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19/P/00580 | Erection of two buildings, laying of hardstanding, associated engineering operations (consisting of the areas of hardstanding, a new track, a retaining wall and ground levelling) and change of use from agricultural use to mixed use agricultural and equestrian use, following demolition of agricultural buildings (part retrospective application). | Highlands Farm, Portsmouth Road, Ripley, GU23 6EY
  • Total Consulted: 36
  • Comments Received: 30
  • Objections: 28
  • Supporting: 2
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Auriol C. Hill (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Thu 13 Jun 2019

To view this comment please refer to the Documents list.

Mr Bxxxxxxx Lxxxxxxx (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Thu 23 May 2019

I object to this application for the same reasons as Jane Hill, plus



2) Erection of two buildings: barn A & B

c) There are many references to the (from 6.5) NPPF and the (6.20) Local Plan both old and new in an attempt to twist the interpretation of what is acceptable. However, the Guildford Local Plan includes Policy D4: 'Character and design of new development' which sets general design principles applicable across the Borough. Criteria include that development should integrate well with the natural, built and historic environment; respect important public views and help create attractive new views and vistas; and promote and reinforce local distinctiveness to create a sense of place with innovative architecture encouraged in the appropriate context."



The 2 new large commercial buildings and fortress like surrounds do very little to adhere to this policy. In fact they do everything contrary to the policy.



Objection: On the above three grounds I object to increased sqm, increased height, style and unsuitable nature of the buildings for the proposed use. The height, scale and style of the construction is visually unamenable to the surroundings and not in keeping with a farm or consistent with the local plan policy. These commercial sheds will attract commercial business now and further development in the future, together with the noise and pollution that is accompanied by it. Already we have black sooty smoke rising from the 'farm' due to the burning of old tyres and frequent commercial noise throughout the day and night that is disturbing the peace of us and other residents.



3) Laying of hardstanding



The above photo taken in 2016 shows how the ground prior to the new mass concrete around the original barn was full of green hedgerow, grass and bushes. It was a natural sandy base with no 'hardstanding in (5.9) poor condition'. The extent of the sand and grassy tracks can also be seen by the satellite image. There was no original tarmac or concrete hardstanding.





2017 satellite image.





2019 Satellite image



Objection: The change of use and proposed buildings are not consistent with current use and are more akin to a commercial industrial estate as is the use of copious concrete hardstanding. I also argue based on what I read that sandy ground is also more suitable than concrete for horses. Concrete stables and tracks are hard on horses legs and requires lots of bedding to avoid cold and abnormal behaviour. Why as a professional stud farmer would concrete even be sensible? Whereas concrete is much more suitable for the motor trade. I object to the expansive use of concrete to cover 3,364sqm of land.





Slyfield estate, Guildford 2019.



https://extension.psu.edu/horse-stable-flooring-materials-and-drainage





In terms of what is acceptable, I also concur with Jane Hill, but would also like to see a strict restriction on any future application for commercial or residential change of use due to the sales particulars from Connells Auction: (connells_244_37__AUC_000_811_4_D_OC__00_24437_AUC0008114_DOC_00) which included "The site is sold on an unconditional basis but with an overage entitling the beneficiary to 50% of the increase in land value resulting from planning permission being gained. Whilst purchasers are deemed to rely on their own enquiries with regard to planning, the site may be suitable for a number of alternatives to include the creation of smallholding with associated residential accommodation or alternatively, given its proximity to nearby residential housing especially along the western border, the potential for a more significant development to comprise a number of dwellings on at least part of the site. These details show an indicative scheme to create a number of dwellings plus small holding as the basis for taking forward a planning discussion."



Given the extensive Guildford plan for destroying our greenbelt at Garlicks arch and other nearby sites we have no need to further destroy this land, especially as it lays in a high risk flood zone.



My biggest concern with this application is the creep from one use to another over several years and several likely changes of GBC administration.

Comment submitted date: Thu 13 Jun 2019

To view this comment please refer to the Documents list.

Julian and Pam Harnor (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Thu 06 Jun 2019

To view this comment please refer to the Documents list.

