How Much Housing Does Haslemere Need?

I’ve been researching the facts about the need for housing in Haslemere.  So far, my conclusion is “not much”.

Waverley Borough Council has posted on its webite a document called the “West Surrey Strategic Housing Market Assessment,  September 2015“, which covers the whole of West Surrey, with assessments broken down by borough. More importantly for Haslemere, there is also a “Waverley Addendum” to this document, which includes some detailed figures for Haslemere (alongside  Farnham, Godalming, Cranleigh and “others”). Continue reading “How Much Housing Does Haslemere Need?”

Council Diary – Week 1 (May 13th – 19th)

My first formal Council business was an induction meeting on Monday evening, with a presentation by a guest speaker from Waverley on the councillor’s code of conduct, some further information from our town clerk.

Thursday evening was the first real business meeting for the new council, We elected Liberal Democrat John Robini as our new mayor (with Jacqui Keen  as his mayoress), and Conservative Simon Dear as deputy mayor.  and the business of allocating councillors to the various council committees and working groups, and as council representatives on a range of outside local bodies.  I have agreed to serve on the planning and finance committees and the neighbourhood plan working group. I will also represent council on the  Charter Fair committee and Haslemere Health Group.

At the conclusion of the meeting, I (and the other incoming new councillors), was given a Haslemere tie, which I now wear when attending any meeting as a town councillor.

In between meetings, I had a reread of the proposed Haslemere Neighbourhood Plan. This is a document that has been six long years in the making, driven by Haslemere Vision – a local voluntary group. It was adopted by the outgoing council earlier this year, and must now go to a public consultation, followed by a referendum. If it passes the referendum, it becomes the formal Neighbourhood Plan, which must be taken into account by Waverley Borough for their planning decisions affecting Haslemere. If not – back to the drawing board.  Hence, the need for careful study. I have now gone through it twice, and will do so again. 

Also important for planning, is the controversial proposed new development in Scotland Lane, on the Red Court site – which the developers prefer to refer to as “Scotland Park”. For months, I’ve been aware of intense opposition from the local Haslemere South Residents Association, largely on the grounds that this is declared AONB land (“Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”) which they believe should not be developed. There are also concerns about the impact on traffic through Scotland Lane.  I’ve taken a first, cursory look at the glossy brochure given to me at the end of last week, but will need to give it much more careful study, and have a good look at the site, before I can reach any conclusion on this.

 

My Council Diary – Week 0 (May 6th – 12th)

This week was really just a prelude to formally taking office. The local elections had been  held on Thursday May 2nd, but ballots were not counted until Sunday 5th. Immediately after the declaration, the Haslemere depute town clerk presented me with a large purple folder of homework – documents to read, some forms to complete and sign.

By Wednesday, I had an email from our Haslemere Town Clerk, which among other things invited me to set up my formal Haslemere Town Council email address (terry.weldon@haslemeretc.org) , which should be used for any correspondence on Council business.

On Friday morning, I went down to the town hall to complete the paperwork, and at the same time took advantage of in invitation to meet the police commander for Waverley Borough, Inspector Gary Smith, who was in town to meet residents and hear our concerns. I spoke to him about the conspicuous lack of visible policing which we all know is due to draconian cuts in budget. What I did not know, was just how far-reaching those have been for neighbourhood policing specifically – but he assured me that he is fighting hard to improve ,matters, and has now had approval to double the budget for this: from two officers, to four.

Over the weekend, I answered a ring at the door, to be greeted by a lady from the Redwood property development company, with a large, glossy brochure about their proposed redevelopment of the Redcourt site on Scotland Lane (which they are choosing to call “Scotland Park”). This will require careful study and consideration.

On Sunday morning after Mass, I met with  our team of Liberal Democrat town councillors, together with Green Councillor Claire Matthis, for a discussion about our preferences for the key council posts.

My first formal council meetings will be next week, with an induction meeting on Monday, and the annual meeting to elect mayor and deputy mayor on Thursday.