Frequently Asked Questions

How will you ensure it’s for all the community

We have an Engagement Group whose task it has been to think of all the ways to engage all the community. We know that the seniors and young people are the most difficult to include and have had suggestions on how to do this. It is not just make it about committee meetings, questionnaires or a few community groups or Haslemere Town alone. We will include all villages, neighbourhoods, all ages and all interests. E.g. the launch activities can be taken to neighbourhoods and community groups to have a go themselves.

How will you ensure it’s open and transparent?

We have launched a website so that all information, minutes etc are available as well as at the launch. We will be checking back with the community as the plan progresses. Your ideas and comments will all be collected and available to be used in the process. We are using the media as well on a regular basis. Councillors on HTC are also regularly in attendance at meetings which are open. The launch is for a the community to help make decisions on the suggestions being put forward as the way to move forward, both in process as well as organisationally.

How will you ensure it’s non-political?

The aims of Haslemere Vision are explicitly non-political. It is proposed that it be established independent of the Town Council to remove it from any link to the pressures of party politics. Membership of the Haslemere Vision Forum is open any to individual or any organisation that has an interest in the issues and concerns of Haslemere and the Villages. The ultimate safeguard will be a wide and interested membership.

How will you ensure it’s not being taken over by vested interests?

The greatest safeguard will be wide participation. If the community does not get involved there could be a risk but remember that the Neighbourhood Plan has to pass expert  external scrutiny, be supported by HTC and then be voted for in a community wide referendum before it can have any force.

How can I  join in?

You can join in many different ways. You can attend the public meetings and workshops, answer the questionnaire that will be circulated to all households or contribute ideas via the website ( If you would like to get more involved, you could offer to join one of the working groups or the steering group or volunteer to help with events. Of course, when the final Neighbourhood Plan goes to referendum, you will also have the chance to vote.

Where are all the minutes of the meetings?

On our website, please see our Downloads page.

What is the process and timeline?

We plan to gather ideas from everyone during the summer (if we have one!) and autumn of 2013 so that we can go to a referendum during 2014. However, this depends on what ideas come forward and whether there is agreement about them. The final plan also has to be approved by an independent inspector before it can go to referendum and it is not clear how long this could take.

What will be done with my comments and inputs?

All comments, suggestions and ideas captured at the launch event on 27th April and beyond will be fed into the subsequent work to develop our Neighbourhood Plan.  Haslemere Vision is a community group and all of its ideas and proposals are generated by the community.  Following the launch there will be further opportunities to contribute ideas and to provide further feedback on proposals as they are developed.

Who makes the decisions?

You do. Haslemere Vision are working towards a Neighbourhood Plan and this will be created from ideas and input by the community; we are committed to on-going community engagement. Ultimately the Neighbourhood Plan will be put back to the community through a formal referendum – only if the majority vote is in favour of the Neighbourhood Plan can it be implemented.

Why you need a Haslemere Vision group if you have HTC?

Haslemere Vision is a non-political, community-led forum which, although supported by HTC, is independent from it.  HTC recognises that it does not have the manpower or expertise to take forward a Neighbourhood Plan on its own and therefore is supporting Haslemere Vision in taking this forward.

How can you do this as unelected people? Is it democratic?

All we are doing is trying to get all the community in Haslemere and villages to think and decide about its future.  We are an open group and want to encourage as much participation as possible. To continue the process needs the support of the community and there will be a referendum at the end. So yes, it is democratic – both in participation and voting at the end

Who is Haslemere vision?

It is all of usAt the moment is a group of community volunteers. The aim is to, somehow, represent or include all the community.

Is this just a one-off?

Preparing the Haslemere Neighbourhood Plan is a one off although it may well be updated in 5 or 10 years. However once the Plan is developed that is the start of implementing the policies, so its not really a one off, its a continual process for the community to set policy on things that matter to them

Which other groups are involved in Haslemere Vision?

It is hoped that all groups and societies from the scouts to the WI will get involved. HV is open to all groups based in or who use Haslemere and the surrounding villages

What is HV trying to achieve?

To ensure that the future of Haslemere and the surrounding villages is in keeping with the local residents, business owners and users wishes and inappropriate development is not forced  upon the area

How can the community make decisions?

By offering ideas through events, workshops, questionnaires and meetings and then by voting in the referendum

Where will I find the names of the people behind this?

Everything, including people and minutes are on the website. The people will change as we enter different parts of the process

How will this affect me?

You would have more democratic input over what happens in advance. Instead of waking up to find that unexpected schemes or developments are taking place, there would be more discussion and community input. There is also the potential for major community-led proposals which would also be decided by referendum

Are the suggestions practical?

Given it is a community wide consultation, the broad experience and very practical nature of the individuals involved, underpinned by the structure and of HV, the role of HTC and the need for independent examination and the community wide referendum the chances of impractical ideas being approved are very small.    Detailed financial scrutiny and careful checks will all help to ensure this.

Is it going to get anywhere?

Who knows? Maybe yes, maybe no. It depends. What you see here today has all happened from the open town meeting at the Haslemere Museum last September. It’s been put together by a group of volunteers, people who live in Haslemere and its surrounding villages. The launch is proof enough that it is possible to get somewhere by the voluntary efforts of people and children in the Town. The opportunity now is to develop that, to make that vision a reality.

What happens in 5 years?

Some of the policies from the Plan will have become real. There are a range of things that could have happened depending upon what the community bring forward as part of this consultation process.

Where is the money coming from?

For the Local Authorities:

Over 2 years local planning authorities will benefit from up to £17 million to help communities turn the vision for the future of their local area into a reality.

From April this year local planning authorities can ask for up to £100,000 to kick start up to 20 plans in their area. Authorities will then receive a further £25,000 for every neighbourhood plan that gets through a successful examination. In total, local planning authorities can claim up to £30,000 for each neighbourhood plan.

This money recognises the duties that local authorities have in relation to neighbourhood planning. These are to: provide advice and assistance; to hold an examination; and to make arrangements for a referendum.

For Haslemere Vision:

The Department for Communities and Local Government are making grants available for consultation of up to £7k.

Right To Build:

£20-39k for feasibility work from the Homes and Community Agency.

For capital schemes:

A business model will need to be developed.

How is it being spent?

Money will be needed for events, communications, questionnaires, workshops, some expertise when we need it and the referendum. All of the accounts and expenditure will be open and transparent and available to all via HV Ltd – set up especially to do this. So far Haslemere Vision has spent money on establishing HV Ltd. as a legal entity, publicity material and materials for the launch and following workshops.

What is the difference between this and the Haslemere Design Statement?

The Haslemere Design Statement identifies the key design elements that should be taken forward to influence all new developments in Haslemere so that they are in keeping with existing local character.

The Haslemere Design Statement, approved by Waverley Borough Council, has the status of ‘a material planning consideration‘ and must be taken into account when any planning application for a site in Haslemere is considered.

A Neighbourhood Plan is much broader than a Design Statement and can cover issues such as transport, housing, environment, education etc.

After being independently examined and approved in a local referendum, the Neighbourhood Plan will gain the status of ‘a material planning consideration’.

What has prompted this?

The immediate spur was the enactment of the Localism Act 2011, which implemented Government policy to move some powers away from the centre and towards localities.  The part that affects us gives communities various rights to influence what happens in their patch.  These are:

  • Neighbourhood planning
  • Community Right to Build
  • Community Right to Bid