Mrs Patricia Cullimore (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Thu 06 Jun 2019

HIGHLANDS FARM OBJECTION



I would like to object to Planning Reference 19/P/00580 for Highlands Farm, Portsmouth Road, regarding the retrospective planning application for the erection of two buildings, laying hardstanding and associated engineering operations. I wholeheartedly support those objections already submitted.



By nature of the name, this is farm land and as soon as the new owners arrived they put up a barbed wire fence, erected a high wooden fence and reinforced it by planting fast growing conifers which changed the whole character of the landscape. The area has changed from being rural and open into a very large and hidden compound. They have also since tried planting conifers along a public pathway used by dog walkers and left a mound of earth obstructing and restricting the use of the path.



During the time they have been at the farm they have built large metal barns with only skylights in the roof for natural light which would not be conducive to use for stabling horses. Indeed, I understand that not horses, but cars are housed there as has been revealed in Autotrader magazine, so the change of use they are seeking for agricultural and equestrian would not be appropriate as in fact the use has already been changed beyond that to engineering and garaging.



When the community had access to walk on the farm I can confirm that there was only a dilapidated shed that was used as an office, and no-one lived on site. When the farm was taken over recently for a short period an old caravan was put there and on occasions someone did stay overnight, so the 'mobile' home that has been put on the site is a new addition and not a replacement. It would appear that they are aware that they did not have permission to erect this building as they have tried to hide the view from the lane off Send Marsh Road by placing hay bales in the way. These have not been used for feed during the winter but have stayed in place.



The large amount of hardstanding that has been laid is also not suitable for horses or agriculture. Send Marsh is in a natural flood plain area and this amount of hardstanding can seriously reduce the drainage capacity. If the hardstanding remains, or the owner lays more, it would be cause for alarm.



From all the information that has been given by the objectors to this application, and from my knowledge of the situation, I strongly object as the site may well become a place for commercial operations.

Mr Glyn Watkins (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Thu 06 Jun 2019

The new "barns" are more in keeping with industrial units than the previous open low level barns that were on the sight. I feel that their design appearance and materials are not sympathetic with its surrounding area within the greenbelt. They are considerable larger than that which has been replaced and was on site prior to the purchase by the new owner.



The application makes reference to having access to Send Mash Road. As has already been pointed out this is incorrect as it is owned by a third party.



In my opinion the planning design and access statement makes numerous statements that are incorrect or deliberately intend to mislead. In the two years plus that the applicant has owned the property all that we have seen is a deliberate attempt to mislead the authorities with scant or little regard for the planning laws to the extent that the mobile home that was refused earlier in the year is still on site and that we are now presented with this retrospective application.

Mr Roger Newland (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Thu 06 Jun 2019

I wish to add my objections to this application and the two related applications.

The applicant has flouted planning law and proceeded at risk. The buildings erected are an over development of this rural agricultural site. The type, proportions, height and size bear little resemblance to what was there before and appear to be more commercial than agricultural. The building do not seem appropriate for the stated use and the amount of land left for livestock is very limited.

I object on principle as I believe the application(s) to be disingenuous.

Regards

Roger Newland

Ms Kim Stapff (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Wed 05 Jun 2019

Dear Planning Committee



I am writing to strongly object to the planning application 19/P/00580 for the retrospective construction of two warehouses and associated engineering operations on Highlands Farm, Ripley.



It seems from previous planning application and actions of the current owner of the property that they wish to circumnavigate the whole planning process to suit whatever their end goal for the property may be.



Within a short time of the property being purchased high fencing was erected in a seeming attempt to hide from public view whatever plans the owner had. Instead of a sweeping landscape we are now left with a visage of a compound. The Guildford Local Plan includes Policy D4: 'Character and design of new development' which sets general design principles applicable across the Borough. Criteria include that development should integrate well with the natural, built and historic environment; respect important public views and help create attractive new views and vistas; Nothing that the owner has done so far fits in with this policy.



Not long after the fencing was completed we had the ordeal of listening to the unlawful construction of oversized 'barns' (more warehouse -like) 7 days a week and often at times starting outside of permitted construction hours. These oversized outbuilding have since been used to store high-end cars advertised on autotrader. Not exactly agricultural use let alone mixed agricultural use. The owner states that these are to be used for equestrian purposes but I question if they are fit for such a purpose.



