Neighbourhood Plan Consultation Surveys

Haslemere’s achieved the largest response levels to a Plan consultation in the area, but we want to show local authorities and Planners exactly how much we care. It is important that as many residents or workers participate as possible. Please respond by completing the following surveys

Neighbourhood Plan Consultation Webinars

Haslemere Town Council together with Haslemere Vision have extended the period of consultation to the end of May 2020.

We are also very keen to receive as many responses to our Neighbourhood Plan consultation as possible.

We are running a series of webinar events. Please do sign up and get involved!

  • Thursday 14th May 7pm
  • Saturday 16th May 10am

To register for these events, email info@haslemerevision.org.uk now!

See fb.com/haslemerevision for more information

The Vision: On Public View

This spring Haslemere Town Council is launching a comprehensive public consultation on our first Neighbourhood Plan, to be held over eight weeks, from 2nd March to 27th April 2020. The process aims to ensure that all those (16+) who live or work in the area are given the opportunity to directly influence the Plan’s Vision for the future of the town and its surroundings. Responses will play a vital role in helping shape future planning decisions at local and regional level.

The consultation marks a special point for the 80+ volunteers responsible for the Plan’s inception as it represents a handover of responsibility from community advocacy group Haslemere Vision, to Haslemere Town Council. Whilst The Vision will continue to provide stewardship and advice, Town Councillors are taking the reins to steer the Plan to completion. Mayor John Robini, who is personally chairing the working party taking the Plan forward says, “our aim is a Plan that will help deliver the long-term goals of a balanced and vibrant neighbourhood”.

The Plan has been six years in the making, including a lengthy process of detailed research and widespread consultation to ascertain the priorities and needs of the community, and it identifies the following key objectives:

  • To encourage development that meets Haslemere’s housing needs whilst protecting the character of the area. In particular to encourage development of more homes for young people, local workers and homes suitable for downsizers.
  • To protect and enrich our green spaces and the natural environment that surrounds us.
  • To re-balance road use, limiting the adverse impact of motor vehicles by improving provision for off-street parking and/or improving facilities for alternative forms of transport.
  • To protect existing employment and to encourage the development of a more diverse range of local employment opportunities to create an increasingly vibrant and sustainable community.

A key aim of the Plan is to ensure that delivery of housing allocations proposed in Waverley Borough Council’s Local Plan takes these objectives into account. The policies within the Plan require future developments to make the best possible use of Haslemere’s scarce land resources and protect the town’s rural character, setting and environment.

Exactly how such matters will be prioritised, the nature of future development and how it is to be decided is a vital aspect of the public consultation and why it is especially important for residents to participate. Collation of public views, both supportive and negative, will inform amendments or changes to the draft Plan. Public participation is crucial to ensure that future planning reflects and directly represents the majority of the wishes and preferences of Haslemere residents.

The adoption of the Neighbourhood Plan also has important strategic funding implications. Presently, Waverley Borough Council places a Community Infrastructure Levy on all developments, of which Haslemere Council currently receives 15% (capped in the case of large developments). With the adoption of the Neighbourhood Plan, more responsibility for decision-making will devolve to Haslemere Council and the amount of Infrastructure Levy it receives will rise to 25%, with no cap. With better funding, the area will have more options to undertake exciting new projects or partner with Borough and County Councils to deliver larger schemes.

The Neighbourhood Plan will be available in full (and in a digestible summary) from 2nd March at www.haslemeretc.org/neighbourhood-plan together with an online survey that will collate public responses. Physical copies of it will be available at Haslemere Library, Haslemere Town Hall, Grayswood All Saints Church, Haslemere Museum, the Station Information Hub, Haslewey, the Hindhead Cookie Bar and the Hub in Beacon Hill. Hard copies of the survey can also be collected from these locations, but should be returned to the Town Council offices.

In addition, all are welcome to view the Plan, ask questions and complete surveys at the following public drop-in events:

  • The Town Hall: 7th March 11am-3pm
  • Train Station Hub: 16th March 4.30pm-7.30pm
  • Haslewey: 26th March 12pm-4pm and 6pm-8pm
  • Hindhead British Legion: 31st March 3.30pm-8pm
  • Grayswood Club: 8th April 10.30am-12pm

Following this consultation process, the Plan will be submitted to WBC who will invite further comment before passing it to an independent examiner who will hopefully approve it for referendum. If a simple majority of residents vote YES at referendum, the policies within the Plan will have legal effect and will apply to all planning applications in the area. Both Haslemere Town Council and Waverley Borough Council will be obliged to use them as they evaluate proposals in key areas of housing, land use, transportation and in the conservation and enhancement of Haslemere’s unique rural character and environment.

