Fringe Box



Waverley Must Provide 200 Extra Homes Each Year

Published on: 31 Jan, 2023
Updated on: 1 Feb, 2023

By Emily Coady-Stemp

local democracy reporter

Developers may ‘seize’ on Waverley’s new target of building nearly 200 extra homes a year as a result of a planning policy review, a councillor has warned.

Waverley Borough Council adopted its Local Plan, the document that sets planning policies in an area, in 2018 and has a statutory requirement to review it by the end of February 2023.

It estimates that the cost of updating its plan would be £850,000.

Guildford Borough Council has resisted calls for its Local Plan to be reviewed earlier than legally necessary because of the risk of an increased housing target.

National guidelines set the number of homes the borough council must provide each year.

This currently works out as 549, but grows to 590 as it must also provide additional homes that can not be met by Woking Borough Council.

Additionally, revisions to national planning policy means Waverley’s new target would grow to 743 homes a year.

The updates were discussed at its overview and scrutiny committee meeting on January 24.

Farnham Residents’ Group Councillor David Beaman raised concerns over the adoption of the 743 homes figure as part of any review saying it would “inevitably be seized on by developers to argue the case for further speculative development” because the current plan would be seen as “out of date”.

Officers told the meeting that any updates would not “give developers ammunition” and that the full council would need to provide “substantial reasons” if it decided not to update the plan.

The review has been recommended for approval and will be before Waverley Council’s Executive Committee on Tuesday, February 7. During this period, the Local Plan will “remain the starting point for decisions on planning applications while an update is brought forward”, officers said.

A written ministerial statement was published by the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities on December 6,  2022 which outlined forthcoming changes to planning.

A formal consultation on reforms to national planning policy began on December 22, 2022 with the government saying it intended to publish a revised national planning policy framework in Spring 2023.

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