What does the collapse of the Dunsfold Park sale mean for Cranleigh?

What does the collapse of the Dunsfold Park sale mean for Cranleigh?

The sale of Dunsfold Park near Cranleigh to a US investment giant has fallen through, creating uncertainty about the future of the strategic development site and the viability of Waverley Borough Council’s Local Plan.

Home to BBC Top Gear for the past 20 years, Dunsfold Park is currently owned by Trinity College Cambridge.

Columbia Threadneedle emerged as the preferred bidder for the site in September 2021, in a deal reported to be worth up to £250 million.

Following a 15-year planning history, Dunsfold Park received outline planning consent in March 2018 for a new Surrey village of 1,800 homes.

Proposed facilities include a school, health centre and country park, delivered alongside a package of transport improvements.

In Waverley Borough Council’s Local Plan, the site has an allocation of 2,600 homes. Building additional homes on the site would require further planning permission.

Previously owned by site manager Rutland Group who purchased Dunsfold Park from BAE Systems in 2002, ownership of the site was transferred to Trinity College in 2013 in a deal designed to “secure the long-term future of Dunsfold.”

Rutland Group and Trinity College have secured planning permissions for the 654-acre site, with approval for housing development alongside the existing business park and its 50 tenants.

When put on the market last year, prospective tenants were told there was potential to build up to 3,400 new homes.

A spokesperson for Waverley Borough Council said:

Waverley Borough Council has been advised that the sale of Dunsfold Park to Columbia Threadneedle Investments will not be proceeding.

The council is reassured that the current owners, Trinity College and The Rutland Group continue to progress the infrastructure and other works necessary to enable the delivery of the new garden village, including the construction of the new access road to serve the housing.

We look forward to positive engagement with the current or any future owners of the site and we will continue to ensure that our local parish partners remain informed and consulted on all aspects of the development of this new garden village.

Destination Cranleigh approached Trinity College and Columbia Threadneedle for comment and will update this story should they respond.

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