The consultation on Waverley’s Local Plan Part 1 finally started on Friday 8 September 2017. Councillors understood that it was going to start on Monday 3 September – perhaps a reflection of Waverley’s disarray on this issue. Regardless, the consultation period runs for six weeks, finishing at 5pm on Friday 20 October. No responses will be accepted after that. So, we are now half way though the consultation period. Residents of Farnham have an opportunity to voice their concerns about the main modifications to the Plan. We should point out that Waverley did not consult any town or parish councils, or any councillors, before announcing the modifications to their Local Plan. None.
We outlined the main issues that we have with the main modification last month but for the sake of clarity we repeat them again. Waverley are requiring Farnham to take an extra 450 houses of the additional 1,350 houses within the modifications. That is one third, and more than any other settlement. No additional houses are being allocated to Dunsfold aerodrome, not a single one, despite the Inspector saying that they should, and the Dunsfold team saying that they could. As a result Farnham would be taking more houses than Dunsfold, the borough’s largest brownfield site.
Waverley require that the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan be reviewed immediately to accommodate the additional houses or they will allocate the houses through their Local Plan Part 2. Subjecting such a change renders our neighbourhood plan out of date, within four weeks of it being ‘made’ as they officially call it, ie. adopted. Waverley didn’t render our plan out of date by mistake. Other borough councils would, and in fact have, respected ‘made’ neighbourhood plans. Not Waverley.
All those involved with our neighbourhood plan understood, and still understand, the need for plan-led development and for the Local Plan. Our plan was developed to ensure that all development was plan-led in Farnham and Carole Cockburn worked tirelessly with Waverley through the period of its preparation. As a result of Waverley’s actions, housing developers with recovered appeals (to be decided by the Secretary of State) have written to him asking for their proposals to be allowed. These proposals are on greenfield sites. Developers are queuing up now to appeal.
Sites for housing development in Farnham were selected by a defined methodology with carefully prepared criteria. These were challenged by both the Examiner of our plan, and in the High Court by a consortium of developers, and were found to be both fair and robust. The immediate review of our plan and addition of new sites would question the whole process that has taken place.
Then, without even considering the impact of these additional houses, we have to contemplate years of disruption as a result of East Street / Brightwells and the redevelopment of the Woolmead site. Waverley confirmed, and the Inspector acknowledged, that Farnham’s traffic issues and resulting congestion will be exacerbated by the forthcoming developments. Asking for additional houses immediately is the wrong course of action. Our plan is front end loaded. Let our Town Council review our plan in five years’ time, as Waverley knew was always intended, and deliver any shortfall of houses in Farnham between 2027 and 2032.
We would urge you to respond to the consultation.
For more detailed information look at the notes referred to below or on the Farnham Town Council’s website www.farnham.gov.uk
Here is a link to Waverley’s website allowing you to see the documentation www.waverley.gov.uk/lpp1examination
What Modifications should you respond to & what should you be saying ?
The two most important main modifications you should be considering and responding to are
We suggest that the following comments are made against these two main modifications
MM1, Para 6.24: Any additional housing requirement in Farnham should be allocated in a review of the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan 2017 starting not earlier that 2022.
MM3, ALH1: Dunsfold Park should be allocated upwards of 3,000 homes and a simpler flat-rate uplift should be applied across the Borough.
CLICK HERE for further information on these main modifications.
How to respond
Write to Planning Policy Team, Planning Services, Waverley Borough Council, Council Offices, The Burys, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 1HR
e mail Waverley on email@example.com
Include your name, address, postcode, and date. Quote the above reference numbers for Main Modification and paragraph or policy numbers (eg MM1, Para 6.24 or MM3, ALH1)
OR use online consultation at www.waverley.gov.uk/lpp1examination