Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has raised serious concerns about the proposed development site at the Royal Junior School, off Portsmouth Road in Hindhead.

The concerns were raised in Surrey Hills AONB’s additional submission to Waverley Borough Council’s (WBC) Local Plan Part Two (LPP2) inspector’s matters.

The Royal Junior School site has a draft allocation in WBC’s LPP2 for approximately 90 new homes, including affordable housing, which proposes to retain and convert the principal school building to new apartments as well as family homes.

The Surrey Hills AONB submission said: “The change of circumstances in relation to the Royal Junior School at Hindhead – following the allowing of the appeal for 50 dwellings at the Red Court site south of Haslemere – points to the school’s allocation for 90 dwellings as being a major development in the AONB that is unsustainable and no longer justified.

“To accommodate 90 dwellings on this site would involve extensive development over undeveloped open parts of the site and could not reasonably be expected to be confined to the conversion of the original country house and redevelopment of the school buildings and car park.”

In response, a Waverley Borough Council spokesperson said: “During the recent Local Plan Part Two hearing session on Matter 7 (Housing Allocations – Haslemere and Hindhead) held on Tuesday, July 19, the Inspector asked for the council’s views on the revised position set out in the Surrey Hills AONB board’s hearing statement.

“The council responded that the number of homes that are required to be delivered in Haslemere means we have to consider sites outside settlements, starting with brownfield sites, such as the Royal Junior School.

“We also noted that the AONB board’s hearing statement recognises that the site is not the most sensitive location with regards to AONB.

“We now await the Inspector’s comments on the matter.”