6:00am 28th October 2014
A row is brewing over the number of houses that could be built in Waverley.
In Waverley Borough Council’s recent publication ‘Making Waves’, it suggests building 8,450 homes in the borough in the next 20 years.
That works out at an average of 470 homes each year.
It is part of their Draft Local Plan, which is an important planning document that will influence where residents live, work and shop in the area.
But residents like Janine Hislop are confused as to how the council has arrived at this number: “The people of Waverley need to know the actual number of new homes that we need and how Waverley have calculated the number they have come to.”
Janine is also worried how that number of houses will impact the local area: “I just can’t even begin to imagine where all the traffic is going to go.
“Let alone the problems with the schools and medical centres.
“We are stretched as we are at the moment, and to have all these other homes being built is quite scary to be honest with you.”
Janine continues: “A representative of Binscombe Green Belt has telephoned Waverley’s planning department.
“They received confirmation that the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) is only a draft document and will be replaced by a new SHMA prepared jointly with Guildford and Woking.
“There are no timescales as to when this new SHMA will be available.
“We in Binscombe have been advised that without a published SHMA the current consultation will have to be repeated.
“The people of Waverley need to know the actual number of new homes needed and how this has been calculated.
“We believe that the necessary statutory process will not have been fulfilled by the current consultation.”
A spokesperson from Waverley Borough Council said: “The most up to date published SHMA for Waverley is the document dated October 2013.
“This is what identifies 470 homes a year as the need for housing in Waverley.
“Waverley is currently working with Guildford and Woking Borough Councils to produce a SHMA for the whole housing market area covering Waverley, Guildford and Woking.
“That work has not yet been finished.
“Once the new SHMA is finalised, then Waverley will take its findings into account in moving the new Local Plan forward.
“The purpose of the SHMA is to identify the need for housing locally and it is one of the requirements of national planning policy to produce a SHMA.
“However, it should be pointed out that the need figure identified in the SHMA does not automatically become the housing target for the Local Plan.
“Before deciding on the final housing target for the Local Plan it will be necessary to ‘test’ whether Waverley can accommodate this amount of housing in a sustainable way, taking account of a range of factors, including designations like the Green Belt and the Area of Outstanding Natural beauty (AONB).