An “unforgivable” error has silenced hundreds of opponents in a controversial planning appeal. 

Waverley Borough Council failed to notify a long list of objectors that a public session was being held on the first day of a planning appeal inquiry into Red Court Phase Two.

The ten-day inquiry is to determine whether landowner Redwood (South West) Ltd should get planning permission for an additional 111 new homes at its Scotland Park development and a new scouts headquarters at Red Court in Scotland Lane, Haslemere. 

The plan was thrown out by Waverley because of the serious harm the proposal could cause the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

Canopy Midhurst Road
The tree canopy on Midhurst Road under threat from the development (HSRA)

But while more than 400 people objected to the proposal, only two attended the public session on the first day of the appeal inquiry – while all supporters were in attendance.

The council cited a “technical fault” as the reason 440 objectors and several statutory bodies including Haslemere South Residents Association were not notified about the public session on the first day of the ten day inquiry. 

Nikki Barton, former town councillor, said: “The lack of public representation is totally outrageous. It is a scandal that people weren’t made aware that such a large area of protected landscape was up for discussion.”

Waverley Borough Council faces a serious backlash after an apparent technical blunder failed to alert hundreds of objectors that a public session was being held at a planning inquiry. 

Robert Coombes was one of only two objectors present, saying “it was pure chance” he found out about after looking at Waverley’s website. 

He added: “The planning inspector looked at the empty chamber seats at the residents session and asked where everyone was, given the hundreds of objections he had received.”

Chris Harrison of the Haslemere Society said: “We were alarmed to learn that, along with many other objectors, we were not notified of the time set aside by the planning inspector who is hearing the developer’s appeal, which has now passed. I understand that this was an oversight on the part of Waverley Borough Council. Frankly, this is unforgivable and does nothing to encourage belief in the fairness of the planning process.”

HSRA have formally complained about the oversight which they say has “unfairly disadvantaged” HSRA and other objecting residents.

A spokesperson from WBC said:  “A technical fault has led to some statutory consultees and members of the public not being directly informed that the planning inquiry was taking place.”  

Waverley is now investigating this failure.

In response, the planning inspector has scheduled a Zoom session for objectors to have their say on Tuesday, January 23 at 10am. To access the call use this link: