New Travel Survey Available

Come and complete our new travel survey so that we can understand how people move in, out and within Haslemere and their experience of using the rail station. This will allow us to find solutions to improve conditions for residents and visitors and to help fulfil locally set objectives and visions for the town. The survey is available here: http://www.haslemerevision.org.uk/surveys

Community Housing Consultation Extended to November 14th 2015

In the first 5 weeks since the Haslemere Vision Stage 2 Housing Consultation “What’s next for our town and villages?” was delivered to houses throughout Haslemere and the adjacent villages responses flowed in at an average of 100 per week. This has encouraged Haslemere Vision to extend the closing date for the consultation by two weeks to November 14th.
Haslemere Vision Chairman, Stewart Brown, said – “With four weeks to go till the newly extended closing date it is vital that as many local residents and businesses as possible complete and respond to the survey. This is a unique opportunity to influence how many, where and what sort of houses are built over the next 18 years in and around Haslemere. All residents should have received a copy through their letterbox at the start of September. If you did not receive one or have lost your copy extra copies are available at The Town Hall, the Museum, Haslemere Hall, Marley Flowers, The Library, Haslewey, Tesco, Your Convenience Store (Parsons Green), The Hub and the Coffee Lounge in Beacon Hill, The Cookie Bar (Hindhead) and Grayswood Cars. Better still, go to www.haslemerevision.org.uk and complete on line.”

What’s the Right Direction for Homes in Haslemere?

How many new homes should we be seeking to build? What sort of housing should we build? These are key questions for those who live and work in Haslemere, Shottermill, Critchmere, Beacon Hill, Hindhead and Grayswood. YOUR opinions are being sought in the Haslemere Vision (HV) Consultation Document landing on local door mats during the week commencing 7th September.

It is natural for people who want to preserve the status quo to object to developments that affect the beautiful environment which surrounds us. But how then do we accommodate the needs of young people and the forecast growth in the older, retired population in our area?

A local financial services‘ representative has estimated that a couple wishing to purchase a 3 bedroom terrace house within a 5 mile radius of the Town, need a joint income of £53,400 to support a mortgage of approximately £240,500. In addition, they need to be able to provide upfront costs of £31,250, for a 10% deposit, stamp duty and legal fees. The average price for a semi-detached property in Haslemere in the last year was £378,635. (http://www.rightmove.co.uk/)

The recent housing assessment carried out on behalf of Waverley Borough Council (WBC) showed that the disparity between income and house prices is a serious problem which has led to sizeable declines in the 20 – 40 age groups living in the area.

The outcome of this situation is likely to be an increasing housing problem for young and those on lower incomes distorting the shape of our community and a risk to the long term vitality of the town.

In a parallel development, the numbers of people in 60-74 age groups are expected to increase by 40% by 2021. Older, retired people living in larger properties often want to downsize. At present there are almost no suitable, smaller properties in Haslemere which will enable them to move (walking distance from shops and amenities being key in remaining independent and active). This will force them to remain in large family style property or to leave the community.

In the same timeframe, the number of older people with disabilities is expected to double (Source: Age Concern). Consequently demand for social care will double, but if we can’t house the carers within Haslemere standards of care could be compromised.

All this will reduce the vibrancy of the area which will increasingly become the preserve of higher paid commuters, the aged and a dormitory for Guildford and London.

So, how do you think that we should meet the housing needs of young and old alike?

  • Encourage development of affordable housing for first time buyers and those on low incomes?
  • Encourage the building of smaller dwellings appropriate for downsizers?
  • Create a Community Land Trust formed and operated by local people to build homes that remain affordable, long term?
  • Enable joint ownership or more rental properties through partnerships with housing associations?
  • Encourage conversion of some larger houses into smaller rental apartments?
  • Accommodate more new development by increasing the density allowed in central areas including the division of larger gardens? …..and/or
  • Extend the boundary of our built up area (the building envelope) to allow more homes to be built on greenfield sites?

or perhaps you feel that the downside of new developments is too high?

IT’S YOUR TOWN, YOUR VILLAGE AND YOUR SAY!

Please think about your answers and take the opportunity to complete and return the Housing Consultation between 7th September and 30th October either online at www.haslemerevision.org.uk or by hard copy to the places listed on the second page of the consultation document.

Thank you.

You can read more background material here:

And more is available here:

Wey Hill Fairground Community Workshop Review

On June 21st 2014 some 60 Haslemere residents spent a hot summer’s afternoon sharing their ideas for the future of the Fairground Common on Wey Hill. The afternoon was organised by volunteers from Haslemere Vision. Ideas generated at the event will be included in a community-wide consultation planned for September/October of this year.

The opening session explored the history of the site. A lawyer explained the implications of its legal status as common land and an architect explained some of the development challenges posed by its location and topography. There was a strong consensus that, though not straightforward to develop, the Fairground Common was a highly valuable community asset that, if sensitively developed, could regenerate the Wey Hill area for years to come. Merely to repave the site as a charging car park would be to miss a major opportunity for the community.

