COUNCILLORS have given the green light for 105 homes on land to the west of Green Lane, Weybourne - despite concerns over the proximity of overhead power cables to the proposed dwellings and children’s playground.
The revised application, by Lamron Developments Management Ltd, was granted outline planning permission by Waverley’s joint planning committee on Wednesday last week, after the applicant reduced the proposed number of homes from 120 to 105 in accordance with the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan.
But, although councillors backed the plans 19 votes for to just one against, many questioned the wisdom of building homes, and a children’s play area, so close to a low-hanging power line crossing the south-east corner of the site.
Scottish and Southern Energy has advised that no homes should be built within 12.93 metres of the power lines, and the applicant has amended its scheme accordingly.
However, two homes remain at the very limit of the ‘Safety Clearance Zone’ and most contentiously the power lines run directly overhead a proposed children’s play area.
Committee chairman, Hindhead councillor Peter Isherwood, expressed a preference for the power lines to be buried underground, while Chiddingfold and Dunsfold member John Gray added they were so close to the play area children could “swing off the power lines”.
Jerry Hyman, councillor for Farnham Castle and the sole member to vote against the application, added: “I’m not sure I would want my kid sleeping in a bedroom so close to those power lines.
“Certainly we’ve got a kid’s play area where we are going to have to rule that you can’t go and fly a kite, and I think to some extent we are flying a kite here. I don’t like the quart into a pint pot idea that we’ve got at this site.”
Mr Hyman also expressed concerns that the access road, at just 4.18 metres wide “the width of two parking spaces”, would be too narrow for a fire engine or HGV to pass a car.
Responding, officers said the applicants had heeded the advice of the utility company and county highways authority, and as such had done everything required of them.
Ian Shanks, one of 124 people to object to the development, also raised concerns over the impact of the scheme on the Weybourne crossroads - with an appeal pending to overturn Waverley’s refusal of planning permission for a further 140 homes just 100 metres further down Lower Weybourne Lane, and some 3,800 new homes being built in nearby Aldershot.
This gained some traction with members who sympathised with, and in some cases shared Mr Shanks’ concerns. But many reiterated the fact Surrey’s highways department had not objected to the development.
Bourne councillor Carole Cockburn explained that the site was included in the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan in close consultation with local residents.
However, she successfully requested officers add an ‘informative’ to the outline planning consent requiring the applicant to work closely with the community on the scheme’s final layout, scale, landscaping and design.
Lamron Developments has indicated it intends to sell the site once outline planning consent has been achieved. But in any event, a further detailed planning application will be required for the development to proceed.