This report makes recommendations on the issues that might be included in the Committee’s final report to the Executive on this subject.
Part of the review will consider how Surrey County Council’s policy and processes impact on environmental issues within Waverley.
Social / community implications:
The review will examine the social and community implications of Surrey’s Highway and Transportation Policy.
Part of the review will be to consider any E-Government implications from Surrey Highways input into Waverley’s planning processes.
Resource and legal implications:
There are no direct resource and legal implications associated with this report other than the officer time involved in the review. The cost and any legal implications that emerge from the review will be included as part of the final report.
Background and Introduction
1. Waverley Borough Council is statutorily obliged to consult the Highway Authority (Surrey County Council) with regard to planning applications received. The Transportation Development Control Department (TDC) of Surrey County Council is the Department responsible for advising Waverley Borough Council (and the other 10 District Planning Authorities) about the transportation implications of applications for planning permission.
2. Waverley receives approximately 3,000 planning applications each year. Of these about 10% are considered by Surrey County Council in greater detail; with the remaining 90% requiring no comment from the TDC with regard to transportation implications.
3. Waverley is obliged to take into account any advice the Highway Authority may give as a result of the consultation. The Highway Authority will only recommend the refusal of an application where it can demonstrate that real harm will occur. It should be noted that it is only advice and that Waverley considers this in conjunction with other non-highway related matters. Waverley then comes to a decision regarding the planning application, having taken all factors into account.
4. The Committee has previously received a Surrey County Council Local Committee (Waverley) report on SCC Transportation Considerations in the Planning Process: The Role of the Highway Authority as a Consultee to the Planning Authority. The document gives valuable background information regarding the consultation process as well as details of the effects that the restructuring in Surrey County Council has had on the services offered to Waverley.
5. The assistance given by Mike Green from Surrey County Council in the preparation of this review is very much appreciated.
Surrey’s current policy and procedures on highways issues
6. Surrey County Council have issued a Transportation Development Control Good Practice Guide. The guide is divided into three sections, Planning Applications, Planning and Highway Agreements, and Vehicle Operator’s Licences; the Planning Applications section being relevant to this review. The Guide has been previously circulated and is available in the Members’ Room for future reference.
7. The guide covers the following:
· Preplanning and planning application assessment
· Compliance with current transport policy
· Compatibility with transport infrastructure
· Developer improvements
· Mitigation of cumulative transport impacts
· Vehicle parking
· Promoting non-car travel
· Highway safety
· Highway encroachment and Improvement Lines
· Response to Local and County Planning Authorities
· Other Planning Matters
a. Consistent Planning Advice
b. Public Representations and Non-transport Impacts
c. Attending District Planning Committees
d. Planning Refusals and Appeals
· Planning Good Practice Guidelines
The Consultation Process
8. An officer from Surrey Highways Authority visits Waverley once a week to inspect all planning applications that have been received. Copies are taken of those applications where transportation issues may have to be considered so that they can be reviewed in more depth. The in-depth review can vary from:
i. A site visit to check that sight lines can be achieved; to
ii. A full transport assessment (to be provided by the applicant), in order to agree with the applicant problems identified and then negotiate any possible solutions to overcome a transportation objection.
9. The Highways Authority is requested to respond to Waverley within 21 days. They achieve this in the majority of cases – the performance measure is 81%. The applications that usually take more than the 21-day response time are where the planning application is complex and the Highways Authority requires more time to consider the issues and potential hazards.
10. For each of the planning applications reviewed checks are made against the following criteria:
· Current national, regional, county and local transport policy.
· Whether the movement of people and vehicles from developments can fit onto Surrey’s roads. If not officers request developers carry out road or transport improvements to enable their developments.
· The need to mitigate the cumulative transport impacts of developments, to combat year on year reliance on Surrey’s existing roads and transport systems.
· The acceptability of the parking arrangements against county standards.
· That developments encourage walking, cycling and use of public transport.
· That new road accesses, junctions and new roads are safe and developments have acceptable vehicle turning and servicing facilities.
· That developments do not occupy necessary parts of Surrey’s roads or affect land reserved for road improvements.
11. All applications that have been reviewed in depth are formally replied to Waverley and will indicate:
i. Whether there is no objection;
ii. The recommendation of the imposition of conditions on any permission granted;
iii. The recommendation that the proposals should be refused on specific grounds given.
Appendix 6 (Cycle Parking Standards)
27. The Committee made the following observations:
· The Committee welcomed Mr Green’s background papers and attendance and convey committee’s thanks for explaining more fully the context and constraints on Surrey Highways;
· Requests the Executive to propose to Surrey County Council that a brief explanation be given of the background to their decisions on a greater number of applications;
· Surrey should be urged to revive meetings with Waverley officers where future highways improvements are taken into account.
· Planning Department to report on the proposed section 106 tariff to the ELOS meeting in March;
· Publicise that Ward members are able to contact Surrey’s Senior Transportation Development Control Officer (currently Phil Townsend) by email phone letter etc to discuss detailed position if necessary. Phil Townsend is based at County Hall and can be contacted by telephone (020 8541 7423) or by email (email@example.com);
· Surrey officers give more weight to ward members local knowledge and the local knowledge of any objectors to an application and look at mechanisms for enabling Members to clarify highways matters;
· To ask Surrey to look at ways of focusing objections through town and parish councils and give these additional weight;
· All members should be sent a copy of the response to Mrs Lovell’s informal question.
· To urge Surrey officers to look at other ways of taking cumulative impact into account when formulating their response.