WAVERLEY Borough Council’s western planning committee is set to decide the fate of the 50-home development at Red Court next Tuesday.
And borough council (WBC) planning officers are pushing for its approval, after agenda papers for the meeting on July 20 confirmed officers are recommending the application be granted.
The application has received more than 500 objections on the council’s planning portal.
Following the news of officers’ recommendation, a spokesperson for the Haslemere South Residents’ Association said: “Following the rejection of this planning application by Haslemere Town Council and the objections from more than 500 local residents, we call on all councillors at the Waverley western planning committee to prevent this large development from destroying this protected countryside forever.
“It also goes against all the principles of Haslemere’s emerging Neighbourhood Plan.”
Independent town councillor for Haslemere South Nikki Barton – who has been a firm objector to the development – said she was “deeply concerned and frankly appalled” that planning officers had recommended the site for consent.
She said: “Given the current biodiversity and climate change crisis, it is astonishing WBC planners would give support to such a scheme.
“This development goes against national planning policy but even more importantly is outside the settlement boundary approved by the town council as it finalises the Neighbourhood Plan.
“Furthermore, Haslemere Vision and the Neighbourhood Plan clearly confirm housing needs can be met without building on greenfield sites such as this.
“Robert Hunter, Haslemere resident and a founder of the National Trust, will be turning in his grave at the prospect of a commercial property developer being given the green light to develop on a strategically important part of the green ring of countryside that surrounds Haslemere – green spaces that he held so dear to his heart.”
But there is pressure on WBC to build more houses after it was confirmed the authority had fallen behind on the government housing target of delivering 590 homes per year.