Planning

Architecture & Design Awards 2020

Award Certificate Watermark 2021

 

The Planning Committee have received a limited number of nominations for the Awards. Having sought agreement with the executive committee they have reluctantly decided to postpone the current Award cycle until 2021. When nominations are sought again the buildings nominated by the closing date of 31 January 2020 will be included. Nomination will be sought for buildings and schemes completed between September 2017 and January 2021. It is proposed that the deadline for nominations will be Monday 1 February 2021.

The Planning chair thanks members that nominated buildings or schemes and will contact them personally shortly.

 

Referendum on Neighbourhood Plan

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Residents of Farnham are urged to vote yes at the forthcoming referendum to decide whether Waverley Borough Council should use the Reviewed Farnham Neighbourhood Plan to determine the development strategy for Farnham on Thursday 12 March.

The Plan identifies a number of allocated sites across Farnham that will provide the required 2,780 homes for the Plan period up to 2032

Voting for our Plan would inhibit the loss of green fields around our town and prevent additional traffic congestion

Below are links to Farnham Town Council’s website page and Waverley Borough Council’s website page for the referendum

https://www.farnham.gov.uk/services/neighbourhood-plan/neighbourhood-plan-referendum-2020

https://www.waverley.gov.uk/info/200138/elections/2216/farnham_neighbourhood_plan_2013-2032_referendum

alternatively you can click on the following links for the Reviewed Farnham Neighbourhood Plan

and for the appendices    Appendix 2 Housing Sites

                                      Appendix 3 Land for Business

                                      Appendix 4 Neighbourhood Centres

Please email 1secretary.fsoc@gmail.com if you have any questions which we will try and answer.

At the referendum in May 2017 the plan received a 88% yes vote from 38% of the electorate.

Please let your family and friends living in Farnham know about the referendum and the critical importance of supporting the Plan

Neighbourhood Plan Update

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The Society urges members to support the Neighbourhood Plan

As reported in last week’s Farnham Herald independent examiner Derek Stebbing concluded from his examination of the Review Plan that, subject to a list of modifications, the Reviewed Plan meets Basic Conditions. These words don’t sound as rapturous as maybe they could but they give the go ahead to the reviewed Plan which is exactly what we wanted to hear. Mr Stebbing could have concluded that no modifications were required at all, which was very unlikely, and could have concluded that no referendum was required but that was equally unlikely.

Because of the length of time the Mr Stebbing was taking to publish his report, several of us on the Farnham Society Planning Committee were becoming increasingly concerned that he had found an issue with it. I more than the others probably.

The Public Examination took place on Tuesday 1 October after he had conducted a Procedural Exploratory Meeting on 4 June 2019. Mr Stebbing concluded from the Procedural Exploratory Meeting that the Reviewed Plan had material modifications and therefore it was required that he undertake a public examination of the Reviewed Plan.

Mr Stebbing methodically dismissed one after another of the challenges from the developers in his report published on 9 December 2019. The report can be accessed via this link, click here.

Why was the Reviewed Plan necessary ? The Farnham Neighbourhood Plan was originally ‘made’, the technical term for adopted on 31 July 2017. The referendum on Thursday 4 May 2017 saw the original Plan receive a 88% ‘yes’ vote with a turnout of 38.75%. A truly impressive result illustrating to both developers and the former Waverley Borough administration that the residents of Farnham were overwhelming supportive of the Plan.

Along came Waverley’s past Tory administration, responsible for, in my view finalising the Brightwells potential disaster on us and decided that she would put a spanner in the works by requiring Farnham Town Council either to review the Plan immediately or they would get Waverley planners to select the sites to accommodate the additional 450 dwellings within Part 2 of their Local Plan.

They are completely responsible for the requirement for the Reviewed Plan process. She could have simply asked for a clause to be written into the Local Plan Part 1 that Farnham was required to review its Neighbourhood Plan within, let’s say five years, so 2022.

We would have had the protection of the Neighbourhood Plan and the Folly Hill housing development wouldn’t have been allowed by the Planning Inspector.

