Page last updated at 17:05 GMT, Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Airfield homes developer appeals

Aerial view of industrial units on the site
The council said the development was "in the wrong place"

A developer is to appeal after plans to build 2,600 homes, shops and a school on a Surrey airfield were turned down.

Dunsfold Park Ltd's plans for Dunsfold Park, where the BBC TV's Top Gear is filmed, were turned down by Waverley Borough Council in September.

The company, working with the Rutland Group, said it believed the refusal was not in the community's interest.

But campaign group Stop Dunsfold Park New Town (SDPNT) said the appeal was ill-considered and irresponsible.

The airfield is currently home to 108 businesses, which employ 700 people.

The developers said the scheme would be self-sustaining and provide housing for workers based on the site.

It is difficult to see how the developer can say that Waverley's decision was not in the community's interest
Stop Dunsfold Park New Town

But the plans provoked a storm of protest and Waverley's joint planning committee said the development was "in completely the wrong place".

Horsham and Chichester councils, in West Sussex, objected to the scheme as did Guildford council in Surrey.

"We were disappointed, but not surprised, by Waverley's decision to refuse the master planning application for Dunsfold Park," said Dunsfold Park Ltd's chief executive Jim McAllister.

"Our priority is to demonstrate why our proposals are right for the site and the borough of Waverley.

"Our plan not only removes the existing aviation uses but, critically, addresses the acute shortage of housing in the area, particularly affordable housing."

The Rutland Group acquired the site in a joint venture with the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Chairman of SDPNT, Barry Myers, said the decision to appeal affected every UK taxpayer.

"What an extraordinary decision that the Royal Bank of Scotland, so recently the recipient of government money to bail it out, and the Rutland Group, should decide to waste yet further taxpayers' money on hearing an appeal," he said.

He added that the democratically elected bodies which opposed the plans represented the community.

"It is difficult to see how the developer can say that Waverley's decision was not in the community's interest," he said.

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Airfield development turned down
18 Sep 08 |  England

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