An update sheet was tabled at
the meeting and this is attached at Annex A.
A site visit was conducted last
month and was well attended by Members.
Caroline Smith, Planning
Stephen Jenkins, Deputy
Planning Development Manager
Jeffrey NG, Planning
Kirsty Wilkinson, Senior
Transport Development Planning Officer
Nancy El-Shatoury, Principal
Nick Sutcliffe, local resident,
made the following points:
- Concerned about the
absence of a condition to control HGV access routes on arrival at
- The restriction
allows 7.5 tonne HGVs on an access only basis but the road is too
narrow to allow any other vehicle to pass a HGV when coming the
- The report states
that a condition was recommended by the County Highway Authority
but the report does not reveal what this suggested condition would
- The case is built on
the Green Belt report which fails to reveal the other sites that
were available at the time of submission of this
- Raised with the
applicant company’s Managing Director (MD) that Chambers
Waste Management site, located in Burpham, was
available. The MD advised this was
ruled out as it was too expensive; however very special
circumstances does not operate on this basis.
- Questioned what
challenge was made to the dossier of sites considered by the
applicant and whether it was independently reviewed.
- Concerned with the
analysis of the very special circumstances case.
Ross Dibsdall, local resident,
made the following points:
- Objections based on
safety and suitability of the development in the area.
- Cobbett Hill Road has
lanes with a width of 2.2m in places.
HGVs can be up to 2.55m wide. The site
is already used by a coach and truck breakdown company, therefore
there is a high probability of two large vehicles meeting and being
unable to pass one another.
- HGVs veering into the
opposite carriageway is a safety hazard to other road users, and
video evidence of this has been circulated to Members. The video shows a TGM lorry illegally accessing
the site from the A323.
- The Earth Station has
B1 use, but this paper facility requires B2 use therefore it cannot
be located here.
- Site is in the Green
Belt, on SSSI land, the road is unsafe for larger vehicles;
therefore no clear reason why this should be considered as a
special circumstances case.
- Littering is still
possible despite the three metre high fence.
Nick Williams, local resident,
made the following points:
- Objects to the
application as an increase in HGV traffic is unsuitable for the
- A map, several
photographs and a video have been circulated to
- Applicant states 154
HGV movements per week. These HGVs will
be 18, 26 and 32 tonnes. The applicant
company’s catchment area is Farnham and
Guildford. Due to the 7.5 tonne weight
restriction on the smaller lanes, the only alternative route from
Guildford would be past Fox Corner, with a near 90 degree turn, and
through Pirbright Village. This would
result in a large increase of HGVs in our village which will be
highly detrimental to the environment.
- The applicant’s
statement that HGVs would all use the A331 is misleading and highly
- Cobbett Hill junction
with the A324 is already dangerous.
- Residents of Cobbett
Hill say HGVs are flouting the law, ignoring the restriction on a
regular basis. The video circulated to
Members shows this.
- Agreements regarding
the routing will be unenforceable.
Robert White, Operations
Manager, TGM environmental, made the following points in
- TGM environmental
operated for 20 years from a site on the West Horsley estate. 12
months ago, due to the redevelopment of the estate for the Grange
Park Opera Company, TGM had to vacate the site and seek a new local
site to service the customer base they had established.
- The operation at West
Horsley Estate was based next to tenanted farm cottages and within
100m of the main house without causing any disturbance or
disruption to the residents or management of the
- Our operations are
managed to the highest environmental standards and controls for our
industry and we will be good neighbours to the residents of Cobbett
- In the event that
Planning Permission is approved, I will be based at Cobbett Hill
and once the site is operational, I will be easily contactable in
the event residents have any questions or concerns.
Adrian Lynham, Head of Waste
and Resource Management, WYG- applicant’s agent, made the
following points in response:
- This is a minor
development for cardboard and paper recycling to replace an
existing local facility.
- Numerous technical
reports were submitted alongside the application; including a Green
Belt alternative sites assessment. Over
40 other potential sites were considered however none of these were
considered to be suitable. The
applicant made enquiries about the Chambers site that was mentioned
by one of the residents, however they were unwilling to sell to TGM
on the basis that they were a competitor.
- A habitat screening
assessment was submitted alongside a transport statement, noise and
light assessments, surface water management scheme and a site
management scheme to ensure the site would be environmentally
- Waste operations
usually require an Environmental Permit. This operation is exempt from this requirement as
it is a clean and low key operation, which should provide some
assurance to residents.
- The site would still
be regulated and monitored by the Environment Agency.
- In line with the
officer recommendation to permit subject to conditions, I hope you
will be able to grant planning permission.
Keith Witham, Local Member,
made the following points:
- Unanimous concern
expressed by all four local Parish Councils.
- Residents have
commented that the officer report incorrectly categorises the site
as an active industrial site with planning permission for general
industrial and storage purposes.
