Neighbourhood Plan formally submitted

enp-frontEffingham’s Neighbourhood Plan has reached a landmark stage. Effingham Parish Council has now approved the plan, which has also been ‘Health checked’ by an Independent Examiner. The Plan has now been formally submitted to the Borough Council and enters the ‘Regulation 16’ stage of formal consultation. It will now carry official weight in planning decisions impacting Effingham.

The Plan, which was the subject of a parish-wide survey, received overwhelming support from the majority of Effingham residents. Over 54% of households commented on the plan, mostly expressing their support.

Arnold Pindar, Chairman of Effingham Parish Council, said:

“It was clear from the results of the survey that residents were in strong agreement with the plan which combines innovative policies to protect and conserve wildlife corridors and the character of the village, with small scale housing developments to deliver the sort of homes that local people want and need.”

Paula Moss, Chair of Effingham Neighbourhood Plan Group, (ENPAG), added:

“Our policies to protect wildlife habitats, heritage assets and treasured views received almost universal support from residents. Almost 2/3 of residents supported each of the four sites proposed for new homes. We are delighted by the level of support the plan has received and grateful to the huge amount of work undertaken by residents, at workshops, public meetings and working groups, to help shape the detailed plan. It has truly been a huge community effort.”

The Plan, updated to reflect the views of residents and formal bodies such as Natural England, is now available from the Parish Rooms or via the Parish Council website – www.effinghamparishcouncil.gov.uk  Full details are also available by clicking here:

Effingham Neighbourhood Plan

Guildford Borough Council will now take the plan for further consultation prior to formal examination, and hopefully a recommendation that the plan be put to a referendum of all Effingham residents later this year.

Liz Hogger Borough Councillor for Effingham added:

“This is a huge step for Effingham and a great example of what a community can achieve by working together, with excellent support and advice from Guildford Borough Council planning officers along the way. The Neighbourhood Plan will give Effingham a stronger voice in planning decisions which affect our village and countryside.”

The Neighbourhood Plan: Over to you!

Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 16.46.13After three years of development, Effingham’s Neighbourhood Plan has reached its crucial ‘Pre Submission Consultation’ stage. The Parish Council is seeking formal comments from residents and other consultees, before the Plan is submitted to Guildford Borough Council. The Plan is the result of extensive engagement with residents, and other interested parties, through public events, surveys, and workshops. It is the Plan that the Effingham Neighbourhood Plan Advisory Group (ENPAG) believes best meets the views and aspirations of our community.
The specific purpose of the Neighbourhood Plan is to set planning policies for the parish that will help shape and determine planning decisions in Effingham, including the number and type of new homes, where those homes are built, the protection of our Green Belt countryside and landscape, and design principles to preserve the character of the village and wider parish.

We will be delivering survey forms to all households in the parish over the next two weeks. Residents and interested parties can also comment upon the plan by using the comment form on this website.

Details of the consultation can be found by clicking the link here

Effingham Parish Council Approves Regulation 14 submission

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On Tuesday 19th April Effingham Parish Council approved a motion to press ahead with Regulation 14 Consultation on the Neighbourhood Plan. Around 50 residents attended the meeting in which the preferred draft plan was proposed by ENPAG Chair Paula Moss and seconded by Borough Councillor Liz Hogger. The motion was passed with only one objection.

The plan will now be taken forward and a formal consultation period will begin with residents in early May. The plan can be downloaded by clicking on the links below. All comments are welcome on the plan and should be directed by email to effinghamvillageplan@gmail.com

or via the Parish Clerk at the Parish Room at 3 Home Barn Court, The Street, Effingham. (01372 454911)

Preferred ENP 160419 Full Doc

 

ENPAG approves Draft Plan for presentation to EPC

The Neighbourhood Plan team met last night to review all the proposed policies for inclusion within the preferred draft of the Effingham Neighbourhood Plan. Members voted overwhelmingly on a motion to take forward their preferred draft for presentation to Effingham Parish Council on 19th April 2016.

If accepted by the council, the Draft Plan will then proceed to regulation 14 formal consultation with a planned village wide survey to be conducted in May. If accepted by residents the plan will be submitted to Guildford Borough Council. It will have reached a stage then when it will start to carry real weight in the planning process.

This is an exciting time for Effingham. As many local residents have commented, the influence of the Neighbourhood Plan can already be seen on the redrafted local plan and we hope as we move forward that influence will be greater still. We look forward to taking the plan to residents and working with the community to further improve the ideas in the plan.

