FAQs

PLANNING APPLICATION

When are you submitting a planning application?

A planning application was submitted to Waverley Borough Council on 4th December 2015 and will be available to view once it has been registered in the New Year.

BACKGROUND

What is Dunsfold Park?

Dunsfold Park comprises Dunsfold Aerodrome and the adjoining business park.

Is the site brownfield or greenfield?

86% of Dunsfold Park is categorised as Brownfield (Previously Developed Land).

Who owns Dunsfold Park?

Trinity College Cambridge has owned Dunsfold Park since 2014.

Who is bringing forward these proposals?

These proposals are being brought forward by the Rutland Group, a property development, management and investment company. The Rutland Group owned Dunsfold Park between 2000 and 2014 and in partnership with TCC continues to manage the site.

Why was the site developed in the first place?

The site was developed as a WWII aerodrome by the Royal Canadian Engineers in 1942. After the war the aerodrome was leased by a charter airline until 1950, when it was acquired by the Hawker Aircraft Company. Hawker Aircraft Company eventually became a part of BAE Systems, who continued to own the airfield until 2000.

What is the site currently used for?

The aerodrome is designated as a private unlicensed airfield and business park, with some of the aerodrome buildings now housing over 100 local businesses and employing more than 700 people: the largest employment site in Waverley borough. The aerodrome is also used as a filming location for TV and films, most notably the BBC’s Top Gear programme.

Have there been proposals for re-development of the aerodrome before?

Yes. An application to build 2,600 homes was refused by Waverley Borough Council in September 2008. The application was refused at appeal in September 2009.

Your proposals were refused in 2009 – what has changed since then?

In 2009 it was considered that Waverley Borough Council had to be build 230 new homes a year to meet local housing need. This figure was set in the South East Regional Spatial Strategy. The South East Regional Spatial Strategy has now been withdrawn and Waverley Borough Council now has to build at least 519 new homes a year to meet the increased housing need

This scale of need is suggested by the Waverley and West Surrey Strategic Housing Market Assessment (October 2013) and constitutes the numbers on which the emerging Waverley Local Plan 2032 is based.

In 2009 it felt that there was available land around existing settlements on which to build 250 new homes a year. Housing need is now more than double what it was then and the land around existing settlements, identified for new homes then, is no longer sufficient. It is clear from the response to the New Local Plan Consultation that Waverley residents recognise that the greenfield approach around settlements is neither welcomed nor can it meet today’s increased housing need.

Why are you bringing forward new plans for housing?

Waverley Borough Council is currently producing a new Local Plan. This will be based on the Waverley and West Surrey Strategic Housing Market Assessment of October 2013, updated in 2014, which suggests that the borough needs to build at least 519 new homes every year. At the time of the previous application it was suggested that only 230 new homes a year were needed in Waverley.

Waverley therefore needs to provide much more housing than previously thought, and is heavily constricted as 80% of the borough is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and 61% is in the Green Belt. Dunsfold Park is not constrained by either designation.

Is there demonstrable public support for new homes at Dunsfold Park?

Yes. Waverley Borough Council held a consultation on its new Local Plan in September 2014, suggesting four scenarios that would each deliver 5,050 of the 8,500 (now 9,861) new homes needed by 2031 (now 2032):

  • Scenario 1, which suggested no development at Dunsfold Park, would require 4,450 new homes to be built on greenfields around Farnham, Godalming, Haslemere and Cranleigh.
  • Scenarios 2, 3 and 4 respectively proposed 1,800, 2,600 and 3,400 new homes at Dunsfold Park. This reduced the number of homes to be built around Farnham, Godalming, Haslemere and Cranleigh to 2,650, 1,900 and 1,200 respectively.

The consultation elicited over 4,200 responses. 80% of respondents chose scenario 4, whereby 3,400 new homes would be built at Dunsfold Park, as their preferred scenario. Scenario 3, whereby 2,600 new homes would be built at the Park, was the second most popular choice. Scenario 1, whereby no homes would be built at Dunsfold, was the least popular choice.

Why are you submitting a planning application before the Waverley Borough Council Local Plan is completed?

To help Waverley deliver more new homes to meet local and national demand, and to help give young people the opportunity to own their own home and start a family. We will also continue to promote the site for inclusion in the Waverley Borough Council Local Plan as preparation of the plan continues.

THE VISION

How many homes are proposed for Dunsfold Park?

We are currently proposing 1,800 homes at Dunsfold Park.

Why aren’t you proposing a greater number of homes, given the results of the Waverley Borough Council Local Plan consultation?

Whilst a number of alternative options are being explored as part of the Waverley Local Plan process, the Local Plan preparation has yet to be concluded.