Furthermore, Farnham Town Council wouldn’t have been required to spend thousands of pounds to prepare the new Plan and go through the current process now. Further expense is still required by the forthcoming referendum.

As reported in the Farnham Herald last week new outline planning applications from Bewley Homes and Wates Developments have been submitted and validated, for 140 dwellings and 146 dwellings respectively. Application numbers WA/2019/1905 and WA/2019/1926. Please look at and comment on these applications, ideally objecting. Farnham now has provided its allocated requirement of homes until 2032. The sites allocated within the Plan will proceed, we don’t want an additional 280 plus houses in Farnham. I do hope that the developers, whose sites are not included as housing allocations, notably Bewley and Wates accept the contents of the report and look elsewhere rather than destroy our green fields.

I hope also that the new Head of Planning, Zac Ellwood, supports the Planning Development Plan, ie the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan. The harm from these developments far out-weighs the benefits to the town.

The Planning Committee are delighted that the Plan can go to referendum and hope that all residents able to vote will support it. The Farnham Society will be taking on the challenge of raising further awareness of the Plan’s benefits, and of the need to vote for it in the referendum, enabling its adoption.

The Society will be mobilising volunteers to leaflet homes throughout the town. A date for the referendum has to be determined but we hope it is before the end of February or at the latest early March. If you would like to help, please email me on david.or@btinternet.com

We need to demonstrate to the Waverley, the Planning Inspectorate and particularly the developers that Farnham supports the Neighbourhood Plan.

FNP Procedural Meeting Review Decision

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The Examiner has decided that the changes to the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan Review (Modification Proposal) are so significant or substantial as to change the nature of the neighbourhood development plan which the draft would replace. In his letter dated 21 June 2019 he has stated

‘Accordingly,

(i) my determination under paragraph 10(1) of Schedule A2 is that the modifications contained in the draft Plan constitute material modifications which do change the nature of the Plan and, if to proceed, would require an examination and a referendum;’

Post Office consultation

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The Post Office has announced a proposal to close its Farnham branch, and to transfer operations into WH Smith in The Borough. This is part of a national reorganisation of Post Office branches. The move is planned for June of this year.

The plan is to relocate into a dedicated open plan area towards the rear of the existing WH Smith shop. There will be three staffed serving positions, one of which will be of the traditional screened type, the other two will be open plan. In addition there will be two self service kiosks.  Most of the facilites currently provided at the West Street branch will continue to be available, though the ATM will not be retained.

The office will be available for a period during the WH Smith Sunday opening hours.

It is not clear whether the planned new location will provide an adequate queueing area for customers within and outside the premises. West Street it is know for a queue to stretch through the doors and into the street.

A consultation is now running, and will close on 6 March. To take part, visit the Post Office website.  postofficeviews.co.uk, enter branch name, postcode GU9 7PJ or branch code 007900

Save Tice’s Meadow Nature Reserve

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Tice’s Meadow is currently owned by Hanson, who propose to put it up for sale. This could jeopardise its future as a Nature Reserve. A petition has been started, to save the reserve.

Click here for link to petition

Our chairman, Alan Gavaghan, has written to Simon Willis, CEO of Hanson, expressing our views.

Dear Mr.Willis,

Tice’s Meadow Nature Resarve.

Our interest in the proposed sale of Tice’s Meadow Nature Reserve, has been recorded as a joint signatory in the letter sent to you by the Tice’s Meadow Bird Group dated the 21st. October.

It is felt that the concerns expressed in that letter to ensure the long term security of this highly successful and nationally applauded nature reserve should be strengthened by a further underlining of the wide spread local disquiet at the possibility that all the efforts of local volunteers could be destroyed should the ownership pass to a body disinterested in the continuation of this reserve.

Whilst it is appreciated that you have a commercial decision to reach, it is hoped that with the Hanson’s proven interest in securing this oasis of nature, then your laudable ambitions could be extended by requiring a purchaser to continue the trail you have blazed by accepting a minimum requirement not to impede the activities of the Tice’s Meadow Bird Group.

