About neighbourhood planning

Neighbourhood planning aims to give communities more of a say in the development of their local area. It empowers communities to shape the development and growth of the area where they live and work. Through neighbourhood planning, communities can:

  • choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built, and
  • have a say on what the new buildings should look like and the infrastructure that should be provided

Communities have been given the power to produce their own neighbourhood plan through the Localism Act.

The neighbourhood planning team

The neighbourhood planning team is a made up of a varied group of people that includes representatives from residents’ associations, community groups and local businesses. Other members include: Iain Lynch (Town Clerk), Rachel Aves, Cllr Carole Cockburn , Cllr Andy Macleod and Cllr John Williamson. The group is being advised by an external planning adviser, Tony Fullwood and Associates. If the plan passes a local referendum, it will become part of Waverley Borough Council’s statutory development plan, which means the content will guide the development of Farnham over the next two decades and must be used as the basis for determining planning applications.

Neighbourhood planning in Farnham

There are five key stages to neighbourhood planning. The timetable for Farnham’s neighbourhood plan sets out the schedule in more detail.

Stage one – defining the neighbourhood

In 2013, as the qualifying body for neighbourhood planning in Farnham, Farnham Town Council applied for Waverley Borough Council to designate the area to be covered by the neighbourhood plan. On 20 February 2013, Waverley Borough Council approved Farnham Town Council’s application for the designation of the whole of the town council area for the Farnham Neighbourhood Development Plan.

We are at stage two – preparing the plan

We have held a number of consultation exercises to establish the community’s views about the future of Farnham. This has included asking people to comment on local issues and seeking opinions on the potential content of the neighbourhood plan.

The neighbourhood planning team has been working with planning consultants to produce a robust neighbourhood plan, which will not only deliver the aspiration of the town’s residents but will pass examination by an independent examiner.

The team has collected evidence to support the proposals contained in the draft neighbourhood plan. This has been subject to a sustainability appraisal to ensure a sustainable future is being planned for Farnham.

The latest version of the draft neighbourhood plan was considered by a meeting of the Full Council on 23 October 2014 and was approved for consultation. The consultation took place between 31 October and 15 December 2014.

What happens next

The responses are being reviewed and a final draft neighbourhood plan will be produced soon. This will also need to be the subject of a sustainability appraisal. The comments received in the October- December 2014 consultation will be in the next draft of the plan (regulation 15).

Autumn/ Winter 2015 – Stage 3: independent check

Once the neighbourhood plan has been prepared, an independent examiner will check it to see that it meets a number of basic conditions. If the plan does not meet these, the examiner can recommend that the plan does not proceed to a referendum or they can recommend changes. Any recommendations will be considered by Waverley Borough Council who will decide whether to make the changes.

Stage 4: community referendum

Once it is agreed that the draft neighbourhood plan meets the basic standard required, Waverley Borough Council will arrange a referendum. This allows the community that live within the Farnham Town Council area, and who are registered to vote, to have a final say on whether they think the neighbourhood plan should come into force. Waverley Borough Council must bring the neighbourhood plan into force if more than 50 per cent of people voting in the referendum support the plan.

Stage 5: legal force

A neighbourhood plan that has been endorsed by the public via a referendum carries real legal weight. Decision makers such as Waverley Borough Council will have to consider proposals for development against the neighbourhood plan.

Keeping informed

If you would like us to keep you informed about the neighbourhood plan’s progress, upcoming events or you are interested in planning Farnham’s future or have a question, please contact us using the contact details on this page.