However, we believe that it is important to determine the long-term permanent use of the site now and to deliver a range of benefits for the Borough, for local business, for existing occupiers and for the wider economy. In the current circumstances, we believe that a mixed use development providing 1,800 homes is a unique opportunity to gain consensus across the Borough. We will continue to work with Waverley Borough Council as they further explore the three options for Dunsfold (1,800 homes, 2.600 homes, 3,400 homes) as their Local Plan emerges.

Will the development provide any community facilities?

Yes:

  • A primary school
  • A health centre
  • An ecumenical church
  • A leisure and community centre
  • Shops
  • Eateries
  • Facilities for the elderley

The development could potentially provide additional facilities such as sports facilities, a museum, a 100-bed hotel and a day nursery.

Will the development provide any employment facilities?

Yes. The existing business park would remain and be expanded, adding over 30,000 sqm to the existing employment space. This will help to meet the increased demand for high-quality employment space highlighted in Waverley’s Employment Land Review 2014.

What happens to local jobs if the airfield is closed?

Only a small number of the jobs at Dunsfold are connected to aviation. The business park, Waverley’s largest employment site, is home to over 100 businesses, employing around 700 people across a range of sectors. Our proposals would expand the business park, creating room for businesses to grow and employ more people.

What type of housing and price do you envisage?

There are a range of homes proposed: from small apartments to large family houses. Detailed comments on pricing would be speculative at this stage and the price of each home will ultimately be determined by local market conditions.

Will there be any affordable housing?

Yes. The new homes built at Dunsfold Park will include affordable homes, the proportion of which will be agreed with Waverley Borough Council. New affordable homes will include socially rented and shared ownership properties, enabling working families on lower incomes to live in Waverley.

How will you provide heat and power for the new homes?

Investigation is underway to understand if a low-carbon heating network could be installed. This would mean that individual homes and buildings would not have separate boilers, but that each would connect to a central ‘energy centre’. The ‘energy centre’ would potentially include a low-carbon technology such as a ‘combined heat and power’ (CHP) engine fuelled either by natural gas or bio-gas from a local sustainable source. Detailed calculations will be undertaken during the design stages to understand the merits, constraints and overall feasibility of such a system. If a heat network is not installed, the priority would be to ensure that each home and building can be as energy efficient as it can feasibly be, and seek to reduce emissions by other means.

How will you provide water for the new homes?

The development will be water efficient, incorporating measures to reduce potable water and consumption to 105 litres per dwelling per day

Mains water would be provided to the site and detailed modelling work is currently being carried out by Thames Water.

How will you provide a sewage system for the new homes?

We currently plan to provide a self-contained package treatment plant on site, to deal with all of the waste from the development.

Will the development change any views from existing homes?

Following ongoing survey work and detailed 3d modelling of the site and the surrounding area it is considered that there would not be any significant view of the development due to the sheltered nature of the site. A full assessment is being undertaken to ensure that construction impacts are minimised and that there would be no significant impact upon surrounding properties due to the completed development. Additional mitigation such as woodland planting would be proposed where necessary.

What impact will development have on surrounding villages?

The access strategy has been developed in order to minimise impacts on villages. The measures to be delivered through the Sustainable Transport Strategy and the provision on-site of day-to-day facilities will help to minimise the levels of external car trips.

Bear in mind, that even without new homes at Dunsfold Park, traffic will need to be accommodated in the Borough, including the Cranleigh area, as decisions are reached on the new Local Plan.

Would filming for Top Gear have to re-locate if you gained planning consent?

Top Gear and other similar programmes use parts of the airfield runways during filming. Development will mean that aviation uses will cease and the existing runways will be removed and re-used during the construction process to ensure the minimal removal of materials from the site.

How will development benefit the local area?

Our proposals would create a new sustainable Surrey village with public open space and facilities, including shops and restaurants that Waverley residents will use and enjoy.

These new facilities, as well as the expanded business park, will create new local jobs and grow the local economy, increasing the amount of money Waverley Borough Council has to spend on improving local services.

As Waverley works to meet local housing need, development at the aerodrome will reduce the number of these new homes that need to be built on green fields, helping the Council provide new homes to enable families to continue living and working in the area whilst preserving the Borough’s high quality environment and rural character.

TRAFFIC AND ACCESS

How will cars access the development?

The main access to the new village will be via a new access road from the A281.

How will residents be able to travel to and from Dunsfold Park if not by car?

We will provide a high-quality bus system to link Dunsfold Park with the surrounding towns, villages and railway stations. These services are provided for the long term.

Will you be improving the existing foot / cycle links between Dunsfold Park and surrounding villages?

Where feasible we will improve footpaths and cycle routes to provide links to nearby communities and facilities including the Downs Link.

Are you planning to carry out highway improvements?

