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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Council held on 26/04/2006
The Blackwater Valley Network

Report to Local Government Reorganisation SIG - 27th March 2006
Executive – 4th April 2006
Council – 26th April 2006

The Blackwater Valley Network

The Blackwater Valley extends to some 105.6 sq miles and straddles the Berkshire/Hampshire/Surrey boundaries. It encompasses Aldershot, Camberley, Farnborough, Farnham, Fleet and a number of smaller settlements including Ash, Ash Vale, Blackwater, Crowthorne, Frimley, Frimley Green, Mytchett, Sandhurst, Tongham and Yateley.

The combined population of the Blackwater Valley was some 307,219 in 2001.

The towns in the Blackwater Valley experienced significant expansion during the 1960s and 1970s and enjoy a buoyant economy based on high-tech industries. The Blackwater Valley Network was formed in 1996 to avoid problems of fragmentary initiatives and to ensure that future economic growth and landuse and transport planning take place in a co-ordinated manner. The Network was established as a partnership between the local authorities affected and comprises Hampshire and Surrey County Councils and Bracknell Forest and Wokingham Unitaries and Guildford, Hart, Rushmoor, Surrey Heath and Waverley Boroughs/ Districts.

Whilst the area is strategically placed in relation to both Heathrow and Gatwick, it is subject to increasing levels of congestion on the roads and there are shortcomings in the rail network.

A jointly-funded study was undertaken in 2003 which examined alternative strategic approaches to optimise future economic growth in a sustainable manner. This study concluded that the spatial strategy for the sustainable development of the Blackwater Valley would focus on:

the promotion of urban renaissance;
sustaining rural activities;
the efficient use of land;
the integration of land-use and transport; and
the protection and improvement of environmental assets.

A number of joint initiatives have been set up at officer level including:

jointly funded air quality monitoring;
joint approaches to housing needs work;
co-ordination of Transport plans; and, most recently
co-ordination of work on the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area for birds

With the exception of Farnham, the Blackwater Valley was absorbed into the larger Western Corridor Blackwater Valley sub region in the South East Plan. The Blackwater Valley Network became dormant during the preparation of the subregional strategy for this area. Whilst no part of Waverley lies within the sub-region, Waverley officers attend meetings as observers.