Community Opinion Survey – Part One – Roads, Transport, Traffic, Parking, and Economy

Haslemere Vision is appealing to all Haslemere residents to respond to a community opinion survey that will be delivered to every household within the Haslemere Town boundary during the week commencing June 23rd. It is important that as many local residents as possible take the time to read and respond to the survey before the closing date of July 31st

Last year, Haslemere Vision asked the community what issues were important for the future of our town and villages. Now it is seeking the views of all local residents on important choices the community will have to make in response to some of the key issues that were identified by the responses it received.

The survey is the first part of a two stage consultation. It deals with issues relating to the future of our roads, transport, traffic and parking and also the future of the local economy. A second stage of the consultation, planned for September or October of this year, will cover issues relating to housing, development and land use.

The responses received to the survey will influence the policies included in a Neighbourhood Plan to be produced later this year. The right to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan is a key provision of the Localism Act 2011 which aims to encourage and empower communities to take a greater role in the planning and development of their towns. The Plan will be put to all residents of Haslemere in a referendum in 2015 and, if more than 50% of those voting vote yes, the policies proposed in the Plan will have legal force. This means that they will have to be taken into account by developers and by Waverley Borough Council in its planning decisions and development control activities over the next 15 or so years.

Haslemere Town Mayor Penny Bradley said “The Localism Act gives communities a real opportunity to have a greater say in the way their local areas develop and I would urge all who live and work in Haslemere to consider the choices set out in the Haslemere Vision consultation document and make their views count by completing and returning the response form.”

The survey can be completed on line at or by completing the paper response form that will be delivered with the survey document and either returning it to one of several drop off points located around the town or by mailing it to Haslemere Vision c/o Haslemere Town Hall.

Have Your Say on How to Improve Access and Parking for Shoppers

Our local shops face growing competition from other shopping centres and the internet. Maintaining and improving convenient access to the shops, whether by car, bus, bicycle or on foot will be of great importance in preserving the viability of shops in Old Haslemere, Wey Hill and Hindhead and Beacon Hill.

Given Haslemere’s hilly terrain, the distances which some have to travel and an infrequent bus service, the car is the main form of access to the shops. Although there is some on-street shopper parking in all shopping areas, the car parks at Chestnut Avenue and the High Street in Old Haslemere and at the Fairground and Tesco in Wey Hill play a vital role in providing access to our shops .These use old-fashioned coin operated ticket machines which either require shoppers to have the correct change or irritate them because they have to over-pay. The charges also discourage convenience shopping for one or two items. It is probable that these parking difficulties will deter shoppers, contributing to the growing financial pressures on our shops. Furthermore, as the town’s population grows, traffic growth on our roads will make walking and cycling within and through the town increasingly unattractive.

To improve the visitor and shopper experience and so support local businesses:

• Should we support the use of public funds (perhaps from Community Infrastructure Levy payments) to fund ‘Green Route’ initiatives to achieve a better balance between car access and bus, pedestrian and cycle access? These would improve the current network of routes for pedestrians and cyclists, linking Old Haslemere, Wey Hill and the Station with the outlying settlements of Hindhead, Beacon Hill and Grayswood and the countryside beyond.
• Should we seek the separation of pedestrians and cyclists from car traffic where advantageous, together with progressively improved signage, surfacing and drainage?
• Should we propose the introduction of new ticket machines or payment mechanisms that make payment more convenient, such as allowing the use of contactless debit cards, credit cards or mobile phones. Such methods could allow the application of discounts for Haslemere residents or free parking periods.
• Should we propose the development of a new purpose-built route linking Old Haslemere to Wey Hill via a new segregated route for pedestrians and cyclists helping to unify these two parts of Haslemere? This route would be purpose-built, flat and wide, designed for a wide range of non-car users such as cyclists, parents with prams, walkers and mobility scooter users.

What do you think? Let us know your views by completing the survey you that Royal Mail will deliver to you during the week commencing June 23rd 2014!

Meanwhile look out for our next article that will explain the aims of the survey.

Have Your Say on the Future Management of Parking in Haslemere

No issue has caused more debate in Haslemere than what measures we should take to manage the impact of parking on the look and feel of the town, on the quality of life of its residents, on the vibrancy of the local economy and on the enjoyment of the town by visitors. The trade-offs involved are many and complex. There is no simple “right” answer. In the space of this brief article we cannot adequately address all the relevant considerations but, in a community consultation survey that will be sent to every household in late June, Haslemere Vision will seek your views on the many options that have been identified. Here we focus on commuter and residents’ parking.

Haslemere Station attracts 3,000 rail users and 900 cars every weekday. About 550 use car parks and the remainder park on roads. Substantial growth in demand is forecast because of housing growth in the station’s catchment area. Should we seek to reduce that growth by:
• favouring housing development within walking or cycling distance of the station,
• improving access for cyclists and pedestrians,
• encouraging park and ride, electric cycle hire and car sharing schemes
• making commuter parking more expensive?

Another option might be to increase parking capacity, by the addition of one or more levels to existing car parks and opening the car park on the north side of the station but to offset this by reducing on-street all-day provision by a similar amount with a parking permit scheme for local residents and those who work in Haslemere.

Alternatively, should we accept that growth in commuter parking is inevitable and plan to accommodate it by supporting the provision of additional off-street parking capacity without making any changes to on-street parking provision other than reacting to demands for residents-only parking on a street-by-street basis?

Future housing development in Haslemere could also lead to a significant increase in on-street parking. To minimise any increase developers must, at least, be required to follow the W B C Parking Guidelines for residential developments published in October 2013. Should we propose an increase in the in the parking guidelines? In addition to residents’ parking spaces within the curtilage of the property developers should developers be required to provide safe storage for cycles and and/or contribute to other green transport projects.

Should we propose the introduction of further zoned parking areas for residents in order to restrict parking in some key streets to the residents living within the street or, if desired, in a wider zone? The implications of the displacement of non-residents already parking in such streets would need to be carefully considered before such restrictions were introduced.

What do you think? Let us know your views by completing the survey you that Royal Mail will deliver to you later this month!

Meanwhile look out for our next article that will look in more detail at access and parking in the town centre