Guildford Dragon NEWS | The Guildford Dragon
By Hugh Coakley
A landowner from part of Wanborough Fields, advertising plots of farmland for sale in an area of great scenic value, said: ‘I’m sure a group of travelers as new owners will be a good fit for the environment” .
Already there are reports of people living in caravans on the land and claims that new land is being built despite the GBC’s enforcement notices being upheld on appeal six months ago.
David Bilbe, Conservative Borough Councilor for the neighboring borough of Normandy, commented: “My concerns extend to all kinds of illegal uses, as evidenced by what has happened on the ground so far so that all the world can see it.”
Normandy Action Group chairman Sir Michael Aaronson said: “Unscrupulous individuals are circling GBC because the enforcement function is under-resourced and officers don’t have the tools they need to do work.”
The AGLV land is reportedly awaiting a possible upgrade to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) designation, as part of a boundary review.
GBC is accused of not having enforced the planning rules that apply to the land.
Sir Mike Aaronson said: “It’s a desperate situation. The board as a whole must take responsibility for this; not only does this once-pristine farmland risk becoming a permanent eyesore, but the integrity of the entire planning system is at stake. Why should anyone obey the rules when they can see others flout with apparent impunity? »
We understand that GBC is having difficulty determining the identities of the various plot owners, as the land registry details are not up to date, delaying enforcement action.
A plot is advertised on Facebook Marketplace as “10 plots of farmland for sale in hogs back, Wanborough” [sic].
The price is listed as ‘£22,000/month Property to let’. The advertiser, Mr Faam, said each 1,000m² plot is on offer at £22,000 with all 10 plots at £220,000. He added: “I’m sure a group of travelers, as new owners, will be a good fit for the environment.”
Mr. Faam is also advertising to sell timber for a two-story structure on the site and a wind turbine.
Cllr Bilbe said: ‘I have been very concerned about Wanborough Fields for over two years and have asked countless questions and made comments and suggestions to the [GBC] execution team. They traveled there last week and returned on Friday in light of intensified development.
“I am very concerned that this land has been sold in parcels to many people and they are developing without proper planning approval or consent. I am assured this is given the highest priority by GBC.
“I have copied the leader of the council, our deputy [Angela Richardson] and NAG on most of my correspondence. Despite this, the earth continues to grow ugly and develop. This land is on the edge of the AGLV and it looks absolutely appalling. It was once a beautiful field.
“It’s not Normandy and Tony Rooth [ward councillor for Pilgrims, which includes Wanborough Fields] again assured me of his concerns.
“GBC is the statutory body charged with protecting land and residents from inappropriate development and must use all elements of the law to do so.
“It is unacceptable that land with an Article 4 stipulation that prohibits subdivision and sale into parcels is ignored. If there are any agents involved in this, they should be linked to any legal action.
See also Letter: Wanborough Fields appeal denied, landowners must comply or GBC must enforce (January 30, 2022)
GBC ‘fails to act’ as plot owners ignore notices at Wanborough Fields (March 2021) and
Council crackdown on Wanborough Fields landowners who ignored planning laws (October 2020)