Context and reasoned justification
The Waverley Economic Strategy 2015-2020 (ref Evidence list page 69) recognizes that retail, food and drink and leisure will be key employment sectors in coming years. 64% of respondents to Haslemere Vision’s Phase I Consultation favoured supporting the development of more visitor and tourism related business and facilities in the town. Haslemere is an attractive town located amongst countryside of outstanding beauty. Growth of the visitor economy is therefore likely to depend on further enhancing the retail offering in the town and on improving the ease and visual attractiveness of access to the surrounding countryside.
Access to the South Downs National Park and local attractions like the Devil’s Punch Bowl and Haslemere Museum together with the provision of visitor amenities such as cycle hire, cafés, souvenir shops and accommodation (hotels, bed & breakfast establishments or self-catering) could be used to attract more visitors. Although these would provide opportunities for new local businesses and employment it would also put greater pressure on scarce parking facilities and increase traffic. Given the latter concern, it makes sense to focus on attracting visitors who travel by non-motorised transport and by train. The South Downs National Park Authority has already identified Haslemere station as a public transport gateway to the National Park and have contributed to investment in a redesign and refurbishment of the forecourt area.
To encourage development aimed at providing improved service to visitors – favouring travel to and within the town by means other than motor vehicles.
H18.1 Conversion of class C3 (residential) properties for use as class C1 (hotels) use will be supported provided that adequate provision is made for guests to park off-road.
H18.2 Developments for recreational and leisure purposes (class D2) aimed at attracting more visitors, including development outside the settlement boundaries, will be supported provided that such development meets the provisions of other policies in this Plan and is
- in keeping with the surrounding natural environment and appropriate in terms of amenity to residential neighbours regarding the effects of traffic generation, parking, noise and other forms of pollution
- in keeping with the surrounding natural environment in terms of scale, intensity of use or activity
- satisfactorily accessible by sustainable means, including public transport, walking, cycling or horse riding
- serviced by adequate off-road parking for visitors
- connected to other open spaces via safe pedestrian/cycle access