Wardens: A. Baillie, R. Donovan, L. Driscoll, A. Green, I. Symes
Item A. Neighbourhood Plan (NP)
A1 Presentation of EFFRA’s committee views was given by DK. See synopsis in Appendix A.
A2 EH responded to the presentation as follows:
There were 60 comments back from residents on the draft NP
May be acceptable to include selected sites in the NP
EPC will issue a questionnaire to all households in due course
EPC have had a meeting with Berkeley homes
The GBC Local Plan (LP) is due to issue mid-June for a 6-week consultation period.
It may not be necessary to extend the Settlement Area in order to develop Effingham Lodge Farm – but this possibility had not yet been reflected in the current draft NP.
It was noted that about 100 dwellings have been built in Effingham during the past 45 years.
A3 EPC will be holding a Workshop at KGV on Sat. 13th Feb. open to all residents regarding potential development sites.
Minutes of previous meeting: 12-11-15, approved.
1 CD had been unable to make contact with the transport business believed to be responsible for the late night noisy lorry traffic on Orestan Lane. KP reported that the traffic noise seemed to have stopped. No further action at present.
5 SCC have acknowledged DK’s letter, stating that a response would issue by 11-1-16; it is still awaited.
The Gypsy/Traveller Seminar date is fixed for 17-2-16 (09.00 to 13.00 hrs.) at KGV. Places will be limited to 120. Information will be posted on EFFRA website shortly.
Berkeley/Howard: Date for decision postponed yet again; now March 2016.
Traffic and weight issues in village: Discussion postponed to next meeting.
15/P/01899 St. Lawrence School railings: The application had been approved. Given that the railings are antique (1913), VW and Cllr C. Hackett are endeavouring to have them used elsewhere, preferably in Effingham. The Committee noted that the KGV manager had expressed an interest.
15/P/ 02442 Conversion of old PO into flats: A new appln. has been lodged, now for 4x flats. It was unanimously agreed to object to this change of use on grounds of detrimental affect to the shopping facilities and economic viability, overdevelopment of the building and likely parking problems. Action: DK to write to GBC.
Press: Nothing to report.
Current account stands at £1525, deposit at £3811. JN-S reported that funding may be available from Community Foundation Surrey. CD suggested that this could be pursued for funding a major function (like the forthcoming Gypsy Event) on an annual basis. Action: JN-S/CD to pursue.
Website: Nothing to report.
8.1 Regarding the cancelled meeting between EPC/EFFRA and P. Spooner, GBC Lead Councillor, he will now be invited to a standard EPC meeting.
Constitution: Deferred to Feb.
10.1 DK drew attention to an article in Surrey Ad. 8-1-16, regarding plans to demolish Thatchers Hotel and build houses. F. Howells expressed concern about traffic access at this junction for such development. C. Hackett also added that the proposed Opera House at W. Horsley Place is also likely to create traffic problems in due course.
Next meeting: Parish Room, Thurs. 11-2-16
D.J. King (Hon. Sec.) Issue: 01, 16-1-16
APPENDIX A – DK presentation
The objective of the presentation was to update Wardens on the current status of the Neighbourhood Plan (NP) and on EFFRA committee’s concerns and objections to the issued draft NP.
Background was given, including reference to both Berkeley Homes application for the Howard/ Effingham Lodge Farm (ELF) and the discredited Guildford Local Plan of 2014.
July-Aug. 2014 EFFRA issued a questionnaire to all households. The responses (see below) are EFFRA committee’s mandate for its expressed concerns and objections to draft 01 of the NP.
Sept. 2015 EPC (Effingham Parish Council) issued draft 01 of the NP on 8-9-15, just 2/3 days before consultation meetings arranged for 11/12-9-15. EFFRA committee were dismayed to find that their comments, and the advice from other respected bodies such as CPRE and case history of previous NP’s from other parishes had been ignored.
At the same time, the draft had been sent to the Health Check Examiner, whose report issued early Oct.
Oct. 2015 The Health check Examiner’s report is issued and is very critical of the draft NP. In his Summary he said:
“The majority of policies fail to meet basic conditions on many grounds. Meeting basic conditions is the single most important requirement for neighbourhood planning policies.”
He also said in the Summary:
“It is strongly recommended that plan makers consider policies of neighbourhood plan that have already been made following Referendum”
Nov. 2015 EPC half-year report issued. EFFRA committee’s view is that this seriously misrepresents what the Examiner actually said in his report and subsequent clarifications.
2016 EPC have a programme for revising the NP, including workshops open to all residents, leading to a planned draft 02 to issue 1-5-16 for an 8-week consultation period.
EFFRA Questionnaire (Aug. 2014)
Approx. 350 responses were received from the approx. 1,000 households in the village.
In summary the results showed that:
Against Settlement Area expansion 89%
Against building on ELF 87%
Against building on existing school site 66%
Thus EFFRA committee submits that residents have shown they are overwhelmingly against building on ELF and this is the committee’s mandate for strongly opposing EPC’s proposal in issue 01 of the NP to build on ELF.
It should also be noted that the footprint of permanent buildings on ELF is nowhere near the sum footprint of the 30 houses proposed by EPC.
EFFRA committee’s opinion
3.1 Settlement Area (SA)
EFFRA’s views have been conveyed to EPC over the months of preparation before issue 01 of the NP was issued on 8-9-15. The committee is against EPC’s proposal to extend the Settlement Area to include:
Church Street field, St. Lawrence School, The Red House site, the Catholic Church site, the British Legion site and ELF (West)
The Examiner stated that an NP couldn’t propose extension of an SA unless there is demonstrated overwhelming support. From EFFRA questionnaire (see above), there is overwhelming rejection.
3.2 Effingham Lodge Farm (ELF)
EPC lodged strong objection to the Berkeley Homes application to build approx. 160 houses and a 2,000 pupil school on this site. For EPC now to propose building on this site is regarded by both CPRE and EFFRA as seriously flawed.
It is also, perversely, contrary to policy actually included elsewhere in issue 01 draft and is contrary to provisions of the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) against urban sprawl and merging of villages.
3.3 Selection of sites
The Examiner, CPRE, case history of other NPs (including Bookham), all state that an NP should not select sites but deal in general policies. The EFFRA committee strongly oppose inclusion of the four selected sites or indeed any selection of sites in the NP.
3.4 Housing numbers
The numbers are based on an EPC survey in 2013. EFFRA understands that the response was 80% out of the 1,000 households in the Parish. EFFRA are not only critical of the methodology used to arrive at the figure of 60 in the NP, but also of the dangers. GBC Local Plan will dictate the number; if EPC include a figure there is danger of offering more than GBC propose.
Also, NPPF allows a percentage for “windfall sites during the 15 year period of the Plan.” EPC do not appear to have made such allowance.
These are the reasons why EFFRA cannot support issue 01 of the NP and would strongly recommend residents to reject it. However, it remains to be seen whether issue 02 of the NP is drafted to acknowledge EFFRA’s and the residents’ concerns and objections and becomes a document that both can support. At present, the signals from EPC point to disappointment.
Finally, a quotation from an item in Surrey Advertiser of 8-1-16:
“Plans to build 78 homes in Normandy (Guildford) have been refused due to the harmful impact the development would have on the Green Belt”. Just like ELF and some other sites identified