At the same time hardcore was introduced to the old unmade access leading up to the farm.



Once the warehouses were completed a large mobile home appeared close to the boundary on closest to the Portsmouth Road. This has been hidden from view on the Send Marsh Road side by the stacking of hay bales which have been in place for sometime now so not being used for any notable feed purpose. I note that planning permission was sought to seek a Certificate of Lawfulness to establish whether the proposed replacement of a mobile home would be lawful. A couple of points to note on this application. One I have lived in the area for almost 20 years now and walked across and around the property on an almost daily basis and in that time there was no one living on site. The decision to deny the application was given on 21.1.19 and yet as of today 5.6.19. The dwelling is still there and with residents comfortably ensconced. Perhaps with its raised decking and connection to water and electricity it is not longer mobile. I also note Charlotte Nemo, planning officer who wrote the denial report correctly states that 'It is not possible to lawfully replace a mobile home which has not been confirmed as lawful development in the first place.'



Planning permission has also be sought to limit the public right of way over parts of this property by a proposed erection of a pair of vehicular and two lockable pedestrian entrance gates incorporating four piers and brick walls on both sides. Fortunately this application was declined. It has not however stopped the owners forming berms on a couple of occasions, while planting trees, on another part of the property leading from Send Marsh Road up to the back of Ripley Nurseries where there is a public right of way. These have since been bashed down by dog walkers.



In the application the owner incorrectly claims that they have access to this property from both the Portsmouth Road and Send Marsh Road. This is in fact incorrect as the access road from Send Marsh Road is not in his ownership and the owner has not given them access from this point. All access is therefore from the Portsmouth Road.



In regards to the laying of hardstanding - Send Marsh Road and this area is in a natural flood plain. Creating hard standing surfaces on flood plain areas have resulted in reduced drainage capacity and a build-up of surface water. In seeing how the owner has so far looked at planning by doing and then asking forgiveness later, there is a great possibility that this site would continue to increase hardstanding areas where there have been none in the past. Also as another objector has already mentioned hard standing is not in line with todays equestrian practices and so the call for it appears somewhat suspect.



The owner is claiming to want change the use from agricultural use to mixed use agricultural and equestrian use onto the site, but to date has actually been steadily creating a mini industrial estate instead. At what point in the future does this activity potentially become a route into a full planning application for a housing development, claiming a conversion from a brown field site to housing or even small industrial? My biggest concern is the misrepresentation of the application, compared with current and planned activity. I object to the site becoming a site for commercial operations.



I thereby object to this planning application.

Miss Kim Belchamber (Supports)

Comment submitted date: Tue 04 Jun 2019

I have been driving from Guildford to Ripley every other day for 3 years now to walk my dogs as it is our favourite spot to go on the adjoining field & down through the common to the salt water lake. I have a few points that I would like to voice to you all, having read all your comments, as everyone seems to be very negative about Highlands Farm.

- First of all, I would just like to start with saying I think the owner of highlands farm has done an incredible job by cleaning up & making the place 100 times tidier & more presentable, many of you who used to walk on the land with your dogs will know what an eye saw it used to be! The public footpath which has been improved for everyone's benefit especially in the winter would be treacherous to walk through ankle deep in mud & incredibly uneven & unsafe. Personally, I would like to thank the owner for doing this for us as a lot of elderly people seem to be also walking dogs along this track! Would you want your dad/grandad/mum or grandmother to take a fall innocently walking their companion? I think not.

- Comments of noise early in the morning of loud banging? By law there is no noise restrictions from 7am to 11pm at night so you don't really have any ground to stand on there, the 6ft fence erected around the property is also in line & complies with planning. assuming that the dog on site is a 'guard dog' how would you know this unless you start to climb & peak over the fence, which is actually trespassing on private property, speaking of trespassing & peaking over the fence, knowing that 2 'Bulls' are located on the land & the 'grazing is also of poor quality' also indicates that people have been again climbing up the fence & peaking over. This is an offence in itself. Why would you go out of your way to do this? Ask yourself would you be happy if people were peeking over into your garden.