The Farnham Society was formed in1911 and has always been at the forefront of preserving what is beneficial for the local community but we do not enter lightly into any discussion unless it is felt that the core subject will have far reaching and adverse consequences.

Within the remit of your corporate responsibilities it would be appreciated if you could discuss this matter with your colleagues to see whether it is possible to negotiate an arrangement which will be commercially satisfactory and also continue into the future the protection which has been generously provided over the years by your own Group.

Yours sincerely,

Alan Gavaghan.

Chairman.

Click here for link to petition

Northbrook Park development

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The East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) has published its Draft Local Plan (dLP) for consultation. The consultation started on 5 February and finished on Tuesday 19 March 2019. The dLP includes the provision of 3,723 homes required to satisfy its national housing allocation including an allocation at Northbrook Park which abuts the Surrey Hampshire boundary. The current proposal in Hampshire is the construction of a minimum of 800 houses, a primary school, community hub, ‘village’ centre, sports facilities and a variety of employment and office buildings. The dLP indicates that the development would if undertaken take place between 2028 and 2036.

Bentley Parish Council has expressed concerns at the proposals. Bentley residents attended a meeting at the Bentley Memorial Hall on Monday 25 February, an estimated four hundred people. The parish of Bentley currently has approximately 450 houses with a population of approximately 1,250.

The Society understands that the landowner’s proposals are to extend the development in the Farnham Built Up Boundary Area and construct a further 700 houses.

The Northbrook site was submitted as part of the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan process. The site was rejected, the summary stating ‘A significant development of 15.3ha set in open countryside removed from Farnham and extending beyond the Parish boundary into East Hampshire would have a significant detrimental effect on the landscape of high sensitivity.’ Continuing ‘A new settlement would not represent an appropriate strategy to accommodate development taking into account the reasonable alternative of brownfield sites in more sustainable locations. The site is unsuitable and potentially unachievable as a housing allocation.’

The impact on Bentley will be unmeasurable, but the impact on Farnham will be significant as well. Residents of the development would likely look to travel east to work, to shop, for their social life and entertainment.

Issues that would arise from the inclusion of the proposed development in the EHDC dLP to Farnham would include a significant impact on the infrastructure. If properly managed, the funds levied under the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) could contribute to a western relief road, which would be beneficial and would ease what could otherwise be not insignificant congestion through Farnham town centre. Increased traffic movements would undoubtedly result in some congestion and over demand for parking spaces despite the proposal to operate a bus service, with increased demand on already stretched facilities. Residents travelling to London would require to travel through the town centre, rail tickets are currently 20% cheaper from Farnham than Bentley.

The development would bring a further demand for school places. Farnham is already looking to have 2,780 new houses built in the period up to 2032, so even the 800 homes proposed on the Hampshire side would bring a significant extra demand. The further 700 homes in the Farnham boundary area would create even more demand.

The proposals would result in the loss of greenfields, an area recorded as landscape of high sensitivity. A development would change the A31 corridor immeasurably.

The Society is going to comment and register its concern and objection to the inclusion of the site within the EHDC dLP. Clicking this link will take you to the draft Local Plan.

You can comment on the dLP by clicking here, note that you will have to register to do so. Alternatively you can email your comments to localplan@easthants.gov.uk or write to Planning Policy, East Hampshire District Council, Penns Place, Petersfield, Hampshire, GU31 4EX. Your comments need to be received by the council by 5pm on Tuesday 19 March 2019.

SCC Consultations

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Community Recycling Centres:

Surrey County Council faces severe financial pressures and feel they have no choice but to look for savings. They are undertaking five consultations at the same time.

Consultations end on Friday 4 January 2019. Click here for link.

All the threatened Surrey County Council cuts are important.

Potential loss of Farnham’s Community Recycling Centre (CRC) in Guildford Road.

Surrey has put forward three options for the future of its 15 CRCs. Two of these would involve closing the Farnham CRC and would require Farnham residents to travel to Guildford, Camberley or Witley to recycle their household waste. Using these CRCs would involve round trips of around an hour at quieter times and much longer at busier times. This would be a major inconvenience and unnecessary expense to Farnham’s 40,000 plus residents and would result in very many Farnham residents opting out of using the Surrey CRCs completely and most likely an increase in fly-tipping.

