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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 07/12/2004
South East Plan and Western Corridor Blackwater Valley Sub-Region



Summary & Purpose
At the meeting on 2nd November 2004, the Executive considered an update report on the progress of work on the South East Plan and noted that the whole of the Blackwater Valley, including Farnham, has been absorbed into the Western Corridor/Blackwater Sub-region. Some members expressed concern at the inclusion of Farnham into this sub-region.

The Regional Assembly anticipates publishing the draft South East Plan in January next year. This plan will provide the strategic guidance for the region until 2026. It will be a complex document which will require careful consideration. The purpose of this report is to outline the process for consideration of the document.

It is proposed that the Terms of Reference of the Local Development Framework Special Interest Group, currently charged with assisting in the production of the Local Development Framework, should be expanded to incorporate this work.

In response to Members’ concerns about the inclusion of Farnham within the Western Corridor/ Blackwater Sub-region, the report also summarises the current position regarding the current position regarding the South East Plan.

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


APPENDIX G

WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE – 7TH DECEMBER 2004

Title:
SOUTH EAST PLAN AND WESTERN CORRIDOR BLACKWATER
VALLEY SUB-REGION
[Wards Affected: All Farnham Wards]

Summary and Purpose

At the meeting on 2nd November 2004, the Executive considered an update report on the progress of work on the South East Plan and noted that the whole of the Blackwater Valley, including Farnham, has been absorbed into the Western Corridor/Blackwater Sub-region. Some members expressed concern at the inclusion of Farnham into this sub-region.

The Regional Assembly anticipates publishing the draft South East Plan in January next year. This plan will provide the strategic guidance for the region until 2026. It will be a complex document which will require careful consideration. The purpose of this report is to outline the process for consideration of the document.

It is proposed that the Terms of Reference of the Local Development Framework Special Interest Group, currently charged with assisting in the production of the Local Development Framework, should be expanded to incorporate this work.

In response to Members’ concerns about the inclusion of Farnham within the Western Corridor/ Blackwater Sub-region, the report also summarises the current position regarding the current position regarding the South East Plan.

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

E-Government implications:

There are no direct implications.

Resource and legal implications:

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

Introduction

1. The South East Regional Assembly (SEERA) is preparing the Regional Spatial Plan for the South East, to be called the South East Plan. At the meeting on 2nd November 2004, the Executive considered an update report on the progress of this work and noted that the whole of the Blackwater Valley, including Farnham, has been absorbed into the Western Corridor/Blackwater Sub-region. Some members expressed concern at the inclusion of Farnham into this sub-region.

2. The Regional Assembly anticipates publishing the draft South East Plan in January next year. This plan will provide the strategic guidance for the region until 2026. It will be a complex document which will require careful consideration.

Process for consideration of the South East Plan

3. The South East Plan will provide the overall strategic planning framework for the South East Region until 2026. It will also provide the strategic framework for the Local Development Framework which this Council has to produce.

4. The Executive has set up a Local Development Framework Special Interest Group (SIG) to assist in producing the Local Development Framework within the Government’s timescale. This SIG is chaired by the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Major Development and comprises members with specific interests in planning matters who represent both political groups and who are drawn from all parts of the Borough.

5. In view of the skills and interests of the members who serve on the Local Development Framework SIG and in view of the need to ensure that there is a co-ordinated approach across both strategic and local policy formulation, it would be logical for the Executive to extend the terms of reference of the Local Development Framework SIG to include consideration of the South East Plan. It would also be appropriate to alter the name of the SIG to reflect this wider remit. A possible name for the SIG would be the Planning Policy Special Interest Group. This would encompass both the strategic as well as the local policy issues.

6. The current process for consideration of documents produced by the SIG is complex, involves up to five stages and can take up to four months as it involves two Committee cycles. This is likely to make it very difficult for the Council to achieve the milestones set out in the Local Development Scheme.

7. In order to ensure that the Council meets its milestones and that the various documents produced by the SIG can be given proper consideration within a single cycle, the reports of the SIG could be referred to the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee in “overview” mode prior to the Executive as a matter of course, viz:-

Special Interest Group
Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Executive
Council

Summary of current position regarding the South East Plan

8. The Consultation Draft of the South East Plan has just been published (17th November) for the meeting of the Regional Assembly on 29th November. It extend to nearly 360 pages. Officers are currently preparing a summary report. This will be circulated before the meeting.

9. The Regional Planning Committee met on 8th November. It felt that SEERA should carry out further work on infrastructure (transport, water services, etc) and that more attention needed to be paid to residents’ quality of life. It also identified the following additional areas of work:-

(a) information about the geographical spread of the housing “backlog” of 29,000 homes;

(b) more evidence about the appropriateness of planning for economic growth of 3%, and more consideration of the jobs/employment supply balance, taking account of factors such as double-jobbing and off-shoring;

(c) more evidence to justify statements that water resources can be managed in such a way as to permit higher levels of growth;

(d) evidence for the assumption that congestion leads to people getting out of cars.

10. The Regional Planning Committee has put forward three levels of development to the Assembly on 29th November:-

29,500 dwellings per annum (RPG9 level inclusive of growth areas)
32,000 dwellings per annum
36,000 dwellings per annum

11. It is understood that the RPG9 rate would not make it easy to address the housing backlog.

12. GOSE has indicated that it wants higher than RPG9 and SEERA has stated that the upper levels of growth should satisfy future employment needs.

13. Subject to the Assembly agreeing the draft South East Plan at its meeting on 29th November, the document will be published for consultation. It is understood that the consultation period will take place between January and April 2005. A second period of consultation will be needed in Summer 2005 on district level housing allocations. SEERA is also expecting to arrange a series of meetings for key stakeholders (similar to the Spring Debates which were held earlier this year) where the Plan’s options can be discussed in detail.

14. This Council will be able to give careful consideration to all aspects of the plan at that stage, including the question of boundaries of the various sub-regions as they impact upon Waverley and the indirect impacts of the policies in those sub-regions upon Waverley. Members will recall that the Council has specifically requested that the question of boundaries of the sub-regions will be one of the matters that will be debated during the consultation process.

15. Attached at Annexe 1 is a diagram setting out the various ways that this Council, Parish and Town Councils and individuals will be able to make their comments to SEERA during the consultation period. The various routes are not mutually exclusive.

16. SEERA is looking to District and Borough Councils to assist in the forthcoming consultation. SEERA will be providing “partner resource packs” for all Local Authorities and will be encouraging districts to use their own networks and initiatives to assist in cascading information. It is understood that SEERA will be sending out information to every household.

17. In due course the SIG will need to consider:-

(a) the most appropriate method of consultation in Waverley;

(b) whether the information presented by SEERA should be presented neutrally or whether the Council should provide a comment to assist Waverley residents make their response;

(c) how to engage with Parish and Town Councils, Local Strategic Partnerships, and who should front the local meetings;

(d) press releases/public statements.

18. The extent of staff resource and budget implications cannot yet be assessed.

19. An oral update will be made on the outcome of the meeting of the Regional Assembly on 29th November.

Recommendation

It is recommended that:-

1. the terms of Reference of the Local Development Framework Special Interest Group be expanded to incorporate consideration of the South East Plan;

2. the title of the Local Development Framework Special Interest Group be changed to reflect its wider remit;

3. arrangements be made to ensure that the documents produced by the SIG are given proper consideration within a single cycle as set out in paragraph 8 above; and

4. the current situation regarding the South East Plan be noted.

Background Papers (DoP&D)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Peter Hartley Telephone: 01483-523297

E-mail: phartley@waverley.gov.uk

comms/executive/2004-05/300