 

Borough Councillor Liz Hogger explains GBC decision on Berkeley Homes Planning Application

The Howard of Effingham School has been part of our village for over 75 years, and I think Effingham residents are pleased the Howard is an outstanding school, and want to be able LizHto support it. I suspect that an application to improve the school facilities on an appropriate site, with some extra houses of a quantity and type to meet the needs of our community, would probably receive significant local support. Unfortunately that wasn’t on offer.

Instead the planning application proposed development across 25 hectares of Green Belt, which is ‘inappropriate’ in planning terms unless there are very special circumstances. The National Planning Policy Framework regards development in the Green Belt as inappropriate with the exception of ‘limited infilling’ in villages, redevelopment of previously developed (brownfield) land and a few other limited types of development.

The new school was planned to expand from 1600 to 2000 pupils and was to be built on the Green Belt gap between Effingham and Little Bookham, on the eastern part of Effingham Lodge Farm. To pay for that, the application proposed 295 new homes, to be built on mostly undeveloped Green Belt at Effingham Lodge Farm and Browns Field, as well as on the existing Howard site. Very special circumstances to justify such destruction of Green Belt land would be if there is an urgent need for a replacement school and an urgent need for an increase in school places.

The Howard failed to make that case. Firstly the school manages to be outstanding in its current buildings and it is not included in the Government’s Priority Schools Building Programme, as it would be if the need was urgent. Secondly there is no evidence of any urgent need for an increase in pupil numbers. The important fact is that the school already takes all first preference pupils from its catchment area and feeder schools, and a few more on top of that.

The proposed ‘enabling development’ of 295 new homes would be an increase of well-over 30% in the number of households in the village. Borough Council officers had serious concerns about Berkeley Homes’ viability appraisal. It seems they had not made a convincing financial case that so many new homes are necessary to pay for the new school. I pointed out to the Planning Committee that only around 28% of those homes would be the smaller two-bedroom and one-bedroom homes the village needs, for young people and older people wanting to downsize. There was no guarantee of any ‘affordable homes’ at all, for Housing Association rent or shared ownership, even though the Council’s viability consultant is quite clear that this could be delivered as well as a new school.

Council officers proposed ten reasons for refusal, including:

  • The proposal was inappropriate development in the Green Belt, impacting on the openness of the Green Belt and conflicting with the purposes of including land within the Green Belt, and very special circumstances had not been demonstrated. On the Lodge Farm site, the officer’s report pointed out on page 32 that ‘the open undeveloped land on its eastern side acts as a buffer between Effingham and Bookham. Development here would effectively merge the settlements of Effingham and Little Bookham. In the words of the report, ‘the proposal would conflict with the spirit of what the Green Belt seeks to achieve.’ELF east
  • Damage to the rural character of the village, to the Conservation Area, and to the setting of listed buildings. This was summed up in the report on page 46 ‘Due to the scale of the development, as well as the urban design and layout of the sites, it is considered that Effingham would lose its modest rural character and would become far more urbanised.’

Other reasons for refusal related to the impact on wildlife at Thornet Wood, the lack of a car park at Effingham Common which meant there was no SANG (Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space) to discourage use of the Special Protection Area of Wisley and Ockham Commons, loss of the playing field at Browns Field, and failure to submit legal agreements to provide affordable housing and contributions to improve community facilities.

I felt we needed an additional reason for refusal, relating to traffic and parking. I pointed out to the Planning Committee that Effingham can barely cope with the congestion from school traffic already. Although the application offered some extra car-parking, it was highly doubtful that it would be enough for a 25% larger school, with more staff and visitors as well as more sixth-formers. Then add in the traffic from all the 295 new homes feeding onto the narrow lanes and roads through the heart of the village. I felt that all this extra traffic would result in danger to children and parents walking to the St Lawrence Primary School nearby, and to children walking or cycling to the Howard from either Bookham or the Horsleys. The Browns Field site for 37 houses included fewer car parking spaces than is allowed under current standards, which is not enough in an area like Effingham where cars are a necessity not a luxury. Happily the Planning Committee agreed with me and we added an extra reason for refusal based on 2003 Local Plan policies and NPPF Chapter 4 Promoting Sustainable Transport.

In summary, it seemed clear that the planning harm to our village and our Green Belt clearly outweighed the benefit such a scheme would provide. The Planning Committee agreed to refuse the application almost unanimously, with just one abstention.

I very much hope that the Howard School and Berkeley Homes will think again. I hope they will have a genuine discussion with the community about how to improve facilities at the school and provide some of the homes we need without building on undeveloped Green Belt and without urbanising our village.

