Case Study: 2 new boarding houses (Waverley Borough Council),

Background

Charterhouse School sought planning permission for two new boarding houses and 77 car parking spaces on Green Belt land within their 250 acre campus to provide 128 extra rooms for the school to meet its ambition to become fully coeducational and take the number of pupils from 800 to 1,088.

Challenge

The proposed boarding homes lay in the Green Belt, and local residents and councillors opposed the scheme. The scheme was further complicated by being mistakenly conflated with separate, previous development proposals the school had put forward for new homes on school playing fields.

Solution

  • Following Borough elections in 2019 which resulted in a change from a Conservative majority administration to an Independent/Liberal Democrat partnership (with support from Labour and Greens), we wrote a political survey identifying key political stakeholders in the new administration who could affect the outcome.
  • SP Broadway organised and attended meetings with the newly elected ward councillor to brief him on the proposals.
  • We assisted the project team in making a presentation explaining the merits of the scheme to Godalming Town Council. We followed up the presentation by sending letters to every Godalming Town Councillor setting out the merits of the scheme and the mitigation measures which had been adopted. We subsequently engaged with every member of the Waverley Joint Planning Committee, sending them a detailed letter to explain the scheme and its merits, as well as the benefits of the school becoming fully co-educational.

Result

At a meeting of Waverley Borough Council Joint Planning Committee Members in July 2019, the committee voted to approve the planning application, with 14 voting for, five against and two abstaining.

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