Attendees then divided into four groups. One proposed that the site be returned to a green common with a pond for recreational use which would enhance the setting to Grade II listed St. Christopher’s Church. Others suggested various mixed use developments with housing, shops, restaurants, a car park and a public space providing homes and employment for the local community.

Decked car parking was suggested to take advantage of the Fairground’s sloping site and provide parking below street level whilst providing space on top for community use. Possibilities included a public square, allotments or an informal green space that could be used for markets, fairs or artistic performances.

The existing recycling facility was felt to be a significant service for the community and thought would be needed as to where this could be relocated.

One table envisaged developing the Wey Centre as a multi-use facility, not just for youth but also for the broader community, creating an Arts and Community Centre with an amphitheatre in a new square operating in a similar way to the West End Centre in Aldershot or the Arts Centre in Cranleigh.

Another table suggested that Haslemere should use the “Right to Challenge”, conferred on communities by the Localism Act 2011, and bid to take over parking control in the town with receipts coming back directly to Haslemere.

An imaginative suggestion envisaged establishing a community interest “Haslemere Spa” Water Company to bottle the pure water from the nearby spring in Wey Springs. This might also incorporate a microbrewery and could provide revenue for the community, further local employment and, potentially, revive local pubs

At the end of the afternoon those present agreed that it had been a worthwhile, productive and enjoyable consultation exercise. The ideas generated will be further developed and presented to the community in the planned September consultation.

Your Chance to Influence Haslemere’s Future – The Local Economy

This is the second of six articles exploring some of the important issues and strategic choices facing our community over the next 15-20 years. Today’s article focuses on the local economy.

Historically, Haslemere had a dynamic local economy. Recently many businesses have been closed and the sites redeveloped for housing, reducing the number of local jobs. This affects the whole community but is particularly serious for younger people looking to work locally. Without a vibrant, sustainable economy, the town will become a dormitory satellite of Godalming, Farnham, Guildford, and London. Are we content to allow this trend to continue, to leave things to market forces, or should our Neighbourhood Plan include policies designed to attract new and diverse businesses to the town? Policies could:

• protect the current retail base by discouraging change of use
• promote development of modern office space to attract skilled/high tech employment
• foster development of small workshops for craft and manufacturing businesses
• encourage a wider range of shops and ‘high street’ businesses that better meet the needs of the local community and attract more visitors and non-residents.

Should we actively promote the development of local visitor and tourism orientated businesses, capitalising on assets like the Devil’s Punchbowl, Haslemere Museum, Swan Barn, Haslemere events and its status as a public transport Gateway to the South Downs National Park?

Haslemere currently has four separate commercial centres: Old Haslemere, Wey Hill, Hindhead (Crossroads), and Beacon Hill. In recent years, investment has tended to favour Old Haslemere, arguably at the expense of the development of other centres. As shops and other ‘bricks and mortar’ services like banks face growing competition from the internet, will all Haslemere’s centres remain viable? Should we concentrate on the development of one centre that could attract a greater and more diverse range of shops? Can we find a way to create closer integration between Old Haslemere and Wey Hill? What is the future for retail in Hindhead and Beacon Hill?

Tell us what you think about these issues and options by taking part in the community consultations planned for June and September 2014. Meanwhile, look out for our third article in next week’s Herald on here on our website!

Community wide consultations planned for June and September 2014

Your Chance of to Influence Haslemere’s Future
Community wide consultations planned for June and September 2014

During the last year Haslemere Vision has been developing ideas for a Neighbourhood Plan which will influence how our town develops. We have consulted local residents on which issues they consider to be the most important facing our community over the next 15 – 20 years. Many of the issues that have been raised can be grouped into three broad areas of concern:
• the future mix and location of housing and other developments in the area
• the future of our roads and streets
• the future of our local economy

Haslemere Vision will shortly be seeking your views on important and difficult choices that face us as we address these concerns. For example:

• would we prefer future developments to be built within the existing settlement (meaning more intensive development, maybe more 3 or 4 storey buildings) or prefer new developments in areas of greenbelt or AONB such as is proposed for Sturt Farm?
• do we accept that growth in motorised traffic is inevitable and plan to accommodate it or should we seek to slow the growth and promote other alternative transport options?
• Haslemere has lost a lot of businesses in recent years. Is this a problem? Should we prioritise the development of new employment units (modern office/light industrial space) or are we happy to see all available land developed for more housing?

Community wide consultation on the transport and economic issues will start in June 2014. In early September 2014, after Waverley Borough Council has published revised housing allocations for inclusion in its new local plan, a second consultation will present the choices that we face over housing and development.

Your responses to these consultations will directly influence how we draft the Neighbourhood Plan policies, so look out for the first questionnaire that will be launched in Mid June and make your voice heard.

This is the first of a series of six weekly articles in which we will explore some of the choices that face our community in more detail, so look out for this space in next week’s Herald!

For more information keep a look out on our website and see us at the Charter Fair on May 5th 2014