 

Guildford Borough Council support Effingham Neighbourhood Plan and reject Berkeley Homes proposal for 295 homes in Effingham

Howard Plan sitesOur Neighbourhood Plan took a huge step forward last night after Guildford Borough Council’s Planning committee refused the controversial Berkeley Homes Planning application for 295 homes, and a replacement secondary school for the Howard of Effingham.

The application was refused with an almost unprecedented 11 reasons cited by planners for refusal. Members from Effingham Parish Council, the Neighbourhood Plan Group (ENPAG) and EFFRA all spoke on behalf of residents to oppose the application. Effingham’s Borough Councillor, Liz Hogger, spoke with great verve to summarise residents’ opposition to the plans, winning the support of fellow planning councillors who voted unanimously (with one abstention) to reject the proposals.

We can now press on with our plans for the sustainable development of our village, building the homes that local people want and need, on sites that minimise the impact on our village, and safeguard the historic character and environment of Effingham.

Parish Councillor & Chair of ENPAG, Paula Moss, said:

“On behalf of ENPAG and the Parish Council, a big thank you to all those who wrote in to planners, and turned up last night to support our village. We will now continue to work on a sustainable plan that supports all the community, of which our schools are an important part. It is important to point out that, whilst we opposed this planning application, we remain a committed supporter of The Howard, and would welcome the opportunity to work positively with the school on plans to improve the facilities to the benefit both of the school and the wider community in which the school sits.”

Arnold Pindar, Chair of Effingham Parish Council said:

“This was an immensely important night for Effingham, and I am pleased that the Planning officers at Guildford, made the correct decision based on the planning facts before them. Our efforts will now continue on the Neighbourhood Plan, which can now move forward with confidence to the next stage. My thanks go out, on behalf of the council, to all those who contributed to the effort last night.”

Community workshops another great step forward for Effingham Neighbourhood Plan

A dedicated group of some 40 residents of Effingham braved cold and rain last Saturday to take part in community workshops on the number of new homes needed in the village, and where they should be built. The workshops, open to anyone in the civil parish, were organised by Effingham Parish Council as the next step in the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan, moving towards the first formal consultation process in May.

Led by parish councillor Paula Moss, the participants considered the results of a Housing Requirements Survey, which suggested around 52 new two-bedroom and one-bedroom homes were needed in the parish, to meet the needs of young families and older couples wanting to down-size. Allowing for some three-bedroom homes as well, the draft Neighbourhood Plan proposes a target of 62 new homes to meet the requirements of Effingham residents, to be built over 15 years.

Recent government guidance on housing targets for Neighbourhood Plans means Guildford Borough’s strategic housing need must also be taken into account, but the constraints of Green Belt limit the number of homes that Effingham can reasonably provide. Sixteen possible sites for new homes were examined and scored using criteria including Green Belt policy, a preference for using previously-developed land, the impact on Effingham’s Conservation Area, traffic implications, the effect on wildlife and potential flooding problems. Following sometimes lively discussion, participants voted in favour of four of the possible sites, enough to accommodate the target number of homes.

Cllr Moss says

“It was very encouraging that so many residents were prepared to give up three hours of their time on a wet Saturday to think hard about the future they wanted for the village. Some residents argued passionately that their children and other young people wanted to stay in the village and needed homes they could afford. Others were equally passionate about wanting to protect our Green Belt countryside.”

“The Neighbourhood Plan needs to get the balance right on the housing target and on allocating land where homes can be built. 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.”

Following nearly three years of consultation with residents, detailed technical discussion with Borough Council planners, and much hard work from local volunteers, the emerging Neighbourhood Plan is heading for formal ‘Regulation 14’ consultation in May. This will include a parish-wide survey, with every household in Effingham receiving a summary of the proposed Plan and a survey form to give their opinion of the Plan. More public events will be held in the run-up to the consultation, including drop-in sessions on draft policies on Environment, Design and Conservation, Community, Infrastructure and the Local Economy. Open to all Effingham residents, details of the sessions can be found on the Village Plan website http://www.effinghamvillageplan.com.

To include the widest range of views on the process, the Parish Council has set up the Effingham Neighbourhood Plan Advisory Group (ENPAG) to advise the Parish Council and make recommendations on the final Plan and consultation. As well as parish councillors, ENPAG members have wide experience and come from different parts of the Effingham community, including schools, churches, environment and conservation groups and Effingham Residents Association.

