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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 07/12/2004
SEERA Plenary Meeting, 29th November 2004 : Debrief

SEERA Plenary Meeting, 29 November 2004: Debrief

The Regional Assembly met yesterday to agree the publication of the draft South East Plan for consultation, which is due to start on the 17 January and run until 15 April. The key decisions arising from the meeting and the implications for Surrey are summarised below:

Infrastructure – A motion by Henry Smith (Leader - West Sussex County Council) to condition new housing development on the provision of infrastructure, recognising that this will require substantial contributions from Central Government, was overwhelmingly supported.
Rates of housing growth – A motion by Sandy Bruce-Lockhart (Leader – Kent County Council) to replace the officer recommendation to consult on 29,500; 32,000 and 36,000 dwellings pa with 25,500 (current five year average build rate); 28,000 (RPG9) and 32,000 was overwhelmingly supported (137 for, 69 against, 9 abstentions). Whilst this is good news for the Region as a whole, it will be important to see the sub-regional distribution arising from the lower figure of 25,500 as Surrey is the only county in the Region with current build rates above RPG9 levels (approximately 20% above).
Settlement size thresholds - Jonathon Glen (Hampshire County Council) had no opposition to a motion to test an alternative threshold size for urban settlements on which to focus growth. The SEERA Secretariat used a threshold of 10,000 and allocated housing to sub-regions on that basis (i.e. the number of settlements with a population of 10,000 or more). Surrey’s figures (for the Central Arc/London Fringe) were increased as a result of this approach, given the urban nature of the area and the consequential high number of towns with a population over 10,000. The SEERA Secretariat will now have to review the distributions to consider what impact a higher threshold of 25,000 would have on the sub-regional distribution.
Review of County residuals – A motion by Jonathon Glen (Hampshire County Council) was narrowly won (96 for, 95 against) for a review of the housing numbers within each of the residual county areas (i.e. all the areas outside the sub-regions). This was to reflect concerns that no account had been taken as to how much urban/rural land there is within each residual area e.g. in Hants the concern was that the residual figure did not reflect the extent to which land was restricted by designations such as National Parks.
Affordable housing – Two motions were lost on the proportion of affordable housing to be provided. Henry Smith (Leader - West Sussex County Council) proposed a motion that favoured the delivery of shared equity housing over social rented. Chris Corrigan (Social & Environmental Partners) proposed a change to the affordable housing target from a percentage of planned housing to an absolute number (12,800). As a result the original target in the Plan remains (an overall target of 25% social rented and 10-15% other forms of affordable housing, including shared equity).
Travellers - a motion by Don Phillips (Chiltern District Council) to require guidance on a regional approach to traveller sites was passed without dissent.
Agriculture - a motion by Maureen Holding (New Forest District Council) to strengthen policy on agriculture was passed without dissent.
Substantive Motion - the substantive motion (to approve the South East plan for consultation, subject to the amendments agreed) was agreed with two caveats proposed by Keith Mitchell (Oxfordshire County Council):-