General industrial use is in fact B2 and is not appropriate in
residential or sensitive areas. The
permission granted was for B1 offices, research and light
- Officer report fails
to note the 2003 Guildford Local Plan identifies that the site lies
outside the defined settlement boundary within the area of open
countryside and designated Green Belt.
- There is a
presumption of inappropriate waste regarding policy CW6-
Development in the Green Belt.
- There is no analysis
of where the waste arises from and voluntary restraints and
informatives here are considered to be insufficient.
- There is no
assessment to the inappropriateness or degree of harm to the Green
- Alternative sites
were listed in the report, however many sites were stated as being
“not compatible with TGM’s requirements”, even
though they have a variety of industrial uses and some are better
suited in Green Belt terms.
- I ask the Committee
to consider refusal due to inappropriate development within the
Green Belt, not consistent with planning permission 15/P/00183 for
B1 use only, not consistent with the current Guildford Local Plan,
and not consistent with policy CW6- development within the Green
points made during the discussion:
- The case officer
informed Members that there was a small typographical error in
paragraph 131 of the report and that the second sentence should
read: “Ash Parish Council and Pirbright Parish Council have
also raised their concerns in that the applicant has not sufficiently demonstrated very special circumstances to
justify inappropriate development in the Green
- Members stated that
having visited the site, it was well suited for the applicant and
there would be no harm to the Green Belt because the site already
exists and was in poor condition.
- Members commented
that whilst the road had no restriction for vehicles at present,
the application would allow for routing conditions to be
imposed. Furthermore, with 154 HGV
movements per week in a 60 hour operation meant this equated to 2.5
HGV movements per hour which was not considered to be
- Members sought
clarity on the difference between B1 and B2 use. The Deputy Planning Development Manager explained
that the Surrey Waste Plan (SWP) policy CW5 gave priority to
allocate sites that were industrial and employment
sites. The officer referred to general
industrial and storage uses in the report, however there is a
footnote explaining the permissions that had been granted by
Guildford Borough Council. It was
explained that the report does not refer to a B2 use, but instead
an industrial use. This application is
for a waste use and it is acknowledged that it is for a different
use to its current use, however the SWP policy acknowledges that
priority should be given to existing uses that have some industrial
use or employment sites and that fits within this
In response to a question regarding consistency with
the Guildford Local Plan, the Deputy Planning Development Officer
explained that the officer report acknowledges the Guildford Local
Plan and its status and that it carries some weight in the
consideration of the application. A
Member informed the Committee that the new Guildford Local Plan had
recently been approved by Guildford Borough Council and was due to
be submitted to the Inspector.
A Member highlighted that it was important to
remember that this is not a paper recycling facility, but simply a
bulking facility to be based on an active industrial site before
the waste is transferred elsewhere.
Members noted that Surrey and Oxfordshire were
recently announced as having the highest rate of recycling in the
country, at 57.7%, demonstrating the authorities’ hard work
with Districts and Boroughs to attain excellent
results. Furthermore, recycling sites
were of benefit to Surrey’s landfill sites and to the
residents of Surrey.
A Member raised concern that a majority of the
alternative sites considered were in the Green Belt and did not
feature in the Surrey Waste Plan, therefore special circumstances
issue had not been fully overcome. The
Deputy Planning Development Manager explained that the site
assessment report acknowledged that Surrey has over 70% Green
Belt. The location of the site in
relation to the operator’s catchment area had to be taken
into account so to minimise the impact of HGVs. The scale of the development compared to other
waste sites was also considered, but the assessment is just one of
the factors when considering a special circumstances
Members sought clarity to the number of HGV
movements as there were two contradictory figures in the officer
report. The Planning Development
Manager confirmed that this operation would entail 154 movements
A Member commented that goods vehicle operating
license conditions were more stringent than planning conditions,
and local communities can report any concerns regarding breaches
into the Central Licensing office at any point.
It was questioned as to how the conditions would be
enforced. The Transport Development
Planning Officer explained that the routing conditions had been
agreed with the applicant to ensure minimal use of Cobbett Hill
Road by HGVs. The Principal Lawyer
explained that if complaints about non-compliance were made,
officers would investigate. Officers
would contact the operator in the first instance and explain the
need to comply with conditions. If they
continued to fail to do so, the next step would be to serve a
breach of condition notice requiring them to comply with
conditions. If they failed to do this,
the next step would be prosecution at Magistrates
court. This has been done in the
past. The Principal Lawyer also
commented that officers rely upon residents to inform them of
breaches. Enforcement officers also
conduct checks when they can.
The Chairman moved the revised recommendation
including the information on the update sheet. There were eight votes for and three votes
against, therefore the recommendation to permit was
That application GU17/P/01585-
COBBETT HILL EARTH STATION, COBBETT HILL ROAD, NORMANDY, GUILDFORD,
SURREY, GU3 2AA- be PERMITTED subject to the
conditions outlined in the report and update sheet.