Completing the Plan has been a great achievement and the Town Council wishes to thank all those volunteers who have played their part in its preparation. Having now adopted the Plan, Haslemere Town Council are proud to commend it to all who live and work in the area and urge all to respond to the consultation at www.haslemeretc.org/neighbourhood-plan when it opens on the 2nd March 2020.

New Travel Survey Available

Come and complete our new travel survey so that we can understand how people move in, out and within Haslemere and their experience of using the rail station. This will allow us to find solutions to improve conditions for residents and visitors and to help fulfil locally set objectives and visions for the town. The survey is available here: http://www.haslemerevision.org.uk/surveys

Community Housing Consultation Extended to November 14th 2015

In the first 5 weeks since the Haslemere Vision Stage 2 Housing Consultation “What’s next for our town and villages?” was delivered to houses throughout Haslemere and the adjacent villages responses flowed in at an average of 100 per week. This has encouraged Haslemere Vision to extend the closing date for the consultation by two weeks to November 14th.
Haslemere Vision Chairman, Stewart Brown, said – “With four weeks to go till the newly extended closing date it is vital that as many local residents and businesses as possible complete and respond to the survey. This is a unique opportunity to influence how many, where and what sort of houses are built over the next 18 years in and around Haslemere. All residents should have received a copy through their letterbox at the start of September. If you did not receive one or have lost your copy extra copies are available at The Town Hall, the Museum, Haslemere Hall, Marley Flowers, The Library, Haslewey, Tesco, Your Convenience Store (Parsons Green), The Hub and the Coffee Lounge in Beacon Hill, The Cookie Bar (Hindhead) and Grayswood Cars. Better still, go to www.haslemerevision.org.uk and complete on line.”

What’s the Right Direction for Homes in Haslemere?

How many new homes should we be seeking to build? What sort of housing should we build? These are key questions for those who live and work in Haslemere, Shottermill, Critchmere, Beacon Hill, Hindhead and Grayswood. YOUR opinions are being sought in the Haslemere Vision (HV) Consultation Document landing on local door mats during the week commencing 7th September.

It is natural for people who want to preserve the status quo to object to developments that affect the beautiful environment which surrounds us. But how then do we accommodate the needs of young people and the forecast growth in the older, retired population in our area?

A local financial services‘ representative has estimated that a couple wishing to purchase a 3 bedroom terrace house within a 5 mile radius of the Town, need a joint income of £53,400 to support a mortgage of approximately £240,500. In addition, they need to be able to provide upfront costs of £31,250, for a 10% deposit, stamp duty and legal fees. The average price for a semi-detached property in Haslemere in the last year was £378,635. (http://www.rightmove.co.uk/)

The recent housing assessment carried out on behalf of Waverley Borough Council (WBC) showed that the disparity between income and house prices is a serious problem which has led to sizeable declines in the 20 – 40 age groups living in the area.

The outcome of this situation is likely to be an increasing housing problem for young and those on lower incomes distorting the shape of our community and a risk to the long term vitality of the town.

In a parallel development, the numbers of people in 60-74 age groups are expected to increase by 40% by 2021. Older, retired people living in larger properties often want to downsize. At present there are almost no suitable, smaller properties in Haslemere which will enable them to move (walking distance from shops and amenities being key in remaining independent and active). This will force them to remain in large family style property or to leave the community.

In the same timeframe, the number of older people with disabilities is expected to double (Source: Age Concern). Consequently demand for social care will double, but if we can’t house the carers within Haslemere standards of care could be compromised.

All this will reduce the vibrancy of the area which will increasingly become the preserve of higher paid commuters, the aged and a dormitory for Guildford and London.

So, how do you think that we should meet the housing needs of young and old alike?

  • Encourage development of affordable housing for first time buyers and those on low incomes?
  • Encourage the building of smaller dwellings appropriate for downsizers?
  • Create a Community Land Trust formed and operated by local people to build homes that remain affordable, long term?
  • Enable joint ownership or more rental properties through partnerships with housing associations?
  • Encourage conversion of some larger houses into smaller rental apartments?
  • Accommodate more new development by increasing the density allowed in central areas including the division of larger gardens? …..and/or
  • Extend the boundary of our built up area (the building envelope) to allow more homes to be built on greenfield sites?

or perhaps you feel that the downside of new developments is too high?

