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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 18/10/2005
South East Plan - Consultation on District Housing Distribution

Summary & Purpose
The purpose of this report is to seek Members’ views on the consultation by Surrey County Council on the ‘Preferred Option’ for the district level housing allocations for the South East Plan.




[Wards Affected: N/A]

Summary and purpose:

The purpose of this report is to seek Members’ views on the consultation by Surrey County Council on the ‘Preferred Option’ for the district level housing allocations for the South East Plan.


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

Any additional housing could potentially have quality of life implications. These could be in terms of where development is located, whether infrastructure is available etc. At a general level, however, it is difficult to comment on this issue. In planning for housing in the future and in dealing with specific schemes, the Council will want to ensure that any adverse impacts are minimised. In addition, new housing will also deliver benefits, such as the support to the local economy and the provision of affordable housing to meet housing needs.

E-Government implications:

There are no E-Government implications arising from this report.

Resource and legal implications:

There are no resource or legal implications arising from the decision that the Council makes in relation to this matter.



1. The Council has been consulted by Surrey County Council on the options for the distribution of the South East Plan housing requirements by district. Members will recall the consultation earlier this year on the draft South East Plan. That consultation was in respect of Part 1 of the South East Plan, which contains the core regional policies. Following the consultation, the Draft South East Plan: Part 1 was approved by the Regional Assembly on 13th July and handed to the Government on 29th July. Part 2 of the South East Plan relates to the sub-regional policies, together with the district level allocation of housing.

2. The task of identifying the options for the district-level housing allocations, and carrying out the associated consultation, was delegated by the Regional Assembly to the County and Unitary authorities in the region. The consultation document identifies the preferred option for the housing distribution by district in Surrey. This indicates an annual housing requirement for Waverley of 245 dwellings. In addition to the preferred option, the consultation identifies two alternatives, with an explanation of their relative advantages and disadvantages. The consultation period runs until 31st October.

Background and Context

3. The previous consultation identified various options in terms of housing figures for the region as a whole. The Assembly concluded that an annual average growth rate of 28,900 dwellings would be appropriate in the region, taking account of need, impacts and delivery. The timeframe for the South East Plan is 2006 – 2026. Within the framework of the overall levels of distribution, the Assembly also agreed a proposed distribution for each of the sub-regions, reflecting their different needs and potentials. However, the Assembly also intends that the final submission of the Plan to Government will include District/Borough/Unitary numbers, reflecting the work carried out at the sub-regional level. The agreed Part 1 document includes a table setting out the proposed sub-regional and County housing figures. In relation to Surrey the annual requirements are set out as follows:-
Rest of County (which includes Waverley) 220
TOTAL 2,360

4. The footnote to the table states that all figures are provisional, pending the conclusion of the work taking place at the sub-regional level, and the outcome of the public consultation on the draft district-level allocations. 5. The agreed part 1 document identifies various housing issues, which set the context for the regional strategy and the allocations. For example, the total population is projected to increase by between 766,000 and 985,000 from 2001 to 2026. The number of households is projected to increase by between 518,000 and 724,000 over the same period. Average household size is also expected to continue to fall, from 2.34 persons in 2001 to 2.19 persons in 2026. Other factors that are identified as having a bearing on the future housing requirements include the backlog of housing need, the acute need for social rented and other forms of affordable housing and the overall shortfall in house-building since 2001. In relation to affordable housing, Members may be aware that the Council’s updated Housing Needs Survey has identified an annual need in Waverley for over 600 units of affordable housing.

The Surrey Housing Potential Study 2005

6. As stated above, the task of identifying the options for the district-level housing allocations was delegated to the County and Unitary Authorities. The exercise has involved a capacity-based approach. The starting point was the methodology prepared by the consultants DTZ acting on behalf of SEERA. This methodology was prepared for the Regional Assembly in February and is intended to ensure a consistent approach across the region. Within Surrey, the starting point was the 2003 Housing Capacity Study prepared to inform the housing distribution in the 2004 Surrey Structure Plan. Officers from the County Council and the districts have worked to roll forward the earlier study, in order to cover the South East Plan period of 2006 – 2026. The various categories of housing supply that have been used in the latest study are the same as those used in the 2003 study, although some of the detailed assumptions have changed to reflect more recent development experience.

7. For the purposes of housing monitoring, sites are divided into three categories:-
8. In terms of housing potential for the period 2006 – 2026, the following sources of supply were included:-

Commitments on large and medium sites (these include the sites with permission; sites, (such as Farnham Hospital), where there is a resolution to permit housing; and sites allocated in the Local Plan for housing or a mixed-use including housing, such as East Street and the key sites);

An estimate of future provision on small ‘windfall’ sites;

An estimate of future provision on medium ‘windfall’ sites; and

An estimate of future provision on large ‘windfall’ sites. 9. ‘Windfall sites’ are those that have not previously been identified/allocated for housing. It has been the practice for some time to estimate future capacity from these sources based on past trends. However, there are some underlying assumptions that impact on these projections. For example, in the current case, the projected supply of future housing on small and medium sites is derived from the average annual supply over the period from 2000 - 2005. Completions data is available for a longer period, and if a longer period were used then the average annual completions would be lower. This is because annual completion rates have increased over recent years. However, the decision was made to use the 2000 – 2005 period because it takes into account the effect of revised national policy in Planning Policy Guidance Note (PPG) 3, which was published in 2000. This introduced the requirement to deliver housing with a minimum density of 30 dph. In order to illustrate this point, the average annual completions in Waverley on all sites in the three years from 2002 – 2005 was 231 dwellings per annum. By comparison, the average for the three years prior to this (i.e. 1999 – 2002) was 173 dwellings per annum.

