A PLANNING blueprint set to help shape the future of Effingham is approaching its final stage of consultation, as more villagers are asked their opinions
By Jennifer Hardwick firstname.lastname@example.org
IDEAS: Effingham parish councillor Paula Moss with some of the public consultation boards used by the group to judge public opinion on proposals CRDC20150412B-001_C Photo by David Cook
The Neighbourhood Plan, developed by the parish council, has been almost three years in the making.
The process was started in 2013 but suffered a setback in 2014 when Guildford Borough Council scrapped its Local Plan for the area, following a change in Government green belt policy.
With the borough council expected to publish a new draft Local Plan at the start of April, Effingham can forge ahead.
Parish council chairman Arnold Pindar said: “It has been a long hard road to reach this point in our Neighbourhood Plan, with the planning context from both government and the borough council changing regularly since we started out.
“I am immensely grateful both to the volunteers from the community and to parish councillors for all the work they have put in.”
To gather the widest range of views on the process, the parish council has now set up an Effingham Neighbourhood Plan Advisory Group (ENPAG), with members giving their views on the parish council’s final ideas.
ENPAG members come from different sectors of the community, including schools, churches, conservation groups and Effingham Residents’ Association.
The draft Neighbourhood Plan proposes a target of building 62 new homes over 15 years to meet the requirements of Effingham residents.
Participants in consultations to date have voted in favour of four sites which could be used for development, which would be enough to accommodate this target. These are at Church Street, Lyons Field, Effingham Lodge Farm and Beech Avenue.
The land at Church Street is 0.7 hectares and is surrounded by buildings, but sits within the heart of the Conservation Area adjacent to St Nicolas Church.
The Lyons Field site is 0.6 hectares and is located opposite Leewood Way, alongside St Lawrence Primary School. It is previously undeveloped.
The land at Beech Avenue is 0.9 hectares and has development on just two sides.
The selected land at Effingham Lodge Farm is on the western part of the site, which has also been identified for use in developer Berkeley’s plan to expand Howard of Effingham School and build 300 new homes, using both this land and the school’s current site on the opposite side of the road.
But the parish council has suggested it be used for only up to 30 homes, and only if the rest of the site is cleared and returned to open green-belt land.
Parish councillor Paula Moss said: “With support from residents, the plan can provide the homes we need for a thriving community whilst still protecting our countryside and the character of our beautiful rural village and parish.”
Formal consultation on the plan, which will follow its submission to the borough council, will include a parish-wide survey, with every household in Effingham receiving a summary of the proposal.