We currently propose the following off-site highway improvements:

  • Modifications to the A281 / Kings Road and A281 / Broadford Road junctions in Shalford
  • Modifications to the A281 / Station Road / Snowdenham Lane junction in Bramley
  • Modifications to the A281 / Barrihurst Lane junction
  • Modifications to the A281 / Elmbridge Road junction.

Modelling work is ongoing, including detailed discussions with Surrey county Council and this will help to refine the scope of off-site highway improvements.

What sustainable travel measures will the development incorporate?

There will also be a number of other sustainable travel measures such as the introduction of a car club and car share schemes, Including electric and hybrid vehicles, high-quality cycle routes, and a site-wide Travel Plan to promote sustainable travel choices to residents and employees.

Wasn’t the 2008 application refused because of impact on the road network?

Yes. However there is now data that shows there has been no traffic growth on the A281 since 2000. Therefore the growth assumptions made in the 2008 assessments were a significant overestimate.

In addition, new data (both from the national Travel Survey and the 2011 Census) has allowed a more refined assessment of trips to and from the site, leading to a more realistic prediction of off-site car use.

The mixed-use nature of our proposals – incorporating employment, retail, leisure and education facilities will contain much transport movement and reduce the need to ‘travel out’.

How does this relate to the Access Road application?

The Access Road application will provide a direct link between the site and the A281 and help to remove almost all traffic from the existing Stovolds Hill and Dunsfold Road to the benefit of those living on these roads

ENVIRONMENT

Is Dunsfold Park in the Green Belt?

No.

Is Dunsfold Park in the AONB?

No.

Will any trees be removed?

Existing woodland, fragments of hedgerow and trees will be preserved as far as possible with tree and woodland protection a key consideration during the development of the design. New woodland and meadows will be created. Additionally, the restoration of former field patterns will help to integrate the new country park with the surrounding landscape and reconnect wildlife habitats.

Will any existing wildlife/ecology be lost as a result of development?

The site does currently support a broad range of wildlife. Detailed surveys have been undertaken and will continue to be undertaken to determine which protected species exist on site.

This has enabled the design to be developed in such a way to ensure that wherever possible, impacts on wildlife are avoided as a first principle, and that landscape proposals will benefit the Site’s wildlife.

Mitigation will include licence works approved by Natural England, including relocation of wildlife to from areas of development to enhanced areas of the site.

Are there any impacts on archaeology or cultural heritage?

The nature of the Archaeology and Cultural Heritage resource within and surrounding the Dunsfold Park site is being analysed as part of the ongoing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The site contains no designated Heritage sites (Scheduled Monuments, Listed Buildings etc) and the baseline assessment has suggested that it contains no known archaeological sites. The site contains a small number of Historic structures associated with the war time and post-war use of the airfield site. The majority of these lie within the existing Business Park and will not be affected by the proposed development. The site lies immediately to the north of the historic Wey and Arun Canal and this feature will be preserved and enhanced as part of the development.

Is the site within the flood plain? Will there be any flood protection measures?

The site is overwhelmingly in Flood Zone 1 (Low Probability).

CONSTRUCTION

How will construction traffic, noise and other construction effects be managed if the development is approved?

Any conditions attached to planning permission, such as limiting the effects of construction noise and traffic, will need to be properly assessed and agreed with Waverley Borough Council before construction takes place.

A Construction Method / Construction Traffic / Environmental Management Plan will be submitted as a conditional matter for discussion and agreement with Waverley Borough Council. This will be approved in detail prior to commencement of development and will require traffic management details to be agreed with Waverley Borough Council.

An Environmental Impact Assessment is being undertaken for the development which is considering the likely impacts during both construction and operation of the development. Mitigation (including development of a Construction Environmental Management Plan) will be put forward to help manage impacts.

Hours of construction and noise levels will be governed by strict environmental health legislation. We expect to work normal construction working hours. It is expected that such measures would be controlled by the local planning authority through conditions imposed on any planning permission.

How long will construction take?

Development of 1,800 homes at Dunsfold Park could take approximately 8 to 13 years to complete.

CONSULTATION

Public exhibition

A public exhibition was held on 1 July at Cranleigh Arts Centre to consult on the proposals with members of the public and political stakeholders. We were pleased that 173 residents attended the exhibition, including Waverley Councillors, Surrey County Councillors, local Parish Councillors and representatives from the Surrey Advertiser and the Haslemere Herald.

Exhibition feedback

The majority of residents who attended the exhibition and filled in a feedback form expressed support for new homes at Dunsfold Park or contributed constructive comments (69%). This figure closely reflects the results of Waverley Borough Council’s Local Plan consultation, which saw 80% of respondents favour an option featuring significant numbers of new homes being built at Dunsfold Park. Feedback from the exhibition has helped to shape the proposals.