IT’S YOUR TOWN, YOUR VILLAGE AND YOUR SAY!

Please think about your answers and take the opportunity to complete and return the Housing Consultation between 7th September and 30th October either online at www.haslemerevision.org.uk or by hard copy to the places listed on the second page of the consultation document.

Thank you.

You can read more background material here:

And more is available here:

Wey Hill Fairground Community Workshop Review

On June 21st 2014 some 60 Haslemere residents spent a hot summer’s afternoon sharing their ideas for the future of the Fairground Common on Wey Hill. The afternoon was organised by volunteers from Haslemere Vision. Ideas generated at the event will be included in a community-wide consultation planned for September/October of this year.

The opening session explored the history of the site. A lawyer explained the implications of its legal status as common land and an architect explained some of the development challenges posed by its location and topography. There was a strong consensus that, though not straightforward to develop, the Fairground Common was a highly valuable community asset that, if sensitively developed, could regenerate the Wey Hill area for years to come. Merely to repave the site as a charging car park would be to miss a major opportunity for the community.

Attendees then divided into four groups. One proposed that the site be returned to a green common with a pond for recreational use which would enhance the setting to Grade II listed St. Christopher’s Church. Others suggested various mixed use developments with housing, shops, restaurants, a car park and a public space providing homes and employment for the local community.

Decked car parking was suggested to take advantage of the Fairground’s sloping site and provide parking below street level whilst providing space on top for community use. Possibilities included a public square, allotments or an informal green space that could be used for markets, fairs or artistic performances.

The existing recycling facility was felt to be a significant service for the community and thought would be needed as to where this could be relocated.

One table envisaged developing the Wey Centre as a multi-use facility, not just for youth but also for the broader community, creating an Arts and Community Centre with an amphitheatre in a new square operating in a similar way to the West End Centre in Aldershot or the Arts Centre in Cranleigh.

Another table suggested that Haslemere should use the “Right to Challenge”, conferred on communities by the Localism Act 2011, and bid to take over parking control in the town with receipts coming back directly to Haslemere.

An imaginative suggestion envisaged establishing a community interest “Haslemere Spa” Water Company to bottle the pure water from the nearby spring in Wey Springs. This might also incorporate a microbrewery and could provide revenue for the community, further local employment and, potentially, revive local pubs

At the end of the afternoon those present agreed that it had been a worthwhile, productive and enjoyable consultation exercise. The ideas generated will be further developed and presented to the community in the planned September consultation.

Your Chance to Influence Haslemere’s Future – The Local Economy

This is the second of six articles exploring some of the important issues and strategic choices facing our community over the next 15-20 years. Today’s article focuses on the local economy.

Historically, Haslemere had a dynamic local economy. Recently many businesses have been closed and the sites redeveloped for housing, reducing the number of local jobs. This affects the whole community but is particularly serious for younger people looking to work locally. Without a vibrant, sustainable economy, the town will become a dormitory satellite of Godalming, Farnham, Guildford, and London. Are we content to allow this trend to continue, to leave things to market forces, or should our Neighbourhood Plan include policies designed to attract new and diverse businesses to the town? Policies could:

• protect the current retail base by discouraging change of use
• promote development of modern office space to attract skilled/high tech employment
• foster development of small workshops for craft and manufacturing businesses
• encourage a wider range of shops and ‘high street’ businesses that better meet the needs of the local community and attract more visitors and non-residents.

Should we actively promote the development of local visitor and tourism orientated businesses, capitalising on assets like the Devil’s Punchbowl, Haslemere Museum, Swan Barn, Haslemere events and its status as a public transport Gateway to the South Downs National Park?

Haslemere currently has four separate commercial centres: Old Haslemere, Wey Hill, Hindhead (Crossroads), and Beacon Hill. In recent years, investment has tended to favour Old Haslemere, arguably at the expense of the development of other centres. As shops and other ‘bricks and mortar’ services like banks face growing competition from the internet, will all Haslemere’s centres remain viable? Should we concentrate on the development of one centre that could attract a greater and more diverse range of shops? Can we find a way to create closer integration between Old Haslemere and Wey Hill? What is the future for retail in Hindhead and Beacon Hill?

Tell us what you think about these issues and options by taking part in the community consultations planned for June and September 2014. Meanwhile, look out for our third article in next week’s Herald on here on our website!