- Why does the mobile home keep being mentioned? I'm under the impression this case is with reference to the 2 erected buildings/barns.

- The residents are jealous that they can no longer walk all over the land as they please letting their dogs foul all over the place & not clean up after them, makes me very angry as a fellow dog walker I see it all too often on the adjoining field. yet you are all very quick to criticize others not yourselves.

- Dogs barking at all hours.... One of my very good friends lives in Ripley where we quite often sit in her back garden & listen to what sounds like little yappy dogs down the end by the 2 erected barns are mentioned to be located so clearly the other residents aren't bothered about this, just the alleged one dog barking within the land.

- Along the Portsmouth road there is a house being renovated, I will have a bet that nothing has been mentioned about the caravans & storage units located while this project went ahead.

- My question to you all is, what harm is it doing to you? Is it affecting your lives personally that you feel you must make life hard & cause unnecessary stress to the owner? Sorry to say this but you all must lead very sad little lives.



I fully support this application.

Thank you for Listening

Mrs Jackie Van Heesewijk (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Sun 02 Jun 2019

I object to this application on the following grounds:



Design, appearance and materials of the buildings.

The recently constructed buildings are much larger than the original farm buildings were, one of which was of a much more open construction. The new steel buildings have a much more industrial appearance, without windows, and are more suitable for

commercial use which is how they are being used at present. They are not of the construction one would normally associate with equestrian use and are unsightly and out of keeping with the rural character of the area. The site was previously a working farm for many decades, except for a brief spell of approximately one year prior to the present owner, when the tenants allowed unauthorised workshops to operate from the buildings, and dumped waste on the site illegally. These occupants brought an old static caravan onto the site without permission; this caravan was situated on a different part of the site than the new dwelling. It is noted that the application for a certificate of lawfulness for the new dwelling was refused due to non-compliance with static caravan regulations regarding height etc. The new dwelling is much larger than the previous caravan and situated close to the boundary. There has never been any history of residence on this land prior to the unauthorised caravan previously mentioned.



Road access and traffic generation.

There is only one access road onto the site, from Portsmouth Road, as the other access from Send Marsh Road is owned by a different party. It is highly likely that the proposed change of use will result in a greater amount of traffic movement to and from the site than currently, directly onto an already busy major road.



Impact on Green Belt

The high fences erected by the present owner at have totally obscured landscape views previously enjoyed from the public footpath, as well as impeding the important roaming of wild animals such as deer, foxes, hedgehogs and badgers. There may well have been bats inhabiting the original barns before they were demolished. There has already been a considerably detrimental impact to the Green Belt, and allowing further development of this site will have a profoundly detrimental impact on the character of the area, neighbouring amenity and nature conservation. The key aim of Green Belt is to prevent urban sprawl by preserving the openness of the land.



Change of use.

The height and style of the buildings is inconsistent with the proposed use of mixed equestrian and agricultural. The planning application states that "equestrian activity is considered to be an outdoor sport / outdoor recreation" as a reason for development within the Green Belt, however a stud farm is a business and does not constitute an equestrian activity that is either an outdoor sport or an outdoor recreation. The size of the grazing plot is hardly substantial enough to support the requirements of the two bulls (small herd of cattle) that currently roam the site, never mind a quantity of high value horses and a flock of sheep. The grazing is also of very poor quality.

The original site did not have a large area of hardstanding (evidenced by earlier photographs) and this substantial increase is not in keeping with the rural nature of either agricultural or equestrian use, but more to facilitate the easy movement of cars, plant or machinery for commercial use.

If this change of use is allowed it would pave the way for further changes of use to support a substantial amount of housing as was suggested in the original sales particulars for this plot of land. The sales particulars suggested "the site may be suitable for a number of alternatives to include the creation of smallholding with associated residential accommodation or alternatively, given its proximity to nearby residential housing especially along the western border, the potential for a more significant development to comprise a number of dwellings on at least part of the site."

Carole Ireland (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Fri 31 May 2019

To view this comment please refer to the Documents list.

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