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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 23/06/2003
APPENDIX M - CONSULTATION DOCUMENT ON A MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR THE SURREY HILLS AREA OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY



Summary & Purpose
In compliance with the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, the Surrey Hills Partnership has produced a Consultation Document on a Management Plan for the Surrey Hills AONB. This report assesses the Management Plan and offers a response on the consultation.

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
?
N/A
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive


APPENDIX M
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE– 23RD JUNE 2003
_________________________________________________________________________
Title:
CONSULTATION DOCUMENT ON A MANAGEMENT PLAN
FOR THE SURREY HILLS AREA OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY

[Wards Affected: All wards except those in Farnham and Godalming ]
_________________________________________________________________________
Summary and purpose:

In compliance with the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, the Surrey Hills Partnership has produced a Consultation Document on a Management Plan for the Surrey Hills AONB. This report assesses the Management Plan and offers a response on the consultation.

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

Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe, Healthy and Active Communities
Local Economy
Positive
N/A
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive

The AONB Management Plan seeks to preserve and enhance the character, community and economy of the AONB. It will foster the identity of the AONB and highlight its very important qualities. The Plan will generate some very positive environmental impacts and will also benefit the people who live and work in the AONB. Copies of the document have been sent to all Members.

E-Government implications:

There are no e-Government implications due to the nature of the report which relates to the work of the AONB Joint Advisory Committee and not to services delivered by the Council.

Resource and legal implications:

There are no resource or legal implications because the Management Plan is consistent with the objectives of the Borough Council’s Local Plan.

________________________________________________________________________
Introduction

1. The Surrey Hills Partnership was established in 1998. it is a joint advisory committee made up of representatives of the six local authorities covered by the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and a range of other statutory and voluntary organisations with an interest in the area.

2. Waverley has been closely involved throughout the process. The aim of the Partnership is to raise awareness of the special qualities of the Surrey Hills landscape and to set out in the Management Plan common policies and priorities to conserve and enhance its natural beauty.

Status of the Management Plan

3. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 placed a statutory duty on local authorities to prepare and adopt a Management Plan for their AONBs. The constituent local authorities in the Surrey Hills agreed that the Surrey Hill Partnership would coordinate the preparation of the Management Plan on their behalf. All the local authorities will be requested to adopt the Plan independently by March 2004.

4. There are a great number of plans and strategies that impact on the Surrey Hills landscape economy and community, operating at a national, regional and local level. What will differentiate the Management Plan from the other plans and strategies is the primary purpose to conserve and enhance the AONB. The Plan will recognise, however, that this can only be achieved by having regard to all the other related plans and strategies and to the economic and social well being of the area.

5. The Plan will set out aspirational policies on how the Surrey Hills should be managed. Although the policies will not be land use policies or legally binding, the adoption of the Management Plan will be a clear commitment that an organisation has regard to the policies in the delivery of its functions in regard to the Surrey Hills AONB.

6. The period of the Plan will be 2004-2009

The extent of the Surrey Hills AONB

7. More than half the AONB lies within Waverley. The designated area extends from Farnham in the west to Oxted in the east. To the south are the Greensand Hills that include Black Down, the Devil’s Punch Bowl and Leith Hill. In between are the valleys of the Wey, Tillingbourne and Mole rivers and the heaths of Frensham, Thursley and Blackheath. The Low Weald forms the southern fringe of the AONB. (See Plan A at Annexe 1).

Why the Surrey Hills designated an AONB

8. The Plan sets out in some detail why the Surrey Hills is worthy of AONB status. It looks at the whole range of landscape types and habitats, such as woodland, agricultural land and heathland and cross references them with the policies in the Plan.

What is the vision

9. The proposed vision for a 20 year period is as follows:-

10. In order to achieve this vision, the Plan will need to provide both a framework for local and for strategic action. Topic Groups were established to identify objectives, key issues and actions for the strategic action, and the topics are presented in the Plan. They cover:

Farming
Woodland
Nature conservation
Historic and cultural heritage
Recreation and tourism
Land use planning
Traffic and transport
Community development and the local economy

How can the vision be achieved

11. The Plan includes a mission statement that sets out how the vision is to be achieved.:-

12. The Partnership will be served by the Surrey Hills Office. It will be a small, flexible and responsive unit with a clearly recognised and respected role. The unit will promote the Management Plan policies, be a catalyst for action and secure resources to enable practical partnership working”

13. There follows a series of tables showing the topics to be covered by proposed policies and the targets and partners. The aspects covered are:-

Landscape conservation
Awareness and interpretation
Rural enterprise and tourism
Planning and transport
Promoting partnership and coordination.

14. The Appendix to the document sets out descriptions of the local landscape areas.


Comments on the Plan

15. The Consultation Document on the Management Plan has been produced in co-operation with a number of organisations and with local authorities, including Waverley . It is a thorough and imaginative Plan that is likely to serve the AONB well. The only comment that is made at this stage is on the relationship between the Management Plan and local plans, such as the Waverley Borough Local Plan 2002.

16. The document refers to “policies” throughout, but `acknowledges that these policies will need to be incorporated into the “broad spectrum of statutory and advisory plans”, as they cannot be binding in their own right. Provision of status for these policies would normally be achieved by including them in a Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) document, attached to the AONB policy in a Local Plan. It may be that the SPG in this case would take the form of extracts from the Management Plan (because it includes aspects unrelated to land use and would have to be omitted),and also additional guidance on development control principles in the AONB. This aspect needs to be flagged up because the Management Plan is a new type of plan. An issue will only arise if there is some kind of conflict between the Management Plan and the Local Plan.

Conclusion

17. The Management Plan for the Surrey Hills merits the support of the Borough Council, and it will be an important document in the future preservation of the AONB.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Executive gives its support to the Consultation Document on a Management Plan for the Surrey Hills area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

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: G A Molony Telephone: 01483 523296
e-mail gmolony@waverley.gov.uk

comms/exec/03-04/124