Context and reasoned justification
According to Waverley’s Town Centre Retail Study (ref Evidence list page 69) there is a potential need for 945 sqm of convenience floor space (net) in Haslemere’s two shopping areas (the High Street/West Street and Wey Hill) and 1,342 sqm of convenience floor space (net) up to 2028. It concluded that Wey Hill has the more significant convenience goods provision, with Tesco and the Co-op (replaced in 2016 by M&S Simply Food). The provision of a Waitrose store in West Street in 2009 has gone some way towards redressing the balance between Wey Hill and Haslemere.
Despite recent closures, Haslemere has retained a relatively strong retail presence as compared to many towns of similar size and there is a pronounced desire among the local community, which is reflected in each of Haslemere Vision’s surveys, to retain vibrant and prosperous retail centres in the High Street/West Street, Wey Hill, Hindhead and Beacon Hill. There is also strong support for greater integration of the High Street and Wey Hill, while residents of Hindhead and Beacon Hill are keen to preserve and enhance the retail offering in their area.
General Permitted Development Orders (ref Glossary page 63) can be very harmful to these retail areas as they allow the change of certain types of commercial use to residential use without the necessity of planning permission. An Article 4 direction allows councils to remove the permitted development rights for changes of use/development on specific sites so that a full planning application is required. WBC are in the process of making an application for an Article 4 direction for Beacon Hill Road, Beacon Hill. In order to enable future Article 4 directions to be made, a project to gather evidence to assist in the designation of London Road and Tilford Road, Hindhead as a local centre is included within the Opportunities section.
Waverley’s Local Plan Part 2 will designate the primary shopping areas. Waverley’s Local Plan Part 1 protects the ground floors of properties within the primary shopping areas for A1 retail uses but changes to other floors of a property can affect the viability of the current or future retail use of the property.
- To prevent loss of key retail frontage in the High Street/West Street, Wey Hill, Hindhead and Beacon Hill
- To encourage a wide range of smaller, independent shops
H17.1 Article 4 directions should be obtained for the High Street/West Street area of Haslemere, the Wey Hill area of Haslemere and the commercial areas of the London Road and Tilford Road, Hindhead.
H17.2 Applications for change of use to floors other than the ground floor of retail premises will be supported provided that the applicant can demonstrate that such a change of use will not have a negative impact on the operation of the retail premises.