10. The study has also considered the potential supply from large windfall sites: a) that are already in residential use; b) that result from a change from another land use; and c) that are on previously developed land in rural areas. Although the study uses past data as the basis for projections, there are assumptions that underlie these projections. For example, in the case of sites already in residential use, the methodology involved collecting county-wide data for the supply of housing from these sites over the period 2000-2005 and then distributing future estimated supply based on each district’s share of Surrey’s total urban area. In the preferred option, it has been estimated that the total supply from large windfall sites in Waverley over the 20-year period to 2026 would be some 1149 units (an average of about 57 units per annum).

11. In order to put these figures in context, the following table sets out the net housing completions in Waverley on small, medium and large sites for the period April 1997 – March 2005.

Small sites
Medium sites
Large sites

The Preferred Option

12. The preferred option, which identifies an annual housing requirement for Waverley of 245, has been derived from the work to update the Surrey Housing Potential Study. In the consultation, the preferred option is described as follows:-

reflects both national and regional policy
the Green Belt will be protected
a more sustainable pattern of development will be possible
makes use of any capacity in existing infrastructure
easier to take initiatives to improve the environment in towns

concern about greater pressures on infrastructure and service provision
type of housing may not match demand
continued redevelopment and higher density might change the character of towns
possible threats to the quality of life in towns from the congestion and more intensive development.”

Officer Comment

13. In formulating its response to this consultation there are a number of factors the Council will need to consider.

14. Firstly, there is the fact that the capacity based exercise leading to the preferred option for district-level housing allocations has resulted in a figure in excess of the 220 figure that SEERA had indicated for the ‘Rest Of Surrey’, (which not only includes Waverley but also parts of three other Surrey districts). SEERA has indicated that its figures are provisional, pending the outcome of the work that has taken place at the sub-regional level. There is also some uncertainty about precisely how SEERA arrived at its projected sub-regional split. Nonetheless, the distribution for Waverley of 245 per annum is noticeably larger than the 220 that SEERA had identified, particularly as this annual requirement would be for 20 years.

15. Secondly, the proposed distribution has been the result of a “bottom-up” exercise to identify capacity within the Surrey districts. This resulted in the conclusion that Waverley has this potential to accommodate this amount of housing. In considering this, Members will have noted from the table above that the trend has been for annual completions to increase. However, whilst the projections for future supply on “windfall” sites are derived from past levels of completions, there are also assumptions applied to arrive at some of these figures. Moreover, the projections for future delivery on windfall sites assume that they will continue to come forward at about the same rate for the next 20 years.

16. In addition, it should be noted that in the evidence relating to housing capacity, there is a degree of ‘frontloading’. The proposed annual average of 245 is derived from the overall estimated capacity in Waverley over the 20-year period. This total is based on two estimates of capacity, one for the period 2006 – 2016 and the other for the period 2016 – 2026. The estimated capacity is as follows:-

17. The figure for the period 2006 – 2016 includes existing commitments (i.e. large and medium sites with planning permission, sites identified in the Local Plan etc.). These amount to about 1,000 dwellings. The remainder is made up of the estimates of the supply on small, medium and large windfall sites in that period. The estimates for the second period, from 2016 – 2026 are entirely made up of the trend-based estimates of windfalls on small, medium and large sites.

18. Thirdly, the consultation paper issued by the County Council considers not only the Preferred Option, but also two alternatives. These alternatives are explained and the potential advantages and disadvantages identified. However, the consultation stops short of indicating what the district-level distribution would be as a result of these alternatives. The alternatives are:- releasing small parcels of Green Belt land may make it easier to respond to local housing needs
less expenditure may be required for infrastructure where there is capacity already available
some pressures on the quality of life within towns may be reduced.
need to find a number of locations on the edges of existing towns
small extensions are likely to be primarily residential in character and not provide a mix of uses
small extensions are unlikely to justify planning benefits which support improvements in the quality of life for the town
loss of Green Belt and other countryside and threats to the coalescence of towns on edge of London.
ignores constraints such as areas of high flood risk which are locally significant.


larger scale offers greater opportunity to create a more sustainable community, requiring the developer to fund social and community facilities and enhance physical infrastructure such as transport networks
greater potential for the new development to benefit the host community as well as newcomers
concentration of activity would support the longer term regional spatial strategy.
development of this scale may exceed the capacity of existing local infrastructure requiring phased provision
the larger the scale, the more difficult it is to integrate the environmental impact of an extension into the character of the area
loss of Green Belt land.”

19. Although the consultation does not indicate the implications of these other options in terms of district allocations, it is clear that the second option, which would involve an increase in the allocation in the three regional hubs of Guildford, Redhill and Woking, would result in a corresponding reduction in the requirement for Waverley and other districts.

20. As part of the process of considering this consultation, it is proposed that a Policy Forum meeting takes place at which Members will have the opportunity to hear the views and comments of representatives from a range of interest groups and organisations. The outcome of the Forum will be fed into the meeting of the Executive.


1. Members' views are requested in the light of the public consultation, this report and the outcome of the proposed Forum meeting; and

2. The Executive is asked to recommend the Council to make a formal response to the consultation for Surrey County Council.


Background Papers (DoPD)

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



Name: Graham Parrott Telephone: 01483 523472

E-mail: gparrott@waverley.gov.uk