From the Mayor
In 2011 the Localism Act gave communities the opportunity to have a greater influence on the planning decisions for their area by writing a Neighbourhood Plan. In 2012, a group of local volunteers proposed that a Neighbourhood Plan (“the Plan”) should be prepared for the area within the Haslemere Town Council Boundary. The Town Council supported this and, in April 2013, a volunteer led organisation called Haslemere Vision was launched with the aim of preparing a plan that will help to deliver the long term goals of a balanced and vibrant neighbourhood.
Since then more than 80 volunteers have given thousands of hours of time and expertise organising public meetings, online surveys and two paper consultations delivered to over 7,000 households, to seek the views of local residents and other stakeholders, groups and businesses who share an interest in our area. Those involved in developing the Plan have listened carefully to the consultation responses to ensure that the Plan reflects the views of the community.
The Plan covers the area outlined in the map below. Perhaps the defining joy of life in Haslemere is the ease of access to the beauty of the National Trust and otherwise designated countryside that, almost completely, surrounds it, in places reaching almost to the town centre. Haslemere Vision surveys indicated an almost universal desire to protect and cherish this. However, it inevitably results in a scarcity of developable land to provide for a growing population and the demands of modern living. Satisfying these competing objectives has been one of our greatest challenges. We hope that we have struck the right balance in the Plan.
Completing the Plan has been a great achievement and we wish to thank all those volunteers who have played their part in its preparation. It has been a long road but Haslemere Town Council, having adopted the Plan, are proud to commend it to all who live and work in the area.
Once adopted and accepted by Waverley, (the planning authority), this will allow us to claim an increased percentage of the Community Infrastructure Levy (paid by developers) for local infrastructure improvement, plus being more robust in protecting our area against unwelcome planning applications.
Councillor John Robini
Mayor of Haslemere
The Plan Area
Navigating the Plan
There are four key sections in the document:
Overview (Section 1) is where readers will find the Vision and Objectives which are fundamental to the Plan. It also provides a snapshot of the current situation in the area and the key challenges it faces.
Principles (Section 2) which underlie the Plan’s policies and which will help understanding of the thinking behind the policies. Should developments fall outside the ‘norm’, it is the principles which will help keep planning decisions true to the spirit of the Plan.
Policies (Section 3) will help achieve the Plan objectives and following a successful referendum, these will be the legal rules that guide future development. They cannot make development happen however: they cannot pick a plot of land or trigger a project. That is up to land owners. Policies are guidance for progress, not progress itself.
Opportunities (Section 5) were identified by the community as important for the future of the area. These will only happen if residents make them happen. While opportunities and policies are both critical in achieving the Vision, only the policies will have legal effect (although adoption of the Plan will provide evidence of community support for the opportunities and, it is hoped, act as a spur to future action).