ENPAG will meet at least once a month, scrutinising the draft Neighbourhood Plan policies and making recommendations for consideration by the Parish Council at its monthly meeting. A particularly important task for ENPAG will be to consider the implications of Guildford’s draft Local Plan, now expected to be published at the beginning of April. The Neighbourhood Plan must by law be consistent with the Local Plan, which sets the strategic planning framework across the Borough.

Cllr Arnold Pindar, the Chairman of Effingham Parish Council, says:

“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 over the three years 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 already put in to draft a very impressive Plan, and look forward to seeing the results of the Advisory Group’s scrutiny and review of the draft before we go out to consultation with the wider community.”

A copy of the presentation can be read by clicking on the link below:

presentation feb 13th workshop v3 100216

And the slides from the exhibitions:

Saturday 13th Site review day v4 100216

 

Progress Update

Prior to Christmas we held an event to publicise the latest draft of our Neighbourhood Plan  and give residents an opportunity to tell us what they thought so far. In addition we submitted the plan to an Independent Examiner to review the technical aspects of the plan.

The results of the health check, along with clarifications of points raised by both GBC and EPC with the Examiner, can be found below:

np-health-check

np-hc-clarification

Since receiving and reviewing the report from one of the leading examiners, the team has been busy redrafting policies to ensure they comply with the very strict technical requirements of Planning Legislation and Guidance. You will see from the clarifications raised with the Examiner that Neighbourhood Planning is far from simple process!

Arnold Pindar, Chair of Effingham Parish Council recently wrote to all residents to inform them of the latest developments and his report along with further notes on the Health Check, can be found below:

chairhalfrep2015-16

A Strategic Environment Assessment screening has also been undertaken on the draft plan. The results of this are very encouraging and can be found below. EPC now plans to hold further discussions with Natural England to make further enhancements to ensure the plan delivers on its objective to conserve the natural environment and heritage of the village.

np-sea-screening

Further Public Meetings are now planned over the next few months to finalise policies under the guidance of a newly formed Effingham Neighbourhood Plan Policy Advisory Group.(ENPAG)

Details of how you can get involved in that process can be found by following this link 

We hope as many residents as possible will join with us to help write the final version of the plan.

 

 

 

Policy Advisory Group to be launched

 

As we approach the formal consultation phase for our Neighbourhood Development Plan, Effingham Parish Council (EPC) is proposing to launch a new community based group to coordinate the final phases of development of the Neighbourhood Plan.

Subject to final approval at the next Parish Council meeting, the remit of this new group will be to take on the plan from its current draft state to the Parish Council, and following their approval, to formal consultation with all residents. The group will consist of up to 12 members who will meet at least monthly to review and guide the work of the various Working Groups already in operation on different areas of the plan.forumpic

The Advisory Group will review existing policies, and where they feel necessary, coordinate the Working Groups to explore appropriate new policies. The group will be responsible for recommending the final draft of the plan to EPC for Regulation 14 consultation within the parish.

We would like to invite you to put your name forward to participate in this exciting group that will be at the forefront of the Neighbourhood Plan process in the village.

EPC is reviewing the proposal at the next Parish Council meeting on 26th January (7.45pm KGV Hall), following which we will be in contact with you to formalise involvement with the group. Please note that as numbers will be capped, we may not be able to accommodate everybody on the group and will seek to balance representation across the parish if we receive more applications than places available on the group.

If you are interested in participating in this group please therefore reply by filling in the form below:

We will be in contact following the EPC meeting on the 26th January to confirm participants and share next steps.

Thank You.

Draft Plan now available to view

Effingham Parish Council is pleased to announce that the draft Neighbourhood Development Plan for Effingham is now available for residents to view and pass comment upon. A formal public meeting is planned for this coming weekend (see prior post), when the plan will be presented by the council who will take questions from residents.

Following feedback from residents the plan will be redrafted to accommodate views expressed before a village wide consultation takes place via a survey to be delivered to all residents asking for feedback. Following the results of the survey, the final plan will be redrafted for a formal ‘Regulation 14’ submission to Guildford Borough Council. This represents the first formal stage of submission of the plan.

Prior to this stage the plan will also be assessed by an Independent Inspector to ensure that it meets all regulatory requirements ahead of a formal submission.

This is an exciting stage in the development of the Plan and Effingham Parish Council wish to thank all residents and community groups for their considerable efforts in supporting development of the plan policies, and making the plan possible. We hope to see as many residents as is possible at one of the two meetings this coming weekend.

Copies of the plan (including supporting appendices and village design statement) are available by clicking on the links below:

ENP Sept Draft

ENP Sept Draft Appendices

VDS text Sept Draft

HRS Summary of Responses