PLANNING COMMITTEE REPORT TO THE EXCUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE FARNHAM SOCIETY
12 OCTOBER 2015
The Planning committee has met on two occasions since the last Executive with the following matters discussed and acted upon:-
Bourne Mill Community Recycling Centre
SCC are considering a re-think and re-design of this centre which could mean some cutting of hours to save money. As many people are unhappy with the centre and in particular having to carry (often heavy) items up a flight of steps, Mike Clements has produced an alternative layout with ramps. He is to discuss this with Krish and will bring copies of the suggested new layout to the meeting. If the Executive agrees, we should like to forward this to SCC. They are unlikely to consider this alternative, but this should not stop us trying.
Recrafting Farnham – A RIBA South East Project
Laith Anayi of Stedman Blower is proposing to establish a group of architects to explore how, as a collective, they can grow Farnham without damaging its character and hopefully to inform the emerging Local Plan (his words). It appears the initial work will be carried out by this group or collective of architects and they will present some broad ideas to a workshop made up of others such as non-architects, and representatives from the likes of The Farnham Society and the Town and Borough Councils. It would then be for the architects to articulate the ideas and stage a public exhibition.
The Planning Committee supports this initiative but is aware that architects must look after the interests of their clients and these are normally the applicants. However we must expect growth and it is right that this is carried out in the best possible way to safeguard the interests of Farnham. As it is an RIBA project, I assume such groups are being considered in other towns.
Public Consultation and Engaging the Public
David Howells, a new member of the committee, has helped draft a letter that I have sent to WBC to encourage them to consider that applications for significant developments should carry out public consultations as a matter of form. At the moment many are just paying lip- service by means of a public presentation rather than a consultation.
We have objected to the following applications:-
Bindon House, Monkton Lane: following refusal of a 61 dwelling scheme we have again objected to a 56 home application.
13 Long Garden Walk: We have again objected to another application to replace a pleasant 1930’s bungalow with a large house.
Thornbrake, 14 Woodcut Road, Rowledge: Replacing a single dwelling with three houses adjoining the Conservation Area.
Knowle Farm, Old Park Lane: Erection of 9 dwellings at a former stables.
Chairmanship of the Planning Committee
I have informed the Planning Committee and the Society’s Chairman that I am to stand down as Chairman after the next AGM. I have sat on the committee since 2010 and will have been Chairman for two years by next summer. As you all know, there has been a marked increase in planning applications especially but not only on greenfield sites. This could escalate even further with continuing Government support for increased house building especially for first-time buyer end of the market. There is now a strong committee of ten and I am confident they will carry on the good fight to help keep Farnham a good place to live – but it will be a battle.