The Draft Site Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD), which identifies potential urban and Green Belt sites for future housing, employment and infrastructure development within Woking Borough has been agreed at a meeting of Council last night (Thursday 18 October 2018).
The final Draft DPD will now be published to give members of the public a final opportunity to comment on the document through a formal consultation process. All comments will be taken into account before it is submitted to the Secretary of State for public examination.
The Site Allocations DPD is an important document which Woking Borough Council is committed to prepare to enable the delivery of its Core Strategy. The Woking Core Strategy, which was adopted in October 2012, makes provision for the delivery of:
- 4,964 additional dwellings
93,900 sq. m of retail floor space
28,000 sq. m of office floor space
20,000 sq. m of warehouse floor space.
Cllr Ashley Bowes, Portfolio Holder for Planning, said: "The Site Allocation Development Plan Document is an important stepping stone towards identifying future development sites within the Borough until 2027 and safeguard land to meet future development needs between 2027 and 2040.
"It is a formal legal process that the Council is committed to delivering as part of its adopted Woking Core Strategy. Otherwise, we run the risk of failing to identify enough land to meet our future requirements.
"I am grateful to the cross-party Local Development Framework Working Group and officers of the Council for their tireless work in bringing forward the Site Allocations DPD.
"The DPD identifies both urban and Green Belt sites for future development. We are, however, acutely aware of local concerns about the Green Belt as a much cherished part of our natural environment which brings pleasure and enjoyment to many.
"We have taken great care to respond to resident concerns and, where justified, we have adapted our proposals. In particular, Council has agreed with the Working Group that the original safeguarded sites on Saunders Lane in Heathlands and Upshot Lane in Pyrford, which were previously the subject of an earlier consultation draft of the DPD, were not suitable for residential development and removal from the Green Belt. Council also agreed that the north of the Egley Road site should be kept open and free from development.
"Yet difficult decisions that will safeguard the future development of the Borough must be made. We have minimised the need to remove land from the Green Belt, taking just 1.93 percent of the total Green Belt in Woking, much of which already has buildings on it or was scored by the independent Green Belt Review as performing little or no Green Belt function. The majority of future development sites are located within Woking Town Centre.
"It is now for local residents to have their final say on these proposals before the Site Allocations DPD is submitted for public examination during summer 2019."
During summer 2015, the Council conducted an initial consultation on its proposals, which attracted over 32,000 responses from more than 17,000 individuals and organisations. A further consultation was undertaken in January 2017 on the suitability of safeguarding land east of Martyrs Lane to meet long-term development needs.
Members of the Council have taken all the responses received during these consultations into account when finalising the draft DPD, which is now ready for its concluding public consultation.
It is expected the final six-week public consultation will commence on Monday 5 November 2018.
Once the consultation process is complete, all responses received will be considered before the final Site Allocation DPD is examined by an Independent Inspector who will assess whether the DPD is 'sound' before being adopted by the Council.
For more information about the Site Allocations DPD and other planning policies, please visit www.woking2027.info