CCS received a grumbling letter – it goes something like this –
Let’s talk about Community Infrastructure Levy now at last we have a LOCAL PLAN, but what does this mean?
An agreed LOCAL PLAN gives our planners at Waverley Borough Council the power to control future housing development; they can plan for the development of new infrastructure, roads, railways, schools, hospitals etc. and very importantly it enables the Borough Council to charge house builders a COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY known as CIL for short.
What is CIL?
CIL raises monies towards the cost of the new Infrastructure needed for the developments to go ahead. What a wonderful step forward we all exclaim!! and so it is. But what of the housing already approved? approaching 2000 houses throughout the borough. Well unfortunately
CIL is not retrospective.
How much will Waverley charge? www.waverley.gov.uk/CIL
According to WBC’s website Waverley’s draft proposal sets a CIL rate of £395/ Sq Metre of floor area for all new housing, (about £40,000 on an average 3 bed house), except quite reasonably for “Affordable Housing” where there is no charge. So taking the 35% of Affordable Housing the Borough is committed to build away from the approximately 2,000 houses so far approved, there will be a loss of CIL to the tune of a minimum £60 MILLION pounds. £60 MILLION pounds that will NOT be available to improve our ROADS, our SCHOOLS, our HOSPITALS, our BOROUGH!!
How could this have happened we may ask? It happened because our planning officers at Waverley failed to come up with a plan that satisfied the Government’s criteria for a LOCAL PLAN.
How a Local Plan is developed by the Borough Planners
The basic criteria affecting us as council tax payers was to identify suitable sites for new housing. This has to satisfy the Central Government’s housing policy, a requirement that was for about 350 houses a year until 2032. Woking B C have had an agreed Local Plan for some years that has now proved inadequate, so the inspector added a further 150 or so houses per year to WBC’s to cover their shortfall! So WBC’s Yearly requirement rose to 509 houses until 2032 (a total of 7,126 houses) 35% of which must be “Affordable”. Plus a further rise to 590 was deemed necessary by the inspector when I last looked.
What of democracy?
Of these 7,126 houses, a minimum of 4,300, rising to perhaps 5,000 are planned for CRANLEIGH and DUNSFOLD, with the balance spread around the rest of the Borough; We have to ask – just how democratic is that?
Improvements to our Local Roads and Rail?
Perhaps we could have a new road to rescue us from the A281 Blight? Unfortunately not: there will, however, be a new roundabout at Shalford, just 100 or so metres from the existing roundabout, which feels as if it will bring the traffic to a complete standstill; and the Elmbridge Road and Bramley crossroads junctions will be reconfigured, so that’s a relief!!! There will also be a new Canal bridge at Elmbridge but no new bridge over the old Railway.
What of the Railway?
No plans whatsoever have been considered since SCC’s last feasibility study found not enough demand and not affordable.
What of DUNSFOLD AERODROME?
There is a plan for 1,700 or so houses plus factories, shops, a school, a medical centre etc. awaiting Government inspector approval. Oh and in the future the prospect of an increase to 2,600 houses or perhaps 3,500 houses or most likely the full 6,000! Sadly, however, it seems that the developers have convinced the powers that be at Waverley that the development of Dunsfold would be jeopardised by the imposition of CIL on the whole development, so there will be NO CIL on the entire development – thereby saving the developers up to £100 MILLION over the life of the development – so that’s ok then.
So let’s hope the plan goes ahead fully and that our Planners use all their discretion to put right the wrongs – spreading the housing out more fairly – hunting for better sites…… they can – but will they?