UPDATE 31 January 2024:
The BVS has continued to monitor developments in relation to the property and Waverley Borough Council has continued to recognise the importance of retaining the property as a focal hub for the benefit of the local community. Consequently, despite the protracted planning history, the property has continued to retain its status as an Asset of Community Value.
A new application for change of use of the property and to combine the property with the adjoining property in which the owner currently resides has now finally been lodged on the 23rd January and can be accessed on the Waverley Borough Council portal (under the heading Volunteer Arms) under the reference WA/2024/00149. The Council currently requires any comments or objections to be lodged by the 18th February. However, the BVS is applying for this very short period to be extended given the importance of the matter to the local community and the protracted time that has been taken to reach this position.
The BVS believe that the current application is to all intents and purposes the same as that which has already been rejected by the Waverley planning authorities and see no reason why this new application should be treated any differently. Indeed, it could be said on that basis that the owner should not have been allowed to make this application.
The BVS are strongly of the view that despite the protracted planning history of this matter, the original view endorsed by over 80% of the local community remains the same i.e. it is important to retain the property as a local hub for the benefit of the local community. It can even be argued that this is now even more important in view of the Covid generated realisation that home and/or local working arrangements are becoming more prevalent.
The BVS consider that a local licensed hub that also provides a range of facilities such as coffee, snacks etc during the day and early evening will be beneficial to the local community and restore a valued community asset that is in danger of being lost. Such facilities can already be seen to have benefitted other communities in the locality even when based on a more limited floor space (e.g. the Hill Top Kitchen in Bramley, The Forge in Shamley Green and Hilly's in Shere). Furthermore, the BVS understands that such a facility would attract the necessary investment interest from various quarters were the property to be valued, as it should be, as a commercial rather than as a residential asset.