom and Lees field, held in the Ben Travers Theatre, Charterhouse.

Those who visited the exhibition commented adversely on both planning and non-planning issues including:

the Green Belt;
the lack of real information about the school's plans;
the unrealistic figures provided regarding vehicle use by householders who are expected to own at most one car if they live there, make only one journey by car from their home in the morning, being told they will have to bicycle to the station, etc;
the road, rail, education and health service provision;
the narrowness of the approaches to the site from central Godalming and the A3 via both Hurtmore and Priorsfield Road;
the fact that although Charterhouse claims to be the town's biggest employer, most people living in the town work elsewhere;
the school has very few pupils from Godalming;
the effects on residents in the Mark Way area, on Hurtmore and Priorsfield Road, on Frith Hill and down Charterhouse Road;
the short notice of the invitation, which many regard as the bare minimum, because many people are away - perhaps a case of burying bad news?
3 July 2018 [WBC] SO/2018/0008
Broom and Lees Playing Field Hurtmore Road Godalming.
Request to Waverley Borough Council (by Savills) for Screening Opinion for the proposed residential development of 132 dwellings, i.e. EIA Development (Environmental Impact Assessment).
23 June 2018 Letter from David Armitage, Director of Finance and Strategy (Charterhouse School), dated 23 June and sent to 1052 residential and business addresses advising of a public exhibition on 5 July to discuss proposals for new homes on Broom and Lees field.
11 June 2018 The Godalming and Farncombe Neighbourhood Plan group has prepared a comprehensive Neighbourhood Plan
Visit the Town Council's Neighbourhood Plan, 2017 - 2032 site to read and/or download the documents of Draft 3.3 (Feb 2018).
February 2018 Waverley BC's Local Plan, Part One, adopted.
It shows that Broom and Lees is not only protected as part of the Green Belt (policy RE2) but is also part of an Area of Great Landscape Value (policy RE3).
January 2018 Newly appointed headmaster and Governing Body take over the running of Charterhouse School.
2016
*New*
[WBC] With reference to the FOI request (see Downloads 26 Oct 2018) that led to the information published.

Two documents exist that were sent to Waverley by Savills on Charterhouse School's behalf when submissions were requested during the formation of the Local plan in 2016. Significantly, much of the text is word for word.

1. Savills on behalf of Charterhouse - Green Belt. It was suggested that the Green Belt boundaries should be amended, to remove Charterhouse and its surrounding land, plus Broom and Lees from the Green Belt.

2. Savills on behalf of Charterhouse - future development. They did not consider the Local Plan to be sound. It did not meet the development requirements of the school. Savills/Charterhouse requested for the following statement to be included in the Local Plan:
"Charterhouse is one of the largest employers in the District. The School is internationally renowned and has a positive social and economic effect on Godalming and the wider area. The School is likely to need to develop and possibly expand over the plan period and the Council will work positively with the School to plan for its development and potential expansion".
It was not.
[We observe that this was repeated at the 2018 exhibition and in the FOI documents of 2018.]

It is worth noting that neither of the proposals submitted in 2016 was included in the Local Plan. However, the information does highlight Savills/Charterhouse's persistence in arguing the same points and tells us that this process has been on their radar for over 2½ years - no one should be fooled into thinking it will suddenly go away.

To read or download the two .pdf files, Google Waverley Charterhouse Savills and they appear on screen as Savills on behalf of Charterhouse.
6 May 1992 [WBC] WA/1992/0435
Granted. Erection of a wooden storage shed.
Charterhouse Broom And Lees Playing Field, Hurtmore Road.
[This was the only other planning application affecting Broom and Lees, apart from 2 tree applications, since 1976]
12 Oct 1976 [WBC] WA/1976/0341
Refusal, shown in a decision notice from Surrey County Council and County Planning Authority available on Waverley BC web site, for:

Public open space 7 acres (2.83 Ha) approx. 25 Detached houses with accompanying gardens/private open space access and parking and landscaping 10 acres approximately (outline).

1. The site forms part of the Unallocated land within the Town Map Area which, by virtue of Amendment No. 43 approved by the Secretary of State for the Environment on 7 February 1974, Paragraph 6, is subject to the general principles of the Metropolitan Green Belt pending the preparation of a structure or informal interim local plan, and the development proposed in application WA76/341 conflicts with that policy as defined in Paragraph 3 of the Amendment Written Statement.

2. The area of land shown for this development in this application is defined for public open space purposes on the Non-Statutory Godalming Town Map. The Local Planning Authority considers that this provision should not be prejudiced by the development of this area of land.

3. The proposed development would erode part of the green wedge of open land which extends inwards to the town from the open country around Godalming. This open area of land, in the opinion of the Local Planning Authority, makes a significant contribution to the attractive semi-rural character of this part of Godalming and its development would, therefore, be detrimental to this special character which it is the policy of the Local Planning Authority to protect.

4. In the opinion of the Local Planning Authority the need for the proposed development has not been established such as to outweigh the compelling planning objections to the development as set out above.
11 Oct 1972
*New*
[WBC] DO217/72
Application by Bovis New Homes Southern Ltd. for 31 detached houses and garages, with estate roads on approx 8.7 acres [=3.5 hectares] forming the western part of the field known as Broom and Lees (about half of B&L).
Refused.

The key reasons for Refusal were:

1. "... it is intended to preserve the character of land not otherwise shown for development within the Town Map area" ... re Par 4, para. 7, Written statement referring to the Surrey Development Plan (1971). This development "does not fall within those categories."

2. "This development erodes part of green wedge of open land which extends inwards to the town from the open country. This green wedge together with the adjoining areas of residential development is an area of open spaces and mature trees of special character".

3. The application conflicts with planning policy to protect those green wedges and would be detrimental to local area.

Note that "the green wedge" is known as the Green Belt today.