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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 07/12/2004
South East Pland and Western Corridor Blackwater Valley Sub-Region Consultation Draft - A Summary

Summary & Purpose
This report provides a summary of the main points of the Consultation Draft of the South East Plan (to be considered by the Regional Assembly on 29th November 2004) as they affect Waverley.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Resource Use
Prevention and Control
and Nature
Safe, Healthy
and Active




South East Plan and Western Corridor Blackwater Valley
[Wards Affected: All Farnham Wards]

Summary and Purpose

This report provides a summary of the main points of the Consultation Draft of the South East Plan (to be considered by the Regional Assembly on 29th November 2004) as they affect Waverley.

Quality of life implications – social, environmental & economic (sustainable development):

E-Government implications:

No direct implications.

Resource and legal implications:

The resource and legal implications are set out in the report.



1. The South East Regional Assembly (SEERA) is preparing the Regional Spatial Plan for the South East, to be called the South East Plan. The Consultation Draft of the South East Plan has been published and was considered by the Regional Assembly on 29th November 2004. A summary note of the outcome of the plenary meeting of SEERA on 29th November is annexed (paragraph 8 of the principal report (Appendix G) refers). The Regional Planning Committee will meet on 8th December to consider these outcomes.

2. The South East Plan will provide the strategic guidance for the region until 2026 and will provide the spatial framework for the region within which Local Development Documents, Local Transport Plans as well as other regional and sub-regional strategies and programmes (including regional economic and housing strategies and air quality, biodiversity, climate change, education, energy, environmental health and sustainable development strategies and programmes) are to be prepared. It is a long and a complex document extending to nearly 360 pages. A copy is available in the Members’ Room.

Summary and Main Points of Consultation Draft

3. The Consultation presents a number of options and choices for debate. The document will be subject to extensive consultation between January and April 2005. The outcome of the Consultation will be used to shape the final draft of the South Plan which will be the subject of a further round of consultation and subsequent public examination.

4. The South East Region contains over 8 million people and, apart from London, is the most prosperous part of the country. Much of the area contains high quality landscape and although it is the international gateway into the country (Heathrow, Gatwick and Channel Tunnel), its road and rail systems are heavily congested.

5. The vision of the draft Consultation states:

“Through the Plan and other measures, the South East will show a sustained improvement in its quality of life over the period to 2026, measured by the well-being of its citizens, the vitality of its economy, the wealth of its environment and the prudent management of its resources.”

6. Of particular importance to Waverley, the document states that “the rural dimension is clearly significant and sometimes requires a distinctive emphasis”.

a) Population and Households

7. The document projects that the total population in the region is expected to increase between 985,100 and 1,094,800 over the plan period, that household size will reduce from 2.34 persons to 2.15, that the number of households will increase between 724,000 and 866,000 and that there will be an increase in the proportions of people aged between 45 and 60 and 75+. The document also indicates that both inward and outward migration will continue.

8. The document also indicates that there is a backlog of housing need of some 29,000 households.

b) Economy and Employment

9. Total employment in the South East is forecast to rise between 734,000 and 805,000, however the number of economically active people living in the region is projected to increase by between 497,000 and 562,00. This could lead to labour shortages, further in-commuting and in-migration.

10. It is anticipated that employment in mining, utilities and agriculture is likely to decline by between 46% and 51%. Employment in manufacturing, minerals and construction is also predicted to fall whilst financial and business services are projected to increase by 51%. The role played by the leisure, the “knowledge-based” economy and by universities and home-based industries is also likely to increase in importance. This is likely to lead to an increase in demand for office and retail space and a reduction in demand for industrial land.

11. It is also anticipated that the loss of businesses to other countries (offshoring) could also have a significant impact on employment growth levels

c) Aviation

12. The document expresses concern about inherently unsustainable substantial increases in air traffic over the plan period and that the proposals for a third runway at Heathrow and a second runway at Gatwick have not been adequately justified.

d) Infrastructure

13. The document recognises the “prime and almost universal concern” about the adequacy of infrastructure and indicates that further detailed work is being undertaken.

Strategy Options

14. The Core Strategy seeks to “nurture and enhance the region’s assets, maintain its high quality of life, increase its prosperity and meet its reasonable needs through a sustainable programme of intensive management, rising standards of resource use and development and increased adaptation and mitigation”. The Core Strategy goes on to state that housing development and economic growth will be “phased and closely related to the availability of infrastructure and associated services” and that over the plan period “a level of economic growth equivalent to…an increase of 3% per annum is assumed and planned for”.

15. The Consultation Draft is consulting on three levels of growth:

16. The Consultation Draft suggests two options for distribution:

continuation of existing policy; and
sharper focus

17. Whilst growth levels have been calculated for the “existing policy” option, no figures are yet available for the “sharper focus” option.

Continuation of
existing policy
29,500 dpa
29,500 dpa
of existing
32,000 dpa
29,500 dpa
of existing
36,000 dpa
London Fringe
Western Corridor
Blackwater Valley
Surrey Residual

18. The Regional Assembly is undertaking a Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment. These are not yet complete.

Cross-cutting Policies

19. The draft Consultation Document contains a number of “cross-cutting” policies which apply across all aspects of the Plan, viz-

Active Management (encourages positive and creative approaches to land and resource management);
Climate Change (recognition of opportunities & threats posed by climate change and encouragement of programme of mitigation/adaptation);
Resource Use (encourages stabilisation of consumption of resources);
Infrastructure & Implementation (timely delivery of necessary supporting infrastructure);
Use of Public Land (management strategy for disposal of public land of regional significance);
Inter-regional Connectivity (co-ordination with adjoining regions);
Urban Focus (focus development on urban areas/previously developed land/urban infill/urban extensions/transport hubs);
Spatial Emphasis (focus on sub-regions for growth/regeneration/economic opportunity – include London Fringe and Western Corridor Blackwater Valley);
Green Belts (retention of GBs and improvement of land-use management and access)
Gaps & Corridors of Regional Significance (to be identified).
20. The draft Consultation contains a number of topic-specific policies, viz:

a) Economy & Tourism Sustainable Economic Development (allocation of employment land on sustainability-based criteria & support for rural economic diversification);
Supporting Sectors (support for regionally significant & locally important sectors/clusters);
Human Resource Development (encouragement of up-skilling/education [including services/facilities]/training/ access to job opportunities);
Supply of Employment Land (retention/provision of sufficient employment land to promote contained sustainable growth and economic diversity; more efficient use of existing sites; resist loss of suitably located industrial and commercial sites);
Rural Tourism (promotion of tourism and recreation-based rural diversification of appropriate scale and where they provide jobs for local residents);
Regionally Significant Sports Facilities (protect, upgrade & develop new regionally significant sports facilities [particular emphasis in Thames Gateway, Milton Keynes/Aylesbury and Ashford];
Tourism Attractions (improve quality to meet changing consumer demands and high design/access/environmental standards; sequential approach to new regionally significant attractions; Regional Casinos should be subject to the sequential test);
Tourist Accommodation (encourage diversity of accommodation, including consideration of need and transport issues);
Visitor Management (to be included in tourism/cultural strategies, Development Plans & Local Transport Plans in an integrated manner);
Priority Areas for Tourism (sub-regional priority for a number of areas including Windsor and surrounds; cross-border working/strategic planning of visitor accommodation/attractions encouraged). b) Housing District Housing Provision (not yet available);
Delivering Planned Levels of Housing (LAs to prepare housing allocation strategies to include phasing of large sites and provision of infrastructure);
Location of Housing (creative use of opportunities in existing settlements whilst recognising quality of life issues; 60% on previously developed land; LAs to carry out & keep up-to-date Urban Potential Studies, Housing Market & Housing Need Assessments; all housing to be in sustainable locations which have the necessary infrastructure & well served by choice of transport mode; higher densities encouraged in & near locations well served by public transport; LAs to identify suburban/rural areas in need of renewal; some housing needed in rural areas to meet identified social and economic needs);
Housing Density and Design (higher densities encouraged with overall regional target of 40 dwellings per hectare over plan period, sustainable construction encouraged);
Type and Size of New Housing (LAs to carry out Housing Market Assessments to identify range of housing needs);
Making Best Use of Existing Stock (LAs to assess existing housing stock in meeting housing needs & promoting urban renaissance & implement measures to reduce number of vacant, unfit & unsatisfactory dwellings). c) Communications and Transport investment strategies facilitating sustained economic growth, environmental enhancement and promotion of social inclusion;
in rural areas to focus on community-based transport, innovative & adaptable approaches and encouragement of cycling/walking;
support & development of regional “hubs” [Guildford] and “spokes” [A3 & A31 corridors];
improved & integrated public transport services;
adoption of restraint-based maximum levels of parking;
encouragement of rail freight. d) Sustainable Natural Resource Management Sustainable Water Resources and River Quality Management;
Strategic Water Resources Development;
Sustainable Flood Risk Management;
Conservation and Improvement of Biodiversity (provides highest level protection for nationally and internationally designated sites);
Woodland (protection of ancient woodland & promoting effective woodland management; new/replacement woodlands encouraged on degraded landscapes; encouragement of economic use of woodlands as renewable energy source;
Air Quality and Noise;
Waste Reduction and Recycling (includes targets);
Renewable Energy (includes targets);
Sustainable Construction;
Aggregates and Minerals e) Countryside and Landscape Management Conservation & protection of AONBs: including encouragement of land management policies; emphasis on sustainably located & designed small scale proposals;
Protection and enhancement of landscape and countryside outside nationally designated areas & encouragement of sustainable management of land and habitats. f) Built and Historic Environment Urban Renaissance (higher density/mixed use schemes; identification of key sites for which briefs/masterplans to be developed; improvement of public realm/public spaces);
Managing Neighbourhood Change (identification of neighbourhoods which would benefit from pro-active/integrated approach though Area Action Plans and Neighbourhood Management Plans;
Managing the Urban Rural Fringe (identification of issues and opportunities including dereliction & under-use);
Role of Small Rural Towns (Market Towns) (LAs to encourage and initiate schemes to strengthen viability; provide small-scale [especially affordable] housing; protect character & appearance; develop public transport network);
Village Management (LAs to plan positively for small scale affordable housing [especially affordable housing] & business and service developments in villages to meet defined local needs subject to rigorous design and sustainability criteria;
Management of Built and Historic Environment (support conservation & enhancement of historic environment and assets). g) Town Centres Development of Regional/Sub-regional Town Centres (accessible/attractive/ vibrant/mixed use/balance of facilities: focus on regeneration/renewal as place where people want to live, work and visit);
Regional Network of Town Centres (includes Farnham, but not Godalming, Haslemere or Cranleigh) as focus for major retail developments, major cultural/tourism/social & community venues and large scale leisure & office developments;
Sub-regional Town Centres (criteria for development/redevelopment, including impact on scale/character of urban fabric);
Creating and Supporting Town Centres (stresses sequential approach; encourages Town Centre Management Partnerships; promotion of urban regeneration, quality design, safe environments, mix of uses, improved public transport/cycling links and on-going maintenance);
Retail (regional network of Town Centres to be prime focus for new retail development). h) Social, Cultural and Health Dimensions Reducing Disparities (poverty, social exclusion, poor health);
Supporting Healthy Communities;
Promoting Accessible Health Services;
Supporting an Ageing Population;
Cultural & Sporting Activity;
Education and Skills;
Community Infrastructure.
21. Draft Policies have been drawn up for the 9 sub-regions which are required to address specific cross-boundary issues within those sub-regions. Sub-regional reports by strategic planning authorities in each sub-region. In general the reports reflect:

