A DATE FOR YOUR DIARY – PUBLIC MEETING AT HASLEMERE MUSEUM ON JUNE 29TH 2016 TO LAUNCH COMMUNITY LAND TRUST TO BUILD AFFORDABLE HOMES
Anyone interested in increasing the supply of homes in Haslemere that are truly affordable for those employed locally to attend the public meeting at 8:00pm at the Haslemere Museum on June 29th. All too frequently we hear the valid complaint that the so-called “affordable” housing included in commercial developments is not truly affordable for those on local salaries and, even if it is when first sold, it ceases to be so as soon as it is resold on the open market. Since the recent legislation requiring housing associations to offer tenants the right to buy there is only one way for a community to keep control of the pricing or rent of housing for future generations and that is to form a community land trust (CLT). CLTs are specifically exempt from the right to buy, can build homes both for rent and for sale and, crucially, can control both future sale prices and future rents indefinitely.
At the meeting on the 29th we will hear from an expert how it can be done and will be seeking volunteers to join a steering group to get the ball rolling. This is a wonderful opportunity for our town but it will only happen if a sufficient number of volunteers get together and make it happen. Haslemere has had an outstanding record of volunteering in the past. This is a challenge to the current generation to step forward to help the younger and less affluent members of our community and, in the process, help to protect the vitality and diversity of our local economy.
It has been a long road since the community decided to make use of powers handed to them by the Localism Act. It is a significant undertaking and one with a steep learning curve.
Since 2012, when a public meeting supported the formation of ‘Haslemere Vision’, there have been challenges to overcome. 80 + enthusiastic, positive volunteers from Haslemere, Beacon Hill, Hindhead, Shottermill, Critchmere and Grayswood have contributed to events, activities and workshops which have taken place throughout the area. The volunteers have brought an incredible range of skills and knowledge and have come from all walks of life and political leanings. The debate has, at times, been fierce but all have worked hard to look at issues from all points of view.
The Neighbourhood Planning process is new and, in order for the community to decide about our future options, HV needed to pick up planning expertise and gather evidence. We kicked off the process by gathering peoples’ views via a range of local workshops – the responses to which can be found here. Our first formal consultation was concluded in September 2014, which received nearly 700 responses from residents. It covered; transport, economic and community issues. It revealed strong public support for the NP process, for using the new community powers, for developing some local area plans, for protecting local employment land and for rebalancing the use of our road space while providing good parking provision. Since then a series of well attended, workshops have been held on The Fairground Car Park and on Housing Issues.
WHEN WILL THE NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN TAKE EFFECT?
The Neighbourhood Plan is a good example of local democracy in action, but it takes time. HV needs to give everyone the opportunity to comment and to gather evidence that will stand up to the planning inspector’s scrutiny. Our aim is to present the draft plan for the inspectors review before the end of 2016. After that the Draft Plan can be put to public referendum. Only then, do the policies have any legal force to influence development.
Proposals in the Neighbourhood Plan will be based directly on analysis of the responses to our surveys and, in this way, local people with local knowledge will have influence on the future of our area.
- IMPORTANCE OF THE NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN
- LOCALISM & NEIGHBOURHOOD PLANNING INFO (links at the bottom of the page)
Haslemere Vision has received funding from the Community Development Foundation, Haslemere Town Council and the Haslemere Challice Community Fund and receives advisory support from Locality.