The Farnham CRC is threatened with closure as it is categorised by Surrey as one of the six less used sites, which is supposedly close to alternative sites, which are said to generally offer a better customer experience. Farnham would appear to be the highest used of the six less used sites. This low use would seem to be very surprising as Farnham is the third largest town in Surrey based on the 2011 census figures and all the other CRCs apart from Guildford and Woking are based in smaller towns than Farnham. It is not really surprising as the Farnham CRC is very poor from an access, layout and customer experience point of view. Surrey and Suez management appear to struggle with this site, which is seriously understaffed when compared to the nearby, and well managed and run, Hampshire sites in Aldershot and Farnborough.

The Farnham CRC is now in a cycle of decline as it is thought that many Farnham residents are now using Hampshire sites, particularly since the Farnham site was closed for two days a week and its opening hours shortened. However, the supervisors of the nearby Hampshire sites have advised that in around a years’ time Hampshire intend to introduce checks to ensure that only Hampshire residents will have access to their CRCs.

It is unacceptable for Farnham to be left without a well-run CRC in the town or very close by. It may be that the current site cannot be realistically upgraded. If so it should be used for another purpose and a new site developed in a suitable alternative location nearby. A further option would be to come to an arrangement with Hampshire to upgrade the Aldershot site to serve both Aldershot and Farnham residents.

In any case we would strongly recommend Farnham residents to take part in the Surrey consultation, which runs till Friday 4 January 2019, and to insist that the Farnham CRC is not closed until a suitable alternative facility is provided.

Follow this link to the consultation

https://www.surreysays.co.uk/environment-and-infrastructure/crcs/

 Transforming Libraries and Cultural Services

Surrey County Council’s consultation on “Transforming Libraries and Cultural Services” does not contain any specific proposals to close any libraries. This is in contrast with the consultation on “Community Recycling Centres” which includes proposals, which would result in the Farnham Recycling Centre being closed.

The consultation makes it clear that the Council intends to make substantial savings in the costs of its libraries and library services. Surrey currently has 52 libraries based across the county and the Council currently spends £14 per person on libraries compared with the £9.89 average for similar county councils. Their intention is to reduce their expenditure on libraries to a level close to the national average spend of county councils. This would involve a cut in expenditure of up to 30%, which would most likely have to include some closures of the less well used libraries and service reductions elsewhere.

The consultation document does talk positively about how libraries are an integral part of community life and sit at the heart of lifelong learning. We completely agree and see the continuation of Farnham’s library service at its present excellent level as vitally important for the residents of the town.

We would we would strongly recommend Farnham’s residents, who wish to protect our library services, to take part in the Surrey consultation. This runs until 4 January 2019. Participation can be either online via the Surrey County Council website following this link or by returning a questionnaire available at Farnham Library.

Housing development at Coxbridge Farm

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Vivid Homes staged a public exhibition on 11 December, in support of a consultation on the proposed housing develpoment at Coxbridge Farm.

Displays from the exhibition: click to download.

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SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL CONSULTATION DROP IN

SCC Consultation

Surrey CC have agreed after pressure from our County Councillors to have a Consultation Drop-in session on Monday 17 December between 10am and 12 midday (two hours only) at the Library (The Culver Room) in West Street.

We would urge as many residents to attend to show the strength of feeling about the possible closure of the CRC (Dump) together with the loss of other services in Farnham, the largest town in Waverley.

Draft Farnham Neighbourhood Plan review (Regulation 14)

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Farnham Town Council has loaded all the documents relating to the Review of the Neighbourhood Plan on to their website.

This link will take you to the Draft Plan on the website

Please do have a look.

The other documents can be found by clicking on this link

For the short survey on the Draft Regulation 14 Plan click here

The deadline for responding is Sunday 30 September.

Please respond to the survey. It won’t take long.

The more responses submitted the less likely that the Examiner will require a referendum to be undertaken, the better for the town, the quicker the reviewed Plan can be made / adopted.