Funny really – we thought the bricks were being laid faster than the manufacturers could deliver them and HGV grab lorries over there in the East are enough to make By-Pass Byham want to build a Bramley By-Pass! Of course it’s the same over here -but Farnham has a By-Pass!
These are the developers/officers/councillors who didn’t turn up to hear Council Leader Gone to Potts deliver her sermon on Mount Waverley. Not sure who did!
Councillor Brian Adams – Waverley BC, Peter Hall – Surrey CC, Peter Tanner – Renaissance Group, Tim Johns – Hewitts, Mark Russell – MMC Real Estates, Ross Samuel, Andrew Rinaldi, Taylor Wimpey, David Guilcus – Berkeley Homes.
Agenda and draft minutes take from the council’s website complete with mistakes.
Developers Group Agenda Introductions and purpose of Meeting
Cllr Julia Potts, Leader and Chair of the meeting, welcomed everyone to the first Developers’ Meeting. She outlined to developers the purpose of the meeting and that today she wanted to hear directly from them about what the barriers to development were and how processes could be improved at Waverley to help them from submitting a planning application to obtaining planning permission.
Cllr Potts explained that everyone in the room was at different stages of development and this was an information gathering meeting where she wanted, without prejudice, free and open discussion of developers’ views. There was a lot of pressure on local authorities to build and where planning permissions had been granted officers would like an understanding of why these sites were not yet being developed and explore what the barriers were. Notes would be taken and circulated following the meeting as well as be placed on the website so that this was an open and transparent process and to make it clear that any matters discussed and views expressed did not bind officers or members to any course of action. The discussions were completely without prejudice to the Council’s position on any planning decisions/Appeals going forward.
Round Table discussion
The Chairman opened up the meeting to those present to outlining the issues they had experienced and the barriers to development within Waverley. Below is a note of the main key points:
Difficulty was expressed in moving development forward because utility companies did not forward plan. They were reactive rather than proactive so once an application was approved developers could not progress the development as the utility companies were not in the financial position to move forward.
There had also been difficulty with the Environment Agency who took a significant amount of time to make decisions on submitted impact studies further delaying the process.
· Statutory Consultees
When an application was submitted it took some time for responses on the applications from statutory consultees. This has resulted occasionally in applications not being able to come to committee as Officers had to wait until these had been received so they could be reported on.
A developer advised that Horsham had a regular meeting with key consultees to discuss sites and this had proven particularly useful to ensure everyone was engaged and there was forward planning for all involved.
· Public speaking arrangements
It was noted that at meetings, developers found it difficult to reply to inaccuracies once the Committee debated the application. Surrey Heath, Croydon and Reading all had public speaking schemes which allowed the applicants/agents to come back towards the end of the debate to answer questions/clarify any factual points which couldn’t always be answered (or on behalf of) them.
· Pre-Application process/Communications
The Developers expressed their willingness to work with Officers, Towns and Parishes, Ward Councillors and local residents. If they could meet with all parties at the same time, rather than on separate occasions, there could be common understanding from the start about the application and the issues to be resolved. Solving these at an earlier stage would help developers in moving forward more quickly. It was noted that resources were tight with all Local Authorities but would like to receive communications in a more timely manner from officers so that applications could be revised sooner.
· Decision Making
Concern was expressed about the time it took between an outline permission being granted and moving onto reserved matters. Furthermore, this involved seeking a further committee date and, therefore, a further delay. Officers advised that the council diary was very full with meetings taking place most evenings and previously they had one meeting an evening. However, they would be looking at planning for holding an outline application and a reserved matters application (for a different site) to happen on the same evening as the latter did not normally tend to be as contentious as the former. Developers stressed their keenness in delivering a quality product and to use quality materials and recognised that this was crucial for many Members, hence their wish to engage further at this stage with ward members and Town and Parish Councils.
It was suggested that at future developers meetings that the Chairs and … view the full minutes text for item 3.
A number of issues had been identified at the meeting which are outlined in these minutes. The Leader and Chairman of the Group thanked everyone for attending and officers would look into these points and a meeting would be arranged in due course.