Waverley have recently announced the start of the Regulation 16 Consultation for Haslemere’s Neighbourhood Plan. To find out more go to https://waverley.inconsult.uk/consult.ti/HaslemereNP/consultationHome.
Here you will find the latest version of the Neighbourhood Plan and details about how you can respond to the consultation. If you are interested to see how the policies compare to the previous policies that were consulted on last year, you can look at the Consultation Statement. Appendices 11 a – g have a selection of the responses to the consultation and Appendix 12 shows the policy wording before and after the Regulation 14 consultation.
The most significant changes that were made reflected the community’s wishes that land with designations such as Green Belt, AONB and AGLV should not be built on and that the natural environment and rich biodiversity of the Plan Area is protected and enhanced. Numerous comments were received about the density policy and there is now an explicit statement that the suggested densities are used “subject to achieving high quality design” and the development “being fit for the site’s setting and topography”.
Amendments were made to the Access and Transport policy (H9) but not all of the concerns raised about parking have been completely resolved because neighbourhood plan policy only applies where a planning application is made. The traffic, parking and non-car transport opportunities identified in the Plan will address many of the issues raised and the recently formed Active Travel Group, that includes representatives from the Town and County council as well as volunteers from Transition Haslemere, Haslemere Society and Haslemere Vision have already started working on tackling the issues.
The Trees and Hedgerows policy (H11) now provides additional information about how protection can be achieved. This includes requiring a full site survey by a qualified arboriculturalist or ecologist when a site’s development will affect the trees and hedgerows and the policy now references the relevant British Standards. There are more provisions around replacement planting, when trees are intentionally or accidently damaged, and requirements to ensure trees and hedgerows planted in communal areas within developments are appropriately managed and maintained.
Last April, the Haslemere Vision Biodiversity Team employed two ecologists to work on mapping the Haslemere wildlife corridors (now known as the Haslemere Ecological Network) that were referred to in the Biodiversity policy (H14). This project was funded by the Lobs Charity, Haslemere Society, CPRE Surrey and Haslemere Town Council and the work was completed in time to be incorporated into the latest version of the Neighbourhood Plan. In addition, policy H14 was enhanced by adding that a biodiversity net gain of 20% would be required for development sites. This reflects the fact that Surrey has experienced higher levels of biodiversity loss than the National average based on recent studies.
The economy policies were altered to reflect the new Use Classes that were introduced in September and the policy encouraging the conversion of residential property to hotel use was removed.
The consultation closes at 11.59pm on Friday 19th March. The Plan will then be examined and finally a referendum of Haslemere residents, later this year, will determine whether the Plan is approved and can be adopted. Register to vote so that you’ll be able to participate.