A petition launched by a town councillor to stop an orchard in Badshot Lea being bulldozed for housing has been signed by more than 900 people in just two weeks.

Chris Jackman (Badshot Lea and Moor Park) launched his petition ‘Help us to save the Badshot Lea Ancient Orchard from being torn down!’ on October 8 online at change.org

He states: “Elivia Homes want to take out an ancient orchard and build ten homes in its place, despite a previous commitment to retain and enhance it.”

Vanderbilt Homes was granted permission to build 23 homes at the Waverley’s Folly site in St George’s Road at appeal in 2019. According to Cllr Jackman, Vanderbilt committed to retaining and enhancing the orchard on site, which he says is “teeming with wildlife“. 

But earlier this year, Elivia Homes submitted a planning application to flatten the orchard and replace it with ten homes as part of a ‘phase two’ – claiming the orchard is in decline.

Cllr Jackman says this is “completely at odds” with the original application which made no mention of a ‘phase two’. 

He said: “It is clear the orchard needs work to bring it to its best and to safeguard it for the future, and that is exactly what Elivia Homes should now be doing, rather than flattening it.”

Farnham Town Council has also objected on the grounds the development would “erode the countryside and character of the area by extending built form into the patchwork of small green fields”, in conflict with the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan.

Defending its plans, Elivia Homes says the 2.3-acre orchard is “unmanaged” and argues  as Waverley Borough Council is behind on its government housing target and unable to meet demand, the government’s “presumption in favour of sustainable development” should apply.

View and comment on the plans here.