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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 31/10/2006
MINIPLAN FOR THE THAMES BASIN HEATHS SPECIAL PROTECTION AREA



Summary & Purpose
A report was made to the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 23rd May 2006 regarding the Miniplan. The report set out the details of the Miniplan and members are referred to it for an explanation of how the Miniplan relates to the Appropriate Assessment and the Core Strategy.

A public consultation was carried out on the Miniplan between 1st August and 15th September 2006. This report sets out the responses to that consultation, and in particular the comments of English Nature (now called Natural England).

APPENDIX D
Waverley Borough Council

Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee
31ST OCTOBER 2006

EXECUTIVE - 31ST OCTOBER 2006

Title:
MINIPLAN FOR THE THAMES BASIN HEATHS SPECIAL PROTECTION AREA
[Wards Affected: All]

Summary and purpose:

A report was made to the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 23rd May 2006 regarding the Miniplan. The report set out the details of the Miniplan and members are referred to it for an explanation of how the Miniplan relates to the Appropriate Assessment and the Core Strategy.

A public consultation was carried out on the Miniplan between 1st August and 15th September 2006. This report sets out the responses to that consultation, and in particular the comments of English Nature (now called Natural England).

Environmental implications:

The environmental implications of the Miniplan are that it will show how the mitigation open space needed to compensate for new development in Farnham can be provided.

Social / community implications:

There are no direct implications arising from this report.

E-Government implications:

There are no e-government implications.

Resource and legal implications:

There has been joint working with Woking Borough Council on this project.

Representations on the Miniplan

1. There were 247 representations on the Miniplan, and many of them made the same points. A summary schedule is included at Annexe 1. (The original representations are included in Annexe 2). The outcome of the consultation is that there is strong local feeling that the Park should not be used for mitigation mainly because it is not wild enough to attract people who would otherwise go to the SPA. Secondly respondents thought there was not enough parking and it is regarded as undesirable to provide parking in the Park. Thirdly respondents considered that there have not been enough surveys to verify the workability of the proposal. The other points are included in Annexe 1.
The response of the Borough Council

2. The main point about the Park is that it is a very varied habitat, and there are about 85 ha in the centre and north that are underused and are semi natural in character. These wilder areas can accommodate an increase in the number of visitors, including dog walkers, with their dogs off the lead. Natural England has inspected the Park and is of the view that the Park could provide some level of mitigation. The point made by the representations that the Park was not a similar experience to the SPA has proved not to be a consideration. The remaining problem in the view of Natural England is the lack of car parking and access on the east side of the Park. The argument is that people from the east and south of the Park would not wish to traverse the town centre to get to the existing car park by the Farnham Park Golf Course. Officers are therefore pursuing the potential for additional parking on the east side but outside of the Park.

3. There has been comment that there was not enough survey work done to provide evidence for the proposal. This is being rectified and new surveys are being carried out.

Conclusion

4. Although there have been a considerable number of representations, many of them said the same thing, and it has been possible to provide responses to the concerns. It has also been possible to make changes to the Miniplan to meet a number of the issues raised (see Annexe 1), including those by Natural England. Therefore it is anticipated that the Miniplan will address the representations (see the amendments underlined in the Miniplan document at Annexe 3).

Recommendation

That the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee recommend to the Executive that the Miniplan be adopted as policy of the Council, subject to the provision of a pedestrian link and parking area outside of Farnham Park to serve the east side.

Background Papers (DoPD)

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. Molony Telephone: 01483 523296
E- mail: gmolony@waverley.gov.uk



Comms/o&s3/2006-07/136