Agenda item


The Leader to respond to any questions received from members of the public for which notice has been given in accordance with Procedure Rule 10.


The deadline for receipt of questions is 5pm on Tuesday 29 September 2020.



The Executive received the following questions in accordance with Procedure Rule 10:


QUESTION 1  - From Lesley Banfield, Chair of Haslemere Vision -Neighbourhood Planning Group:


"Preamble: There has been a paradigm shift in Haslemere. We have always been aware of how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful part of the world and of the need to protect it. That used to mean resisting development, but in the midst of a housing crisis, residents have risen to the challenge of finding solutions. Few people living in a rural idyll would willingly move towards a more crowded environment and yet this is what residents have voted to do. They are willing to intensify development within the settlement boundaries as set out in the draft Neighbourhood Plan, in order to meet housing targets without encroaching further into ecologically sensitive surroundings. This is the very opposite of a NIMBY attitude – build next door rather than on greenfield please! 


The NPPF supports Haslemere’s approach, stating that the requirement to meet housing numbers should not be a reason in and of itself to build onto AONB or AGLV and encouraging windfall development within settlements. The Haslemere Neighbourhood Planning team have previously stated that the housing allocation for the area will be met without encroaching into AONB or AGLV and are happy to demonstrate and evidence this point. 


It is unsettling therefore to find this shift not reflected in the draft LPP2. The allocations for Haslemere do not follow the founding principles of the Neighbourhood Plan or of National policy.  


Q: Do you believe that the Haslemere Neighbourhood Planning team have been adequately consulted on site allocations and are you comfortable for the draft LPP2 to include three sites in AONB despite this going against the strategy designed by Haslemere residents?"


Cllr Andy MacLeod, the Portfolio for Planning Policy gave the following response:


The number of homes required in Haslemere was set out by the government through the examination of Waverley’s Local Part 1 and the Council has no choice but to allocate enough sites to meet this number of homes.  It was agreed with the Town Council that Waverley would make housing allocations through LPP2, rather than them being included in the Neighbourhood Plan. Waverley has undertaken a targeted call for sites and almost 85% of the houses proposed for Haslemere in the draft LPP2 are either within the settlement boundary or on rural brownfield land   Two of the sites are in the AONB (The Old Grove, Hindhead and the Car Park, Branksome Place). but would represent reuse of previously-developed land.  For Local Plan Part 2 to be accepted by an Inspector, the sites Waverley allocates must be deliverable within the plan period, backed up by evidence.  Despite great efforts to meet all the government’s housing requirement for Haslemere on sites within settlements and/or on rural brownfield land, there are not sufficient deliverable sites available and Waverley has had to propose a greenfield allocation in this instance. The Council considers that, based on available evidence, the proposed allocations as set out in the draft LPP2 currently represent the most appropriate approach in terms of delivering a Local Plan that can be found sound at an independent Examination.



QUESTION 2 - From Howard Brown, General Secretary of Haslemere South Residents Association:


“As the local residents group, (Haslemere South Residents Association) we are concerned about the inclusion of Red Court (now DS06) as an allocated site in the Waverley Borough Local Plan Part 2. 


Our question:  How can this site be included in the Waverley Borough LPP2 when:


1)    the housing need for Haslemere can be met through other sites - including a large brown field opportunity that has come forward through WBC's own call for sites.  We understand the call for sites was specifically intended to avoid building on protected areas of land which the community of Haslemere value so highly- as demonstrated via the Neighbourhood Plan public consultation and the very high level of objection to the Red Court planning application. 

2)    an application to develop on DS06 has recently been rejected by Haslemere Town Council Planning Committee

3)    DS06 directly contradicts the Town Council approved emerging Neighbourhood Plan (noting that 89% of the public reject large developments on greenfield, protected land outside the original settlement boundary) – DS06 lies outside the settlement boundary as drawn in that Neighbourhood Plan

4)    the current Red Court planning application has approximately 500 public objections, including objections from a range of societies and community groups including Haslemere Vision (Neighbourhood Plan), Haslemere Society (over 550 members), Blackdown and Hindhead National Trust, CPRE, Haslemere South Residents Association (300 members)  which must be considered under the Localism Act

5)    including DS06 contravenes NPPF policies (including clauses 50, 102, 170, 172, 174, 175 and 180) and WBC's own planning policy to protect such sites that are deemed AONB and have a rich and varied biodiversity.”


Cllr Andy MacLeod, the Portfolio for Planning Policy gave the following response:


Waverley’s aim is that the LPP2 should allocate, as far as possible, sites within the settlement boundary or on rural brownfield land.  We have been proactive in this regard and the recent call for sites noted that the Council was particularly interested in identifying any potentially suitable sites within the settlements or brownfield land.However, LPP2 will ultimately be examined on whether the sites that are allocated for housing will actually deliver the houses required by the government within the plan period. Currently there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate this on all sites promoted to us. One such site is the Royal School, Farnham Lane, which lies within 400m of the Wealden Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA).  Based on the information provided during the call for sites, Natural England have advised they would object to allocation of the site for a standard housing development, due to the impact on protected bird habitats in the SPA.


As there are not enough sites either within the settlement or on rural brownfield land to meet the housing requirement set out by the government in Local Plan Part 1, Waverley has had to allocate a greenfield site. We are proposing Red Court, Scotland Lane, because it is not within the AONB, is believed to be deliverable and is considered to be the most appropriate, in planning terms, of the greenfield sites put forward to us. The current planning application for 50 homes at Red Court will be determined on its own merits in due course and is not relevant to the Executive’s consideration of Part 2 of the Local Plan.

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