a general caution about future levels of growth;
the need to link housing growth with a reasonable projection of economic growth;
an acute concern about the inadequacies of physical and community infrastructure; and
the need to ensure that future growth is linked to specific assurances and programmes for infrastructure provision. a) London Fringe Sub-Region making best use urban areas plus Green Belt releases as extensions either around all settlements or focussed on the regional hubs (Guildford, Redhill/Reigate and Woking);
making best use urban areas plus a Green Belt release focussed on a new settlement. b) Western Corridor and Blackwater Valley Sub-Region LAs will, with GOSE, SEERA and SEEDA, develop a strategy to encourage economic growth which minimises demand for additional labour and release of additional land for employment purposes;
LAs to identify infrastructure needs to support development, including phasing. developing an affordable housing strategy;
scale and distribution of employment generating floorspace;
links with adjoining areas, including London and Swindon;
infrastructure needs; and
drawing up a delivery programme. c) Gatwick Area Sub-Region
22. The final sections of the Consultation Draft address the issue of delivery and monitoring. The document states that the Implementation Plan (yet to be published) will seek to redress the legacy of past under-investment in order to enable the region to release its full potential. It will clarify the current and future levels of investment and also identify the role of the Private Sector. It will also tackle phasing and priorities and delivery partnerships. It is also proposed to have a discrete section on monitoring. Draft tables have been produced to identify delivery mechanisms, lead and support agencies and resource requirements. Draft tables have also been provided setting out the types of indicator needed for monitoring and data sources


Background Papers (DoP&D)

Consultation Draft for Regional Assembly Plenary meeting 29th November 2004


Name: Peter Hartley Telephone: 01483-523297