EVN December - Twelve Months in Elstead

Twelve Months in Elstead

Over the past year life in Elstead has continued in much the same way as it has for many years. Football, tennis, cricket, horse riding, the Paper Boat Race, The Marathon, the Yellow Duck Race, Elstead Cinema, PETS Plays, the School Fete and the Pancake Race have all happened as usual, along with all the other sporting and recreational activities that we manage to do in our spare time. Most of us managed to do some work too!

Some things have been different; a mild and gentle winter for once was a pleasant surprise, with no blizzards, major power cuts or floods.

What was new to the village was pressure from Waverley Borough Council for us to consider the government targets that they have been set for more housing in the Borough and what our part in this should be. The response by the Parish Council was to start setting up a Neighbourhood Plan under the provisions of the 2012 Localisation Act, to give us more influence on the way in which future development happens in Elstead and the Weyburn/Tanshire Park area of Peper Harow.

A Steering Group and Working Groups were set up and started the long process of detailed investigation of what exists in the village and what would be desirable for its future over the next 15 years. This has included public meetings and exhibitions, with articles and newsletters to give information about Neighbourhood Planning and how we can shape the future of Elstead.

The investigation will be completed with the “BIG Survey” that will be sent soon to all residents and people working in the Elstead and Weyburn   Neighbourhood Pan area. The next stage will be to examine all the information and ideas that have been collected and select those that are practicable for inclusion in a Policy Statement, supported by a detailed and fully documented Evidence Base. There will be a village consultation on it, after which it will be submitted to Waverley Borough Council for formal examination, to see if it conforms to legal requirements. Finally there will be a referendum of all residents to decide whether the Plan Policies should be adopted. This should all be complete by the end of 2016.

Once adopted the Neighbourhood Plan will be a formal and legal part of Waverley Planning procedures, which has to be taken into account by developers as well as the Borough Planning department.

At the same time Waverley has been developing a new Local Plan to meet the development requirements of Government policies and our Neighbourhood Plan has to fit into that as well. Until the Waverley Local Plan has been finalised and decisions have been taken on what development is to occur elsewhere in the Borough it is not certain how many new homes may be needed in our area and what infrastructure changes will be needed to support them.

While this has been going on there have been two proposals by developers for housing, for 69 homes and a Care Home on the old industrial site at Weyburn and for 50 homes on the hill between West Hill and Springfield. The Weyburn planning application is currently being considered by Waverley, the other is not yet at that stage. Either of them would make considerable demands on the infrastructure and facilities in Elstead.

There have been other changes. The newsagents and shop in the Thursley Road closed, while the Post Office has been moved to the Spar shop. Problems with parking and speeding by through traffic seem to have increased.

Arguments about parking round the Green revolve around banning some of it to improve traffic flow and providing parking bays to reduce delays, or leaving it alone to keep the traffic slow.

A traffic survey showed that high numbers of vehicles on the Milford Road are traveling at unacceptable speeds and the Elstead Community Speed Watch scheme has been revived to try to reduce the problem.

The next twelve months will be interesting, as the nature of likely changes becomes clearer. How they are managed will make a big difference to the future of the area. 

In the meantime let us hope for another moderate winter and a peaceful holiday season.